Monday, December 26, 2011

His Thoughts Toward Me

Before leaving school, my RD Noelle gave all of us on her staff a book called, "His Thoughts Toward Me," a topical devotional that takes passages of Scripture and writes their themes from the perspective of God talking to us. It's comparable to the current popular book, "Jesus Calling," which I also really enjoy.  

Since break began I have been taking some time to read different parts of this book, and God has been using it to challenge me and encompass many of the feelings I find myself at a loss to describe. This past semester has not been the easiest to say the least. I would not describe it as awful, but it has definitely had its challenges, from which I hope I am growing stronger. Not going to lie, I feel rather exhausted coming back, and I find there is much on my mind. I realized the other day that I have hardly written in my journal all semester. For me that is pretty sad. I process my thoughts by writing them down either just as thoughts or as prayers. The fact that I hardly have anything written down from this semester shows that I have not processed much. I have been wrestling with issues of stubbornness, reality, responsibility, desire, and discipline. It is amazing to me how nearly everything I talk to my girls about and counsel them in, I then find myself being attacked in similar ways and having to eat my own words. In perusing "His Thoughts Toward Me," I came upon an entry entitled, "When You Think You Have No Discipline," and I can't stop reading over it. I think it sums up how I feel coming off of this semester, and also provides encouragement and counsel. Here it is:

Romans 8:1 "Therefore there is now no condemnation -- no adjudging guilty of wrong -- for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit." 

When you feel complete in Me, you will no longer be afraid to be disciplined. You will no longer feel that discipline is condemnation, and a divine punishment. You will feel fulfilled. You have thoughts in your mind that are not of Me. You can recognize them by their hard, demanding and condemning tone. I did not come to condemn the world, but to save it. Will you allow Me to save you from your mistaken thoughts? You can be as disciplined as you want to be. When you walk after the flesh you are hard on yourself. You tell yourself you're not doing well enough, or being good enough. You do not take time to allow Me to be the fulfillment of all your needs. Do not give place to the devil, who is always trying to render you weak and helpless.  
You have the very same Spirit of God and Glory in you that lifted Me from the grip of death. You have My mind and you have My blessing. Deny yourself the luxury of defeat. Take up your cross and follow Me. Discipline does not mean suffering helplessly at My hand; it means to share My Glory. You will accomplish all that you need to accomplish when I am given the right to guide, help and strengthen you. I want to be the Lord of your life.

John 3:18, Romans 8:5, 1 Peter 5:8, Romans 8:11, Matthew 6:24, John 15:8

I have been making sure I sit down and journal some almost every day so far. I need to get back into that habit, I know it is healthy for me, as it is a main avenue for prayer as well. I am so thankful for this time away and at home to relax and not think about school. It is therapeutic for sure, and I am definitely learning a lot.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

splendid thing love

I love that my friends are in love! Anna showed me the wedding website for Levi and her this morning, and I got so excited I just want to post it somewhere. They're relationship has been one I admire, respect, and love...I am so happy they are getting married! Thank you God for this relationship that is so blessed and honoring to You, it's awesome to see people I love be in relationships that are glorifying to You and edifying to each other and those around them.

Check out the website! Beautiful pictures :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011


It has been a painfully long time since I have last blogged, or so it seems. Nope, it really just has been a long time. Let's just say this semester I have been learning quite a lot, and managing my time has not been my strongpoint...therefore blogging has not been toward the top of my to do list.

It is crazy to think of where I was last year... that just one floor below where I am an RA now, I was a freshmen resident experiencing the collegiate life for the first time as well. I did not even want to be an RA until after Christmas haha. These past few months are too much to catch up on now. My once vacant section of hallway is now full of beautiful, unique, and wonderful girls, each whom I love. It's been such a joy to get to know them and be a part of their lives. A few weeks ago I spent hours baking a bazillion pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for them. Haha, first thing like that I have done for them (no wonder, cause it takes so long!) I feel like I have 23 children. Yikes, that is a lot to bake for... :) But it was worth it, and I felt like I finally followed through and accomplished something that has been on my to do list for a while.

Kathryn will be coming back from Zambia in 19 days, and these past couple weeks in particular I have missed her so much. Perhaps it was a combination of stress and exhaustion, and that I have not had much time to be in touch. Friday of Fall break was such a God-send though...we got to Skype for 2 hours!! and the internet didn't cut out once, thank you Lord! It is crazy how much I miss that girl. Picking her up from the airport at Thanksgiving will be such a joyous occasion. When we talked she was just coming off of the hardest night shift in the hospital yet, and hearing her stories were heart-wrenching and sobering. Our 2 hours consisted of much catching up, laughing, and crying together. Her fresh perspective reminded me of how desensitized I have become to the excess in our American culture since being back from Africa myself. That is a frustrating realization, yet quite beneficial at the same time. I think this time hearing it emphasized the focus factor, and how not on track my mind is right now. I was once again reminded of "the North country," that title that my brother gave the passage in Hebrews about fixing your heart and mind on the Kingdom to come. What is my perspective? My decisions, thoughts, actions...what is their root motivation?

Tonight I read yet again another email of hers about an experience with a patient's death and her mourning family. Before heading up to my room, I took something to Emily's room. She talked with me about her struggle with deciding what to do for her cross cultural nursing experience. She mentioned the options and how she currently trying to figure out where God is leading. This caused me to reminisce a lot about how God led me to Kenya two years ago, and I came upstairs and pulled out my Kenya journal. Some things stood out in particular, and as usual I am struck with how incredibly faithful God has been and is...the pages of that diary are filled with the words of a girl being entirely dependent on the Lord for absolutely everything, her struggles, conflicts, discouragement, direction, and experiences in circumstances quite beyond her comfort zone. God's presence and provision is written all over that black leather book.

I was looking for some verses for Emily, yet came across ones that God used to speak to me as well right now.

"For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have" (2 Corinthians 8:12).
"Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him to serve you" (2 Corinthians 13:4).

After those verses I had written:
Submit myself to God's authority, resisting the devil and his schemes and footholds. Submit yourself to God and trust Him. Do not fall in the trap of trusting in self. The Lord is all-sufficient, to all.

I cannot quite put into words how perfect the timing of these verses are right now. My struggles lately have been in feeling insufficient, lacking, and weak, and also in seeing how Satan is working to gain footholds I had not previously been noticed.

A few pages later...
Isaiah 45. The Lord makes a beautiful promise to His chosen, His anointed.

  • "to open doors before them"
  • "to go before you to remove the obstacles of impossibility"
  • "to give you treasures of darkness and reveal to you the riches stored in secret places
...All so that you may know that HE is the Lord! "The God of Israel, who summons you by name." 

It's crazy that those verses that God highlighted for me then, happen to be the passage he showed me as our theme for this year. 

Thank you Lord, for these reminders tonight. Should I ever doubt God's perfect timing?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

let the training commence!

Crazy to be back here again. Wonderful to see friends again, and to continue building relationships with those I'll be working with this year. I've got myself a couple name plates too..I feel so official ;) We have a couple weeks of training and then my girls all get here. This time of preparation is definitely needed, and I am looking forward to seeing all that happens!

My mom left me this verse on a note:
Colossians 1:9-12
"For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and as King God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and strength (patience) and joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the Kingdom of light."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

rainy night reminiscing

 It has officially set in that I am going back to school in two days. Yikes! This weekend my little nephews (the CUTEST kids in the entire world, I think) stayed at our house for their first time away from Mom and Dad overnight. It was a wonderful time, and every moment with them is a treasured memory, especially because we don't get a ton of time together. Jason and Sherry left to venture home on this rainy night, and I held the umbrella for them as they carried the little babies with their fuzzy blankets and stuffed animals out to the car. I must admit, I'm such a sap, and I teared up a bit watching their sleepy little faces fade away as the car lights diminished.

Yes, I've been feeling rather emotional lately... particularly because I've been finally realizing Kathryn will not be around this semester. And of course as a Kinkel girl (or maybe just a girl haha) I am over sentimentalizing and reminiscing about everything. I am super excited for Kathryn's Africa adventures, but I am definitely going to miss her. Being together this summer has been wonderful, and such a blessing from the Lord. Actually, our whole relationship is a gift from God.

us then.
She really is my best friend. I know this semester we will both be pushed in great ways, just in entirely different countries. It will be an adjustment to not be able to see her every day, or even every week...however I take comfort in knowing we have been apart longer before :) And more so in the fact that our loving, faithful, and powerful Savior has her in the palm of His hand. I can't wait to hear about their adventures together in Zambia...and to see how He unfolds the plans for my turn "at home".  Our family loves adventures, and we always try to take the chance to travel and experience new things when the opportunities arise, but with that always comes the prior-to-leaving emotions and I dare say, fears. Maybe this sounds ridiculous. Oh well, this is my blog. I'm just being honest.

Growing up with this lovely lady was quite a joy (even though I'm sure at that time I wouldn't use that word to describe it haha...and we aren't done growing up I think we'd both say ;)  Being this close now is by the grace of God -- a relationship I treasure dearly. There is not anyone who understands me quite as well as she does, and one of the few people I never get tired of being with. Oh well, that's all I have for tonight. Time to go get some stuff done :)

and now. 
"Don't be such a ninny. I could never love anyone more than I love my sisters." ~ Little Women

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Preparations for E3W unit decor are well underway! I have piles of random craft projects lying all around the house, and I still have to go through everything I brought back from school at the end of May term.

Yesterday Stephen, Kathryn, and I went out and found some maps at The Backpackers Shop, and this morning I tea stained them. Even more special, I found a rather large package of Kenyan black tea that I brought back a couple years ago from Kericho (Kenya's "tea country"). I figured it probably didn't taste that fresh anymore (even though the expiration date says December 2011), but it was perfect for staining. I'd say that's rather meaningful to me, or at least it makes it a little more special than the ordinary.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

small morning find

After a Slow Train latte this morning and time in the Word with some of my favorite ladies (Kim, Anna, and Kathryn), we perused our favorite shop in Oberlin -- Bead Paradise. Not gonna lie, it's pretty great. We could spend hours in there finding beautiful and exotic beads, silks, and knick knacks for any crafting project. I found a section of incense sticks, and among the typical collection, discovered these small boxes!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Surf's Up

Ha, actually the surf wasn't necessarily up...if by saying that phrase it means the conditions are good. The waves were not the best, but regardless Kathryn and I ventured into the ocean during our Florida vacation to check a life goal off our bucket lists!

I no longer am as much of a surfer poser, haha... but I need to go more for it to really count (I must! i think it's addicting :) I absolutely loved it.  I only got up a couple times, but still, we had a ton of fun, and I think with chill sports that's all that matters.  Aunt Renee has a friend with two boys who have been surfing for a while, and so she asked them if they would teach us how (we later found out they were told they had to teach us...heh heh). Anyways, they were 14 and 16, but they seemed to know what they were doing -- and Kathryn and I felt much more at ease learning from some young'uns rather than guys our own age, haha ;)
us and our "surfer buddies"...the one tried to tell me people often ask him if he's Taylor Lautner...I ignored him and just tried to catch another wave ;) 
Before surfing we also all went snorkeling! In the shallower water we didn't see much, but as soon as we pushed further out we spotted a 2-3 ft sting ray! It was so cool! I didn't know what to do when I saw I was hovering right over it...Scared, yes, but not enough move away from it. Haha, good thing it swam the other direction!  Gosh I LOVE water exploration. :) I've added getting my scuba diving certification to my bucket list. I've never spent so much time in the ocean, and it was awesome! When opportunity for a cool exploration or adventure comes up, I must admit I often don't feel like taking it. When those boys came to take us surfing I felt like sunbathing and reading my book. The ocean is one of the things I love the most, but am also the most afraid of.  The conditions weren't that good, and I figured since it wasn't meeting my expectations of a perfect setting it wouldn't be fun. How lame! In getting up and conquering that momental lethargy I discovered something I would love to pursue! In life you often have to push yourself and do what you are most afraid of in order to learn and make the most of an adventure. 

Why do I live in the midwest? haha, I've definitely got to do this more. Surfing on the Great Lakes? It's possible :)

Kathryn's in there somewhere :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

to Scarborough & the Heights...some summer accomplishments

Let's see, an update on me lately. Well, I checked off another book from my summer reading list -- Wuthering Heights! Strangely enough, I loved it. For those of you who know the story, it really is rather depressing and the characters are so unpleasant...yet somehow Emily Bronte managed to create an incredible piece of literature that kept me enthralled for about 2 weeks. 

This novel has made it's way into my top favorites for sure. I would gladly read it again, I know there is probably a lot I would pick up on another time through.

At the beginning of this summer I planted an herb garden, hoping to develop my green thumb a bit more (herb gardens are easy, right?)...haha, although I'm not sure if I did any of it correctly, most of them are doing great! My one requirement for an herb garden was that it must possess the title, "Scarborough Fair"and include all the things mentioned in the Simon & Garfunkel song (my favorite version). Alas I do indeed have parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, and they are growing in meager abundance! (I say meager because I planted them in a basket...not as much space as they probably should have...oh well, I am content!)

my Scarborough Fair garden
This past week felt truly like summer. Kathryn and I were both off work, celebrated her 21st birthday, and made some trips to our favorite places. We drove to Columbus to visit Jason, Sherry & and the twins, and I was able to take a couple hours to meet up with my roommate for this year! It was a great time together, I am excited for all God has in store for our unit! E3W is gonna be awesome! I leave for school in less than a month now, and as the weeks of summer are dwindling down, I am realizing the reality of the new responsibilities I will have this year as an RA. I don't want to be someone who takes her job too seriously, but I don't want to go into this semester unprepared, mentally or spiritually.  

Honestly, keeping focused this summer has been pretty difficult for me. I've recently realized that I've been expecting that once I get to school I'll just magically attain the ability to manage my time well and be disciplined. Ha, that is unrealistic. I need to persevere in being disciplined and make time every day now (especially now) to be alone with the Lord and in the Word, or else once my schedule gets even busier that priority will be harder to attain.
It is amazing to me to see how even with my inconsistencies and struggle to be self-disciplined, God has been faithful to answer prayers and love way beyond what I deserve. He has given me ideas for my unit, and is teaching me that I can't ignore the direction He is so faithfully providing.  I may know the direction, but so often I don't move forward by putting aside what I want to follow it entirely. With direction always comes provision, and I am buckling down on trying to be faithful and dedicated to follow it whole-heartedly. 
I could go on and on, but I'll just leave it at I am learning a lot :) 

 I'm now venturing into Middle Earth to finish up book two in the Lord of the Ring series...and then I'll be headed out to the ocean to complete the Kon Tiki adventure (haha, literally I am going to the beach this week and plan on finishing that book there). 
I'll write more later!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"to have faith is to have wings"

In sitting down tonight to spend some much needed time with the Lord, my mind strayed (big surprise there...) to thinking about how much I enjoyed reading Peter Pan a few years ago (haha so random, I know), and how surely there are some good quotes I did not take the time to jot down from that story. Indeed, I went back and found many I loved, and some surprisingly illustrated strong spiritual themes for me. (God probably did that because He was determined to get my attention regardless of how many times I got distracted ;)

"The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings." - J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan

After reading this I realized what a truth this is, especially in our relationships with the Lord. I discovered one thing I love about the play/book Peter Pan is the childlike simplicity and beauty of it all. God calls us to childlike faith. Perhaps a reason I like it all so much is how I see the reckless abandon of a child to adventure portrayed, and somehow I connect it with how I relate with Jesus. Anyway, regardless of if that observation makes sense or if I just sound like a lunatic, this quote sparked in my mind some thoughts about life lately.

This quote made me think of Isaiah 40, where the Lord says, "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 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" (Is. 40:29-31)

Faith can be such a difficult thing to grasp, to have. "To have faith is to have wings." This passage clearly states that the Lord carries and supports those who surrender all to Him, who trust everything over to His doing...they will soar, He says, on wings like eagles. I get a picture of effortless flying. When your flying I'm sure you get a better overall picture of your surroundings, and definitely a better perspective. Perhaps that could mean when you're trusting in Jesus, letting him mount you on wings like eagles, you gain a better perspective of life, of trials, challenges, and circumstances. Lately I have been faced with some circumstances where I was uncertain of the outcome, and continually I had to work at "taking every thought captive" and making it obedient to Christ. When I reminded myself that God is in control and He is going to arrange everything according to His plan, my mind was put at rest and my heart was eased of anxiety and stress. It's not easy to let go of what I want of course, but when I do I can honestly say those are the times when I can most acutely sense God's presence actively working. I let go of my preconceived notions and the things that follow I know are most assuredly of God's plan for me. That is such a reassuring feeling, one that floods me with thankfulness, that He is working things out according to what He desires.

That reckless abandon, that faith birds have that when they jump they will catch the wind and's scary, but truly freeing I'm sure. I've discovered lately that practicing faith and trust brings you to a place where God reveals so much of His character, provision, and love. It's so cool! I've been really in awe of how God works things out, how He provides. He wants us to "put our hope" in Him so that in turn He can reveal to us the bigger picture, the perspective that will adjust our hearts and minds to seeing through eternal eyes and learning more of Him. "They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Surrender, discipline, and commitment to trusting the Lord...can be difficult, but sure sounds worth it to me.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

the extensive reading of books

Well, maybe not extensive... 
Two books down, and...many more to go...but I'm working on it!
(Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis & Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen)

Sense & Sensibility has always been a favorite of mine because the parallels I find in the close relationship of Marianne and Elinor, closely reflect me and my sister, Kathryn. I usually enjoy Austen's books, however for some reason it took me several years of picking up this novel again and again to finally finish it. I attribute that to the fact that several movie versions of this story have established themselves among my list of film favorites, and therefore in reading the book my imagination was often inhibited by pre-existing faces and places. Upon reaching the final few chapters of the book, however, I found myself as usual, enraptured in Austen's depiction of the story resolution. Alas, in the end I found my love of it more affirmed than ever, and my belief that the book is always better than the movie, proven. 

Here are some of my favorite quotes throughout:

"You are in a melancholy humour, and fancy that any one unlike yourself must be happy. But remember that the pain of parting from friends will be felt by every body at times, whatever be their education or state. Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience -- or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope." ~ Mrs. Dashwood to Edward 

"When the weather is settled, and I have recovered my strength,' said she, 'we will take long walks together every day. We will walk to the farm at the edge of the down, and see how the children go on; we will walk to Sir John's new plantations at Barton Cross, and the Abbeyland; and we will often go to the old ruins of the Priory, and try to trace its foundations as far as we are told they once reached. I know we shall be happy. I know the summer will pass happily away. I mean never to be later in rising than six, and from that time till dinner I shall divide every moment between music and reading. I have formed my plan, and am determined to enter on a course of serious study. Our own library is too well known to me, to be resorted to for anything beyond mere amusement. But there are many works well worth reading at the Park; and there are others fo more modern production, which I know I can borrow from Colonel Brandon. By reading only six hours a day, I shall gain in the course of a twelvemonth a great deal of instruction which I now feel myself to want." ~ Marianne to Elinor, following her recovery from illness and resolution on her lessons learned in love.

“They were brought together by mutual affection, with the warmest approbation of their real friends; their intimate knowledge of each other seemed to make their happiness certain, and they only wanted something to live upon.” ~ Austen, speaking about Edward and Elinor

“A three weeks’ residence at Delaford, where, in his evening hours at least, he had little to do but to calculate the disproportion between thirty-six and seventeen…” ~ Austen, speaking of Colonel Brandon who is in-love with Marianne…I love Austen’s sense of humor! 

“Their resemblance in good principles, and good sense, in disposition and manner of thinking, would probably have been sufficient to unite them in friendship, without any other attraction; but their being in love with two sisters, and two sisters fond of each other, made that mutual regard inevitable and immediate…” ~ talking of Edward and the Colonel’s quickly formed friendship. I love this! I hope Kathryn and I can say this about us someday. 

Next book, Wuthering Heights!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

so begins summer

Tonight was a perfect introduction to summer. Kathryn and I packed up a picnic (pretty gourmet -- thanks to Mom's amazing cooking!) and met up with our dear friends, Kim, Anna, and Eva, in the little, artsy college town of Oberlin. Thinking of Oberlin usually brings to mind memories with the Williams girls... dinners at the Chinese restaurant, walking barefoot through the square and gardens, making jewelry in the gazebo...Always wonderful times of catching up that are refreshing and encouraging to my heart. I felt instantly the bonding of kindred spirits that I had been missing when they freaked out just as much as I did during our discussion of the mermaids in the new Pirates film :) and yes, they have already agreed to put several new wraps in my hair.

As we were saying goodbye to them, a huge storm started rolling in, and a tornado warning was issued. Kathryn and I were determined however to find this coffee shop the girls told us about, and just as it began to rain we happened upon it: The Slow Train Cafe. It is so cool! Just the name sounds like a place I'd like to chill at and read. Definitely encompasses the unique, artsy, relaxed aura of a good coffee shop.

Slow Train Cafe

I love discovering new hole in the wall places like this. As we waited for the rain to pass we got ourselves some coffee... and had a deep heart to heart about how perhaps it is time for me to let go of my aspirations of becoming a mermaid when I grow up... not the best moneymaker I suppose... ;)  hm, too bad.

But really, these moments are ones I treasure so. I love that girl. After discussing the topic of possible life careers and alter ego accents, we decided to run through the pouring rain to our car.  When we got home we went for a run through the neighborhood in the rain as well. It was a fun adventure :)

Some thoughts about the summer ~
I hope to visit friends from school, go up to the island and lake as much as possible, garden frequently, spend time in Columbus with the sibs and nephews, explore, and have a pile of books that I can say I finished reading. This fall is going to be different, and full of new challenges and adventures...I am excited for this break, and am praying it's a time of intense spiritual growth and preparation for my new responsibilities in the fall. It's gonna be good! :)

Today was a good day. I'm so thankful for these friends, and that we will be able to spend more time together over the next couple months. So begins summer!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

a matter of contentment

This afternoon finds me sitting at McConn, the coffee shop here at school, actually having some time to relax, read, and write. Occasionally I will reread through the journal I kept while in Kenya, and today I brought it with me to look through. Being there was a solid four month period that God used tremendously to take me deeper in my knowledge of Him and show me how desperately incapable I am of anything on my own. Even though time is distancing me from the experience of living there, I still love revisiting the memories and reading how God was working on me then. Often it either lines up with something else I am learning now, or smacks me upside the head with an "aha" moment.

On September 20th, 2009, I journaled some excerpts from Elisabeth Eliot's book, "These Strange Ashes," an account she tells of her first year as a single missionary woman in Ecuador. I remember writing all this down while sitting outside at the Mara Safari Club, one of our last destinations before Mom and Dad left to go back to the U.S. 

At this point in the book Eliot was referencing a prayer of Betty Scott Stam, something Stam had written just a few years before her and husband's martyrdom in China. 

"Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all, utterly to thee, to be thine forever. Fill me and seal me with thy Holy Spirit, use me as thou wilt, send me where thou wilt, work out thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever." (Betty Stam) 
then Elisabeth Eliot adds,
"I had never forgotten the picture on the front page of our newspaper of the Stam's baby daughter being carried in a rice basket by a Chinese woman who had found her after her parents' execution...It was a long time before I came to the realization that it is in our acceptance of what is given that God gives Himself." 
Eliot adds another quote she prayed when waiting for Jim,
"And shall I pray thee change thy will, Father, until it be according to mine? But no, Lord, no, that never shall be, rather I pray thee blend my human will with thine. I pray thee hush the hurrying, eager longing, I pray thee soothe the pangs of keen desire, see in my quiet places wishes thronging, Forbid them, Lord, purge, though it be with fire." 

Gosh, I want to follow the examples of these remarkable women of God. The beauty of their characters, selflessness of living, and integrity inspires me. 
I'll be honest though and say that this is quite a load for me to read. My heart resonates so strongly with these prayers, but as I reread them a weight presses upon my heart, one that reminds me of the intensity of these utterances. I know I would readily say the same things, but at the same time my eyes open to seeing the parts in me that need to be surrendered, trusting, and content. As I read it's as if God said, "Here, Mary, remember? This is where you need to readjust your focus. Remain in me, be content, beloved."

I suppose this afternoon has been rather sobering, in a good way. I would rather be challenged in seeing things in me as they are rather than remain in a stagnant oblivion with no growth.

I'm so thankful I stumbled upon these few pages of my journal. For what's been going on in my mind lately, it's perfect timing. 

"And shall I pray thee change thy will, Father, until it be according to mine? But no, Lord, no, whatever shall be, rather I pray thee blend my human will with thine." ~ Elisabeth Eliot

Sunday, May 15, 2011

a sanctuary of sorts

There is a place in the world that I deem my "world between worlds," a place where I can go and read any book and it fits the setting, a place that resonates with everything I love, a place that is treasured by the people I love. For me it is a type of sanctuary, a thing Lemony Snicket describes as "a small, safe place in a troubling world. Like an oasis in a vast desert or an island in a stormy sea." Meaningful times spent here with Jesus also mark it in my memory as a thing of beauty, a place of reflection and quiet. I do not get to be here often, but it seems that when I do find myself sitting on the canyon rocks next to the clear, rushing creek, I am most reassured and reminded of God's ever progressing work on my ragged heart.  

I realize it is rather materialistic to hold a place here on earth so dearly, but honestly I think that in some ways there are places God uses to give you a glimpse of eternity, so perhaps it isn't so materialistic, just an appreciation. Oak Creek Canyon (near Sedona, Arizona) is this place for me. Thinking of it recalls memories of cherished times spent deep in conversation, adventuring, journaling, and just soaking in the stillness of God's presence through the beauty of nature. It's a place where the business of life gets put on hold and the right perspective is readjusted in my mind and heart. 

The North orchard is in Oak Creek, and I use it as the title for this blog for a couple reasons. 
My brother once labeled a passage from Hebrews 11, "The North Country," and perhaps it is self-explanatory: 
"...They were foreigners and strangers here on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country -- a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." 

To me this encapsulates the mindset I desire and strive to have. North as in heaven, upward, something Higher than myself, beyond myself, fixed on the Kingdom and not worldly things...the "north country". Perhaps a stretch, but I like it.  

I'm using the term North Orchard instead, because it reminds me not only of the place where I feel the most spiritually refreshed, but also of growth, fruit (the fruit of the Spirit) and the shaping that God does in my heart. That is what I want this blog to be, an expression of myself, my thoughts, interests, and what I'm learning. I do not promise any kind of consistency or pattern to posting, but sporadic and unique is more what I prefer anyway.  Enjoy :)