Also, 1 Corinthians 1:18

Too many times for my liking in recent weeks I have been referred to as a Child or Young or other phrases that essentially mean that I don’t know what I’m doing with my life at the moment and will eventually wise-up, changing my convictions and lifestyle to be “more responsible.”
(Just FYI, ANY amount of times is too many times for my liking.)

This is one of the very few things that a person can do to really get me riled up. Boy, I get mad. It’s so frustrating because they don’t even know me or my life.

Yes, I’m only 21 years old. But look at my life thus far. Please, tell me where I’ve proven my foolishness and overt stupidity. Please, tell me why you feel you must advise me about how to be successful in this supposed “real world.”

Honey, please. (Also, “Honey” is the name I use when I’m being condescending but wanting to sound nice. Welcome to Southern culture.)

I’m sorry it bothers you that I don’t believe in saving $50 a week so that when I retire I’ll have a million dollars. (And don’t doubt me when I tell you I don’t WANT a million dollars. I don’t.)
I’m sorry it bothers you that I’m not too sure I believe in retirement at all.
I’m sorry it bothers you that my definition of success is not financial in nature, and that I believe I can be successful without opening my own counseling office.
I’m sorry it bothers you that I believe in taking a true Sabbath, despite the adverse effects on my other days.
I’m sorry it bothers you that I believe in taking each day as it comes, and letting God be God over my future.
I’m sorry it bothers you that I am young and free.

If all these beliefs and convictions I have are simply sprung from my youth, so be it. Let me be young. Let me enjoy the Free Spirit my Father has given me.
If all these beliefs and convictions I have are simply sprung from my youth, about 4 people severely misquoted the Christ.
You, for whom my heart aches, are trying to teach me Westernized Christianity.
I have tried for several years to rid myself of that, and I shall never return.

Yes, I am young. Yes, I am learning, and will continue to be, for the duration of my life. Yes, I am capable of acting in foolish ways. Yes, I am unsure about where my life is going in this temporal world. Yes, I would love financial security and to have planned out everything and to take control of the situation.

No, I will not bend my ways. No, you will not be allowed to teach me shallow and faithless ways. No, you will not call my actions foolish when my Saviour lived an even more “foolish” lifestyle than I. No, I will not try to figure out where I’m going and when. No, I will not seek financial security and control.

God said He’ll provide for me.
To have faith like a child, I must take Him at His word.
And I’m doing my daggum best to do just that.
Call it what you will.

“Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” -1 Timothy 4:12

Wisdom Is A Spirit.

I have terribly misunderstood the role of the Spirit for the majority of my Christian journey.

He does not (only) exist to provide me with an emotional sense of God’s presence.
He does not (only) exist to provide me with anointed on-the-spot words to those around me.
He does not (only) exist to comfort me in times of tremendous discomfort.
He does not (only) exist to confront the sin in my life.

 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”

I have heard this for a long time, but it only became real to me recently. The Spirit is literally dwelling inside me. Dwelling, finding His residence, staying, living within me. He is there all the time. Those wise decisions I make, those are His. Those times of compassion, those are His. Those times of discipline, those are His. Any wisdom that exudes from my actions or from my mouth is from Him, is Him.

The Bible tells us to ask for wisdom, to pray for the Spirit of wisdom to come upon us. I have in the past, and a lot in the present as well. Solomon got His, and I think I’ve got Mine.

This week there was an overwhelming sense that although I was making the decisions, all of them were being guided by Not Me. My eyes were then opened to the possibility that the Spirit had finally become a constant in my life, an everyday companion and friend and mentor. I know that He is there and I acknowledge Him often.

I’m not living in this “spiritual high” like I once did, and for which I once did (and still) search. No, I certainly have my lows; they are deep and recurring. But I don’t feel alone unless the low is extremely low and I haven’t had one of those since Christmas weekend.
This is life. Real life. It feels nice.

Child, This Is You.

This is a problem I’ve been having lately. I don’t really know who I am. I know what I am, adjectives. But I think there may be a difference in knowing what I am like and knowing what that ‘I’ is. The book I’ve been reading lately, Sophie’s World, has either helped or made things worse and I haven’t decided which yet. I guess it showed me my options. I’m not done with the book yet, about 150 pages left to go so I can’t draw any conclusions yet.
(see Souvenir for an incomplete list of adjectives, by the way)
One of the things I love is language. I don’t know really why I love it so, but it is consuming at times. But language fails. As it is me right now. Anytime I begin to think about who I am, all the words and phrases and fragments that come to mind are in the what category. Even with the “ideal” Christian-ese answers.
[Who are you? I am a most beloved child of the Most High, Sovereign, and Beautiful King of All. No. I said who are you, not what.]
So is there really any difference between them? I think perhaps our language has been twisted. Because I can answer the what question in two different ways, unlike the who question.
[What are you? I am mostly carbon and water. I am minerals and proteins and compounds and molecules and water. OR I can answer in the same way as most of us answer the who question.]
I think I just changed my mind about some things. Knowing what I am like (subjectively and objectively, meaning, what I think and what God thinks) is knowing who I am, or better, who I am capable of being. Knowing what I am is knowing, well, what I am. Or of what I am literally made.

I know pieces of who I am.
Or, maybe it’s just that I notice the rotten pieces a lot more than I notice the sweet pieces.
Or maybe it’s that I give the rotten pieces a lot more weight in my mind and heart than the sweet pieces.
Maybe it’s both.
Or maybe it’s Maybelline.
(hint: it’s not Maybelline.)

Clarity Evades Me.

How much is too much for a thing to be a coincidence?

I’m not sure where I stand on this yet, the whole Armenian/Calvinist debate still rages within me at times. Are there coincidences or is everything decisively planned and plotted?

To what extent are happenings purely up to interpretation? It seems as though the answer to this lies within the answer to the aforementioned debate, which is itself merely an interpretative debate. 

And where’s the line between being persistent with prayer, approaching God with the desires of your heart, and wasting your time because it’s not what He has for you? Does such a line exist? I fear that it does and that I have crossed it too many times to be coincidental.

Perhaps that line is simply in motive and openness. If I am persistent and honest in my prayer, my expression of desire to God, yet remain open to what He knows is best for me even if it is different than my desire, perhaps this is it. But even then I feel as though I am wasting effort. I should be honest and say: I feel as though I am putting my innards in too much danger. I’m pouring out all of me, my heart, wanting so deeply for this coincidence to coincide already, with the knowledge that it may never be so.

That’s risky.
That takes faith. And knowledge.
Maybe that’s what He means when He says: “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:22 NASB)

Maybe it’s not believing you will receive what you ask.
Maybe it’s believing that whether or not you receive what you ask, the best thing you could have asked for will happen.
Maybe it’s believing that regardless of what you receive, God is Good. Faithful. True. Powerful. Wise.

Maybe it’s believing that He will take care of your heart, whether it is dashed against stones or sent soaring on sweet breezes.

Maybe it’s time that I trust God actively with my heart.

"To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the positive-to grief, sorrow, and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment, and an intensity of consciousness we did not know was possible before"
                                                                             -Rollo May

The Place I Knew Before.

Today I arrived in a place I knew before I knew very much at all: home.
Elliston, Virginia.

But even this place is not my true home. Even this place filled with memories, events of long (not that long) ago, filled with love and struggle and shouts and tears and hugs and warm greetings, even this place is not where I was made for.

I was made for the reality behind this shadowy land. I was made for the place where all the good of this land is multiplied, intensified, beautified, realized and all the bad of this land is evacuated, emaciated, depleted.

My true home is the place I knew before I knew very much at all: Eden. The New Jerusalem. The very real and tangible Presence of God.

In the meantime, until Jesus comes crashing through the heavens, this is where I’ll call home-home. Home is Central, SC. Home-home is Elliston, VA.
Elliston is where my mom and brother currently reside. It is where I went to middle school. It is where I graduated from high school. I found love and life while I resided here. Elliston is a very tiny town, not 7 minutes long, but it is large in my heart. It is where I met my friend Jeremy, the one friend from high school with whom I intentionally try to keep up. It is the springboard from which I jumped to meet my friends Sonia and Lori; long live the Three Amigas. It is the diving board from which I dove (fell?) into Liberty University and Look Up Lodge, two of the places that have shaped me most intellectually and spiritually.

But this place is just a plot of land. My home-home is my family, my dearest loved ones with whom and through whom I have grown.
My Home is the same. My Family, my Dearest Loved Ones with Whom and through Whom I have grown.
That. Is more. Than land.

The Goal.

Why do I want to write a book?
So I can be like Don Miller: Using very normal, average, everyday stories from my life, spiced up with some 20/60 hindsight vision, procure a large and loyal following and a decent sum of currency.

That’s only partly true. I’ll let you decide which is the true segment.

Oh, and so that other very normal, average, everyday people will know that with some 20/60 hindsight vision very abnormal, excellent, extraordinary things can happen.

Why do I want to write a book?
So I can perhaps finish a large project that I initiated.
So I can see whether or not I have things in my mind worthy of the written word.
So I can document my thoughts, regardless of their worthiness.
So I can one-up my mom’s book.
So I can cultivate my language, communication, and imagination skills.
So I can maintain what writing skills I already have attained from school.

So I can. For the express purpose of. In order that. Because.

In my 8th grade English class (or was it still called Language Arts back then?), in which we studied a great deal of philosophy, it was concluded that the only viable answer to the question “Why?” is the single word “Because.”

Because, meaning “for this reason” or “for the cause of.” The word’s sole job is to preface an explanation.

Good thing so many things need explaining around here. Otherwise Because would be very lonely.

Today was a good day. Why? Because: I was allowed the great blessing to see two of my best friends, Laura and Ryan, and to go with them to see two other friends sing at an acapella choir concert.

I often forget how much I have a love/hate relationship with Laura’s eyes. Why? Because: They are filled with truth-seeking, and sometimes I am not full of truth.


Souvenir. In French this word means "to remember." 
That's what I want to do, to remember. Everything.
So, I have undertaken a project.
This project is rather undefined and consists mainly of my thoughts as I struggle out of this cocoon in which I'm encapsulated. 
And because a lot of it deals with my struggles, some of it I will not publish. Most of it, yes; some of it, no.
It will be sporadically created, since I am not a static or mechanized being. 
It will be explained more in the next several paragraphs, which make up what I would call The Prologue.

This is not the first time I’ve started something not knowing how it will end.
It may be the first time I’ve started something knowing that I can end it however I wish.

That’s not true.
I want the same One who writes everything else to help me write this too.
Because things don’t end well when I’m alone in them.

It’s also not true because I can end anything however I wish. My job, my activities, my life. Unless Something intervenes, I have control. And because I know how everything will end: Glorious and Beautiful.

So welcome to this book. I may not actually finish it, but it will be finished with. You may not actually finish it, but it will be finished with. It will be filled, to whatever extent, with the thoughts of this author.

Here are some identifying characteristics of this author (because perspective is essential):
Currently twenty-one years of age; female; native Virginian; current South Carolina resident; graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Counseling and Clinical Research Psychology; follower of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified; lover of language and nature; hopeful, but currently seeking therapy for depression; quick to assume; house parent for eight middle school girls; artistic; impulsive; done with this list for now.

Some of the things I write and you read will be trivial. Some of them will be important. Sometimes we’ll disagree about which is which.

And that’s okay.


Deleanor (Delano+Eleanor)

I like both of those people. 
FDR. And his wife, Eleanor.
Two very good-with-words people.
And I like words. A lot.

He said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
She said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
I fear that my future will be like my present: coming home to a loveless, peace-less, comfortless, and husbandless house.
I fear mere existence.
I fear loneliness.
I fear constraints and commitments.
I fear being misunderstood.
I fear getting heart-hurt.
I fear being wrong about my Jesus.

Sometimes the “one thing” I do every day is simply getting out of bed.

I have more to say about fear, and how it’s only a strangely comforting distraction, but I’m sleepy right now.

Now it’s a new day. Very new actually. An hour and a half old.
I only have fear to fear because fear is a cage. It holds me in, it restrains me. It keeps outside things out, denies them the opportunity to affect me.
I have lived in this cage so long that I’ve put cushions against the wire perimeter. I’m now comfortable in my little fear-box.
But this same box that keeps me ‘safe’ and in which I feel ‘comfortable’ is the same box which Jesus has crushed and out of which he calls me to crawl, feebly as it may be.
This same box which I’ve lived most of my life in is the same box that prohibits me from experiencing, from living, from being free.
So. While I’m safe, I’m merely existing.
While I’m safe, I’m lonely.
While I’m safe, I’m constrained and committed.
While I’m safe, I’m misunderstood.
While I’m safe, I’m getting heart-hurt.
And while I’m safe, I cannot know the Real Jesus.
Therefore, my fear is my worst fear. Fear causes me to see my fears realized in my life.

So what must I do? Take courage like a daily vitamin.
Courage: from the roots cuer and –age, meaning heart and whose range of senses it reflects closely, respectively.
Take heart. Live via Love because there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love (1 John 4:18).
A Life of Love sounds a whole lot like a Life of Giant Leaps.
A Life of Asking Forgiveness instead of Permission.
A Life of Confident Strides.
A Life of No Regrets.
A Life of Freedom.
Oh, sweet Freedom.

To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the positive-to grief, sorrow, and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment, and an intensity of consciousness we did not know was possible before.     
-Rollo May