Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Vacation Day

Yesterday, I took a vacation.

I played with an almost 1 year old adorable little boy.
I changed diapers.
I read Skippyjon Jones.
I waited for the bus. Twice.
I had rest time with an awesome 5 year old. (I fell asleep; she didn't.)
I celebrated a 100% on a spelling test.
I ordered pizza.
I crazy danced with my shoes off.
I played dolls...badly.
I helped with math homework. (Hey, I can do 2nd grade math!)
I helped with bath time and was rewarded by getting water dumped on my pants.
I kissed three little faces goodnight.
I was hugged a lot, and was tickled a little too much.

I laughed. A lot.

There were other pretty amazing things about the day. I watched a good movie (that wasn't a cartoon) and had much needed conversation time with a friend. We talked about strengths and weaknesses. (And spoiler: Sharing weakness helps. A lot.)

The best part of this is that I didn't have to fly far away or drive for hours.
I drove 15 minutes down the road and found the most peaceful day I've had in a while.

And it was just what I needed.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bigger than the Cross?

In the very first episode of the cult classic TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Buffy Summers is faced with a hellish situation: starting a new school.
Horrifying, no?
She meets with her new principle who starts their meeting by taking her transcript and ripping it to pieces before her eyes. "Welcome to Sunnydale. A clean slate, Buffy, that's what you get here. What's past is past. We're not interested in what it says on a piece of paper. Even if it says-whoa." He sees a few words, probably "fire" and "gymnasium" and falters. He spends the next few moments verbally supporting his "clean slate" philosophy, all the while slowly reconstructing the torn up transcript to reveal Buffy's very colorful past, taping it together and putting it back into her file.

Sometimes, I approach God like this. Hoping and wishing that I can start with a clean slate. I love that He can make my past ancient history. But I'm really afraid that He will say, "You have a clean slate, starting from--wait, you did WHAT three years ago? Yeah, well, that's not okay. So Let's see...clean slate from...hmmm." I am afraid that God will see my past, the things I've done and the things I've left undone, and tell me that there isn't any hope. I doubt the goodness of God.
And guess what? I got called out on it. By a podcast, no less.
As I was getting ready this morning I listened to a Matt Chandler sermon from last month called "Dealing with Doubt." He was speaking about when we doubt God's love and affection for us. (And I think, for some of us, worth, love and affection is directly tied to what we do or what we don't do.) Matt said this about doubting God's affection for us:
So some of you are walking in doubt because you just doubt God’s affection for you. And that’s idolatry, because what you’re doing in essence is looking at the bloody cross of Jesus Christ and going, “That’s not enough. You’re going to have to show me something bigger than this to convince me You love me.” Some of you are wrestling with doubt because you doubt Christ’s affection for you despite the fact that He went to the cross and died for you despite knowing you.
And that hit me in the gut. Massively. Tell Him the cross wasn't big enough? The suffering, the anguish, the pain of death on the cruelest devices of torture of that time? That wasn't good enough for me?
Sometimes it's a doubt thing or as Matt calls it, an idolatry thing. Sometimes, I wonder though, if it isn't a pride thing. "Sure you can save the world, but me? Nope. I've done too many bad things for you to save me." Too much of "me" in that sentence.

I'm reminded of Galatians 1:3-5, the passage my pastor spoke out of this past Sunday. (You can check out the outline here. The audio should be up soon.)
"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

He gave himself up. To rescue. Me?

Apparently, yes.

Show me something bigger than the Cross?

I won't ever find something bigger than the Cross of Christ.
I just need to look at me less and look to Him more.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rainy days

Is anyone else getting a little tired of the rain hitting PA these days? Just me?
I love the rain, I do. Any kind of rain makes me think of London rain. A traditional London rain is a consistent mist through out the day, but of course it does deluge on occasion. Like that day I spent running around the city, without rain boots, and my jeans got soaked up to my thighs? That was a pretty good day, though.
I had to brave all the rain yesterday. As much as I hated it, I had to. Why, you ask? (Drum roll, please....) Because of the interview I had! Woot! That's right! This girl had her first (ok, well second this summer, but this one I wanted!) interview for a real job! A full time job in an academic library!! (And, as a bonus, they offer graduate classes. Which means if I get this job, and if I have it for 6+months, I can start grad school for almost nothing! I think. Still working on details for that one.)
Of course to have this interview, I did have to drive an hour through pouring rain just to get there. And I had to take the longest detour ever just to get home because of flooding and downed trees on the road. And yes, I had to ShopVac the basement when I got home 2.5hrs after the interview.
How much has my life been like yesterday this past summer? My life has seen so many detours, closed roads and road blocks the past few months. Yesterday, I had my dad's GPS so thankfully I could get home with some certainty that I wasn't going to get lost. In life, I don't feel like I have that. I wish I could hear God's voice saying, "In three weeks, take the interview offered to you" or "Pass up the next three jobs in faith that the fourth one will be the one I have for you." My pastor once preached a sermon about how God, unlike our GPS units, doesn't tell up "Recalculating" because He isn't thrown by our mistakes or the troubles that come up in our life. He doesn't have to give up directions for a detour. I know all of that, but sometimes I would love to hear that audible voice giving directions. I know prayer goes a long way in this, I know. But still, there are days when I wish I could hear him say, "Laura, this is the one. This is it."

But you know what? Yesterday was a pretty good day. Rain and all, you ask?
Yes. Rain and all.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Prayers you didn't know you prayed

It is a new morning ritual of mine to grab my iPod before I even get out of bed and check email, Facebook, Twitter and my Google Reader. It helps me get all that "stuff" out of the way before I am actually awake enough to function for real. This sometimes results in me falling back to sleep waiting for a page to load but, oh well!
To my shock/joy/excitement about a hundred thousand other joyous emotions, I ran across this post by a woman I previously only knew through the blogosphere as "Annie." I am following her trek to Scotland and the things she is learning about faith and herself in the process. What really grabbed me was the pictures at the end of the post. Did they look familiar to you, if you hopped over there? Well, they should! If you didn't, this is what the pictures were of: Remember this church I found while I was in Scotland? I fell in love with it, flaws, abuse, weeds and all. I find it hard to put it succinctly into words, or even into words at all, the reason why this church stood out to me the way it did. Whatever the words, I almost hoped that it would stay like this, as a beautiful reminder of some great Truth about God's love never ending no matter how messed up we get.
But Annie's post changed all of that for me.
There is a church (Crossroads Church Edinburgh) that desperately wants to meet in a church. Not just any church. This church. They went out one day and cleaned the weeds from the front of the church in faith that God hears and will answer their prayers concerning this building.
And I wonder...did God allow me to find this church, fall in love with this church, so that in two (almost three) odd years later, I could pray specifically for Crossroads Church to have this beautiful place? So I could call up a well-loved memory, put myself on that sidewalk, and pray with them for the joy and purpose of the Kingdom work that will be done there?
I couldn't have known all of that on that weekend I fell in love with Scotland. No way. I had no way of knowing how to pray for Crossroads Church. But God placed in my heart a love for that particular plot of land, that particular building, those particular people that would eventually worship there.

Join me in praying for and with Crossroads Church concerning their dreams of meeting one day in this building. I think I started praying years ago for them, but it is so nice to be able to put a name with the church!

I have to ask: when in your life has God answered prayers you didn't know you had prayed?

(Check out the rest of Annie's blog here.)