Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 Days of Story {Day 31} Coming Full Circle

So I could not break out of this inner quiet.
The soulful melancholy.
Not for long anyway.
{Read part 1 of this story HERE}

I would push the little extrovert out from her covered shell.

For moments.


And there.

And it was fun.

Do not get me wrong.

But mostly I felt a little off my game
A little insecure.
A LOT weird.
Kinda overwhelmed.

Until Saturday morning.
When I woke up feeling a little more settled.
A little more like myself.
I reached out to a couple of people I had not bonded with yet that I really wanted to, and we had a group lunch gathering that was just a blessing.

Then I talked to The Nester.
And cried.
For no OBVIOUS reason.
I even laughed as I cried because I felt so silly.
But she was gracious.
And kind.

But that weird up and down feeling inside returned.

I stuck with my friend.
And we ended up in a room
with a couple of other ladies.

And this moment happened.
When one shared her brokenness
Her pain.
Her heartache.
And my spirit was quickened.
I knew that space.
That sorrow.
That desperation.

Jesus opened my mouth
And talked through my vocal chords.
And right there in the Hilton Harrisburg hotel room.
We wept together.

We prayed.
And cried for breakthrough.
And then we introduced ourselves.
And laughed.

Because I did not know her
And she did not know me.
But Jesus knew his girls.
He planned this moment.
He had prepared my heart all weekend to be PRESENT

Not because the other ladies could not have handled it.
They are amazing.
And pastors' wives to boot.
So they were all over it.
But because His plan
Was to use me.

I could not be the Life of the Party at Allume
AND the Girl Who Could Recognize The Darkness
All in the same weekend.

Not this time.
It was not His plan.

There are seasons of LOUD
And seasons of QUIET
The quiet is not so easy for the extrovert

So I had to be pressed into THAT moment
And forcibly accepted my assignment for the weekend
even though it was lonely
even later
When I found myself detached.

But then from that space.
I made two more heart connections, maybe even three, as the weekend progressed.
Right when I would feel sad and lonely and overwhelmed,
God would place me in the path of someone else
who needed that whispered attachment too.

I was coming full circle, back to the quiet little soul that had been birthed on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, back to the analytical calculations of this third-culture kid trying to understand the meaning of "belonging" and "time" and "goodbye", back to the deepest, truest, purest place where Jesus met this little missionary girl as salty breezes christened her tongue and mountain peaks eclipsed her vision, back where deep calls out to the fathomless deep, where my heart finds rest in a Secret Place called Home, in the shelter of His wings.

It was not the conference I planned in my subconscious little extroverted brain,
But it was the conference that HE planned.

Better than I could have imagined.


The past 31 days have been a journey in learning to tell my story.
It has been good.
And hard.

Some days I did not want to write.
A lot of days actually.
Sharing your story is vulnerable.
You give a piece of yourself away.
And it is scary.

What if no one reads?
What if no one cares?
What if I cannot do it justice with my written words?

But I wrote on anyway.
Because I knew that I must.
It was time.

I learned.
I grew.
I changed.
I am the better for it.

I hope you have enjoyed this journey with me. And if this is the first day that you are reading, I invite you to go back to the beginning and grow up along with me {quite literally actually!}.

This concludes 31 Days of Story.
But not the story itself.
Stay tuned.

With Jesus,
The best is ALWAYS yet to come.
You can bet the bank on that.

Want to read the entire 31 days of story?
If you do not want to miss even ONE day, please subscribe 
at the top of this post by entering your email address.

Also linking with Jennifer, Mary Beth, Ann, and Duane 
and the encouraging communities they have created here on the web.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

31 Days of Story {Day 30} An Extrovert's Dilemma

Emily Freeman posted this quote on her blog yesterday....
“I’ve often done all I know to do to create space for God. I’ve spent time in prayer I thought was contemplative, I’ve said no to lesser desires to make room for rich fulfillment, I’ve knelt before God with the bread and wine . . . and for all my effort, I’ve felt only increased emptiness. Frustration. Silence. I created space for God and He didn’t fill it.
Or did He, in ways I failed to recognize because I was expecting something else? Or didn’t He, because I was arrogantly working hard, thinking He would be impressed and compelled to show up?”
- Dr. Larry Crabb, Shattered Dreams

I went to Allume with a bit of this underlying expectation....but just in my own special way.
Let me explain.

I am an extrovert.
I have been my whole life because really .... that is pretty innate.
But growing up, I was a quiet extrovert.
A contemplative soul.
Melancholy even.

However, by the time I arrived at Oral Roberts University, I was bursting to come out of my own skin.

I felt like every other freshman on my floor -- alone, scared, insecure, wondering-if-I-should-stay, and if-I-would-ever-fit-in.

So I thought about it.
Cause that is my M.O.

The Bible says if you want friends, be friendly.
Or at least that was what it meant to me.
So I talked to everyone on my floor.

I never got a roommate so I kept my door open probably eighteen to twenty hours of the day.
I am SO not even kidding!
I had a revolving door.
But I took it to the streets, er, ahem, the hallways, neighbors' rooms, even the bathrooms.
I chatted with people in the shower stall next to me, while we brushed our teeth, while...okay, I think that is enough of that example....

I asked questions.
Lots and lots of questions.
What is your major?
Where are you from?
Why did you choose ORU?
Did you have a good day?
What do you think of your professors?
How many siblings do you have?
What is your dream for your life?

And on and one it went.
I made friends.
I loved my floor.
We played together a lot.
We even planned classes together.
We got to know our "brother wing." {partner guy floor}
We crammed for humanities and biology and dozens of other exams, bonding and laughing and developing our own inside jokes along the way.

And suddenly, a whole year had gone by and awards night had arrived.
I was helping my Resident Advisor, Bloodine, sort through the awards, and as we organized the order of the certificates, I came across my name.

Most Talkative.

And I looked at my RA, heart crushed, trying not to be disappointed, as I held back tears.
She was like, "Lindsey, are you really surprised?"
With head bowed low, I nodded, "Yes! Because when you call someone talkative, it can mean that they get on your nerves and you wish they would shut up."
"I can NOT give it out, if you do not want me to?" she kindly offered.
I said, "No, I'll be okay. If it's the truth and people voted that way, you have to give it out. I am just glad I saw it first so I can prepare myself."

So we continued sorting through the remaining superlatives, and suddenly I saw my name again.

Most Encouraging.

Bloodine smiled, "See Lindsey...the floor does not mean talkative in a negative way. They mean it in a good light. So even though you talk a lot, you are always encouraging others and lifting them up and trying to make them feel better and more connected. The floor would not be the same without you and that is the truth."

I have changed a lot from that eighteen year old girl.
And in some ways, I am her all over again, every time I am in a new season.
I am still talkative.
And I think encouraging too.
But life has pushed and poked and prodded me a bit.

And now.
I am a little less extroverted.
I takes me a while to warm up.
I do not walk into a new place being the life of the party.
I may not be the most popular face in the crowd.
Sometimes I wonder if I am even a REAL extrovert any more.

But I am.
Cause I love being with people.
Almost all of the time.

I felt that way at Allume this weekend.
A little overwhelmed at times.
A desire to stick with the people I knew.
But also...I wanted to be THAT girl....THAT girl who asked questions and gave freely.
I watched my other extrovert friends do it....why could I not?
What was wrong with me?
What was holding me back?

By the time my junior and senior year in college rolled around, I knew half of the campus, although I did not actually realize that fact until my friends pointed it out to me. It had been a gradual thing, not a guns blazing the trail kind of impact. Little by little, one conversation, and word of encouragement at a time. One moment of truth here, one letting down the guard there.

And suddenly, I was that girl.
The one who knows people.
A LOT of people.
By name.

This continued on for the next 10 years in ministry job after ministry job.
I knew people and people knew me.
And I liked that.
I AM an extrovert after all.

So, I went to Allume having this unspoken expectation.
I will be the life of the party.
I have done it before.
I will do it again.

All the while, more consciously, I was giving myself a different lecture -- to listen more, to talk less, to observe, and to stay tuned in to the people around me.

I somehow thought that I would seamlessly flow in and out of these two very different roles....after all, God has been doing a work in my heart for the past two years, surely, He will miraculously make this happen.

You can probably see where I am going.
Both could not work out very well.
And thus.... a viscious battle ensued....

Come back tomorrow 
for the conclusion of my dilemma
{and my 31 days!} 
and how God orchestrated the kind of conference 
HE wanted me to have for one very specific moment 
on the last evening of the weekend.

Want to read the entire 31 days of story?
If you do not want to miss even ONE day, please subscribe 
at the top of this post by entering your email address.

Monday, October 29, 2012

31 Days of Story {Day 29} When Your Greatest Fear Becomes Story

The memory is seared into my brain.
I can see it like it was yesterday.

Strange Archetecture at Oral Roberts University
photo by Jonathan Thompson

I walk into the classroom reminiscent of the sixties in hues of gold and blue. I smile as I see my-slightly-more-chatty-than-normal-psychology-major friends sitting in our usual front-row-of-the-class seats. I slide into my seat excited, as our newly-favorite professor begins the study of the day.

Counseling Psychology I.
Finally, it is my senior year and already this material is making my Top Hits list.

Dr. Feller shares scenarios with us and we students engage in a lively, guided discussion, especially the loud mouths on the front row. And suddenly he begins to present the case that would impact my heart for life….

A couple in counseling…. …because they cannot have a baby.

Immediately solutions spouted from the mouths of students in class.

“They have so many options.” 
“Maybe they could adopt.” 
“They could get a surrogate.” 

I raised my hand in frustration, “But what if that is not the point. What if the desire of this woman is to carry this child in HER womb? What if she just needs to grieve THAT loss?”

Would you join me over at Must Love God for the rest of the story today....?

Want to read the entire 31 days of story?
If you do not want to miss even ONE day, please subscribe 
at the top of this post by entering your email address.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

31 Days of Story {Day 28} A Hard Lesson In Forgiveness

It was 1999, and he was my best "guy" friend.

We hung out mostly in a group of 8-12 friends. We were a tight crew. But he & I had a special connection. He was witty & sarcastic & boyishly charming. I was analytical & strong-willed & intellectually-challenging. Everyone knew we had a unique friendship, but it was "purely platonic."

No. Seriously. It was.

Was, that is, until that summer.
The summer after he broke up with his girlfriend from back home.
The summer we hung out in Maine with our friends.
The summer that everything changed.

We crossed the boundaries of friendship, and things would never be the same again.

At first it was thrill-me-to-my-toes exciting.
We were "us" but now.... MORE!
And it was fun!

But then, real life happened.

We went back to college, back to classes, back to our normal routine.

And she came too -- his ex.
She was now a part of "our" world.
THAT was not supposed to happen.
My world was spinning

Suddenly, he pulled away from me. He needed space from both of us to figure things out. It was hard, but he was my friend, right? So I wanted to give him room to grow and to know his own heart & head.

Then one day the bottom fell out of our relationship.
 In one day my heart broke.

He knew my schedule, so he had been avoiding me, although I hadn't realized that at the time. He didn't count on my meeting being cancelled that night. He didn't plan for me to be in the cafeteria a little later then usual for supper.

That's when I saw them.
The two of them.

I guess he "figured it out" without telling me.

I couldn't understand.
My mind did not want to register.
Why would he lie to me?
He is my friend.
He WAS my friend.

If Taylor Swift had been selling albums back then, THIS would have been the time to blast one of her angsty love break up songs....

These words pounded over and over and over in my head...

I'm not his choice.
I'm not good enough,
pretty enough,
smart enough,
I'm not ENOUGH!


That is the moment the darkness crept into my soul, my very being. As the days passed, I would wake up each morning in such agony and pain and HATRED. I felt betrayed, abandoned, stupid, faithless, ignorant, unwise, alone. The feeling in my gut was like someone was daily twisting my intestines. I know that sounds intense and dramatic, but I felt like I was walking in a fog. I would read Scriptures almost mindlessly to just "stuff the Word" into me. I would get ready for the day and just beg the Holy Spirit to help me.

But nothing seemed to work. I would cross paths with him. Or her. Or him & her together. I tried to face things. I tried to let it go. I tried to "get over it!"

But the anger seemed to just build and build and with that the shame. 

How could I let this happen?
How could I be so stupid?

And the bitterness just increased.

Months passed, and one day, I went to a revival service. I don't remember what the message was about or anything that was said in particular except the invitation to the altar at the end. I went forward and I felt that tugging at my heart strings.

It's time to forgive. It's time to let go.

And instructions followed.

Write him a letter. Write her a letter. Ask them for forgiveness.

WHAT, LORD? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!! There is NO WAY! I didn't do anything wrong. He blatantly lied to me, and she rudely ignores me. I am the one who has a RIGHT to be angry.

And the quietest of whispers....

Haven't you held anger, resentment, & bitterness in your heart against them?

Well, yeah, but THEY don't know that! I have been nice.

My child....Forgive.....

That night, I sat down at my computer, feeling compelled by a power larger than myself to such an extent, that I knew if I did not obey, the sky was going to open up and lightening would strike hard.
Not to punish, but to get my attention....

"Hey, girl! I'm talking to you...!!!"

So with trembling fingers, I typed out my battle-worn apologies.

It was hard.
It was real.
It was honest.

The next morning, I went and dropped them off at the campus post boxes.

When I walked out of the CPO that day, it was the funniest thing. I am THROUGHLY convinced, the sky was bluer, the clouds were fluffier, the bird-song was sweeter, and there was a spring in my step.

Something amazing happened.
Something surprising and wholly miraculous
Accepting God's forgiveness and requesting it in return from others with NO AGENDA resulted in this beautiful thing...


Forgiveness set me free!!

"Therefore if the Son makes you free, 
you shall be free indeed."
John 8:36

From the archives -- 2/24/2011

Want to read the entire 31 days of story?
If you do not want to miss even ONE day, please subscribe 
at the top of this post by entering your email address.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

31 Days of Story {Day 27} The Comparison Trap

You could not help but like her.

Her Arkansas drawl, her ear-to-ear smile, her sparkling green eyes
.....and those pipes.

It was hard not to stop and soak in the melodies when this five foot two, perky Southern belle, belted out rifts that could rival Aretha Franklin. It was not uncommon to walk down the 1960's inspired hallways of our dorm and catch girls just standing outside of her door, listening to her practice her musical runs, like they were hoping to get just a glimpse of this star in the making.

 And me, well, I could not deny the overwhelming talent, Candee possessed, but my little heart was crushed and quite frankly, a little....scratch that....A LOT jealous.

Coming from a high school with a graduating class of eleven {oh yeah, you read that right} and a youth group of about fifty, I often led the pack in talent, personality, and character. The proverbial story of being the little fish now in a GREAT BIG pond is not a new one, but for the first time in my life, I found myself feeling truly uninspiring and vitally insignificant.

She was smart, pretty, talented, and funny.
She caught the attention of people, especially boys.
And I could not hold a candle to her.
Or at least, that was how my eighteen year old eyes viewed it.

Jealousy burned deep within my soul, and I hated myself for it.

But in spite of myself and more because of the Father's work in my heart, I took a leap of faith and faced my personal demons, supporting every musical audition, contest, performance, and endeavor for which her firecracker personality and powerhouse voice made space. Months went by until one day when she was the only white girl to be accepted into the Souls Afire campus choir, I felt something different happen in my heart.

True joy.
Sheer delight.
She did it! She did it!
I laughed to myself and I think I even did a little happy dance.

The taste of freedom sweetened on my tongue like ice cream on the 4th of July.
I was free from that ugly monster.
Truthfully and unequivocally free.

As we jubilantly frolicked off to celebrate her new soulful musical journey, I recognized that stirring in my heart to come clean. A time of confession was in order. I blurted out quickly, before I lost my nerve...
"Candee, I am have been jealous of you since I first met you. You are so pretty and you're voice is so amazing. The boys always notice and like you, and I just wanted to have all of those things like you do. But tonight, I don't feel jealous any more. I truly feel happy for you, almost like it was me. I am so sorry. I hope you will forgive me." 
She looked at me with sincerity,
"Oh my gosh, Lindsey. I...have been jealous of....YOU!!"
What?!?!?!?! I thought to myself. The idea was simply ludicrous. What did I have that she did not have? She practically light up a room when she walked in.
"You have this way with people," she carried on. "You always know how to encourage and the right things to say, and people REALLY like you and want to be around you. I wish I could be that way with people."
I started to laugh out loud, long and hard.
"Oh, Candee! Imagine what God must be thinking right now.....'My silly girls...just be who I created you to be. Stop comparing yourselves to each other and trying to be something you were not called to be."

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that
we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness,
that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
~Marianne Williamson

Revisited from the archives of March 14, 2012....
Here are my friend Candee's thoughts after reading my original post...

"Literally crying at my keyboard 
remembering that conversation. 
To think it has been fifteen! 
Thanks for the reminder to be 
who God created me to be no matter what. 
Love you friend!"

Want to read the entire 31 days of story?
If you do not want to miss even ONE day, please subscribe 
at the top of this post by entering your email address.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

31 Days of Story {Day 26} A Five Minute Friday edition :: Voice

Writing LIVE tonight at Allume, a blogging conference....
I cannot even describe how amazing it is to be IN THE ROOM with this amazing group of women. When I say that THIS IS MY FAVORITE LINKUP ON THE WEB...I am not lying or saying it to gush or be nice.

The women here are beautiful and generous and brave.
{I am adding these words after I have written as I listen to some of them share their words...SO MUCH POWER!!}

Without further is my 5 minute offering as a part of my ongoing 31 day journey....

Five Minute Friday

I was just a freshman.
Just eighteen years old.
Longing for a place to find my way in the midst of the crowded campus.
A chaplain, maybe?

I applied.
I got the right reference letters.
My chaplain said it was a done-deal.

Then I got that letter.
You know the one.
The one that is like a pink slip.
The "thin" envelope.

What is wrong with me?
Why was I not chosen?
She told me that everyone gets picked unless something is really wrong with you.

So I must really be wrong....

It's funny how God knows different.
How He writes YOUR story
How He gives you information ONLY when you need it.
When its necessary.

Corrie ten Boom said that her Father only gave her the train ticket WHEN she needed to board the train.

6 months later, I got my train ticket.
A different kind of notice.
A phone call
From the Top Lady on Campus herself.

{finishing the story.....}

" this message for real?
Did Brenda Coomer really call ME?
The women's chaplain of the ENTIRE campus!"

But it was real.
And she was inviting me.
To join the team.
To share my voice.
Among the many.
To love on the women God would place in my care.
To give them a voice.

So, of course, I said, YES!

Want to read the entire 31 days of story?
If you do not want to miss even ONE day, please subscribe 
at the top of this post by entering your email address.

31 Days of Story {Day 25} The Freshman Diaries

Isn't it funny how the beginning....of anything always filled with the largest learning curve?

My first semester in college felt like that...

I learned how to take notes in a lecture-driven classroom without freaking out.  I literally cassette-tape-recorded every lecture in at least three classes that first semester. I NEVER actually went back to listen to any of them...just the backup plan made me feel better. I abandoned that going into semester two.

I learned how grace was more than just a Sunday school phrase. Loving Jesus from the time you are four years old has its advantages, yet understanding grace is not often one of them. I remember when God revealed this to me, "But for the grace of God, I could be the prostitute on the streets." Romans 7 leading into the well-known Romans 8 verse 1 held revolutionary meaning to me for the first time at eighteen years old. If you have never read that chapter and the first part of chapter eight together before, do yourself a HUGE favor and do that. It's totally life-changing! No condemnation, baby....the gift is RICH and FULL.

I learned how to accept failure. I had applied for what I deemed, the coveted chaplain of a floor position. My chaplain was thrilled. She said I was a shoe-in and gave me a glowing recommendation. Fueled with this knowledge and support, I went to my first interview, confident and sure. A few months later, I got the know the one....the thin one, the pink slip, the Sorry-try-again-next-year letter. And I was crushed. MY chaplain felt terrible for her assurances. But now it was time to deal with rejection and failure. A lesson preparing me for what was to come...

I learned how to persevere. After a challenging first semester with NEW class styles, NEW friendships, NEW part of the world, NEW, well, everything!, this perfectionist came home a bit deflated, especially about grades (not to mention the whole chaplain thing). It was not as easy as it had been in high school. Shocker, right? But now I was, in many ways, on my own. No parents in the dorms with me to stop at my beck and call to teach me a missing puzzle piece in my learning. I can remember calling my dad, in Haiti no less, and crying about Biology and how hard it was to absorb all of the information. I was never a BIG science-y girl anyway so Dad talked me through some study techniques until I calmed down enough to absorb his words. Somehow I made it through with a C I believe in both Biology AND Humanities. The girl who had never received a C in her ENTIRE life for a class!  Now, I got TWO! I was devastated! I mean really and truly and desperately devastated! I cried and moaned and complained to my mom for what seemed like hours on my Christmas break. With her soothing way, she reasoned and cajoled and stroked until finally....

"I just cannot go back, Mom! It is not for me. I failed. I obviously cannot do this work....I must not belong in college!"

I blurted out these barely-understandable words, for probably the twenty-seventh time.

This time, my mom, very calmly, yet firmly, {I wish you could hear/ that voice and face is really effective!} said, "Well, Lindsey, I guess you will have to quit then."

Is she serious?
We are not quitters.
Why would she say that?
Why would I quit?
I have to finish.

And suddenly I knew in that moment with that open door to throw in the towel, that I would not.
I could not.
I actually WANTED to go back.
In spite of everything.
I would live to fight another day.
C's or not.
Popular or friendless.
Accepted or rejected.
I would go on.

Want to read the entire 31 days of story?
If you do not want to miss even ONE day, please subscribe 
at the top of this post by entering your email address.

Also joining Emily, Denise, & Michelle and their amazing communities.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

31 Days of Story {Day 24} Waiting in the Wings

Sometimes you feel small.

In the fall of '96, I knew just such a feeling.

"Waiting...waiting in the wings....
I know how it feels to be
just another face in the crowd....
In the crowd...
To feel like a whisper
In a world that's much too loud...."

The lyrics from Anointed played a running sound track behind the scenes of this new strange season of my life.

In my high school youth group, I had been popular, talented, musical, and a leader.
Now I was just one more freshman, trying to find her way to class.
And praying, "Dear God, please do not let me look stupid."

Plus being me.
A girl who cares more about individuality than belonging, I have recently learned, {thanks, Sis, for that insight} navigating through the minefield of the million unknown social faux pas felt daunting as well as like selling-out if I drank the Koolaid.

So I did what any self-proclaimed "individual" would do on the first day of class. While everyone else was choosing the best, the prettiest, the cutest outfit in their wardrobe, I chose the opposite -- a hand-me down skirt that was truly the ugliest thing in my closet. I had never worn it before, nor did I ever wear it again. It served its ridiculous statement purpose.

I will show you the photo but you may not fully appreciate the ugliness unless you think back to what was in style then. This skirt was NOT.

This is me with my sister. She looks cute, right? Yeah. She was 14 at the time!! She had some skills that I did not yet possess. Here's a better view of that crazy skirt.

Think 90's southwestern style restaurant tablecloth with pink hues instead of red.
My skirt was probably made from the same material.
Yet there I smile.
Determined not to care.
Pretty brave for a seventeen-almost-eighteen year old.
Or stupid, depending on how you look at it.

Yet off I went to class that day, caring, but determined not to.
Probably looking every bit the missionary kid that I felt inside with my ridiculous costume.

And you know what is funny.
In the end.
It didn't really matter.
On way or the other.
The person INSIDE was the one who made friends.
Who found out that belonging might just be okay.

She connected with people who embraced her crazy antics or at least learned to love them dearly.

As I prepare to head out to my second year at the blogging conference, Allume, I feel struck with many of these same feelings.

I am not good enough.
My writing is sub par next to these ladies.
No one will notice me.
I am just another face in the crowd.

I still plan my outfits, which are decidedly more style-centric now, yet still filled with individuality.
I haven't changed THAT much in seventeen years.

And somehow I remember what that seventeen year old girl learned.
It does not matter somehow.
Those outside looks.
The best writing.
The most skilled conversationalist.
The praise.
The accolades.

It's the inside that counts.
I think I will keep reminding myself of that.

"Don't ever forget whose child you are..... Though others may fail to see the diamond that lies beneath ......He know just how priceless you are....while you are waiting in the wings...Keeping waiting...."

P.S. I did wear that shirt again. Looked much better with jeans, right?

P.P.S. Sorry for the blurriness of some of the photos....SO not digital back then! ;-)

Want to read the entire 31 days of story?
If you do not want to miss even ONE day, please subscribe 
at the top of this post by entering your email address.

Also linking with Jennifer, Mary Beth, Ann, and Duane 
and the encouraging communities they have created here on the web.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

31 Days of Story {Day 23} When you realize that He's got you

Making decisions, especially BIG, life-changing ones, has always been hard for me.
Traumatic, even.

"What if I make the WRONG choice?"
"Maybe my plans will mess everything up..."
"This decision could change the ENTIRE COURSE OF MY LIFE."
"How can I be trusted with this amendment of EPIC proportions?"

Senior year was no exception.
Road trips.
Financial Aid.

Moving. Away. From. Home.

Finally I landed on Oral Roberts University after painful, tear-filled grappling with my own inner voice of confusion.

In August of 1996, we packed up a 15-passenger van filled with boxes and things-that-make-a-dorm-life-liveable and travelled the 1,300 miles across the country from East Coast, USA to Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Somewhere around Ohio, I felt panic set in.

"Mom, how do we know this is the right decision? What if this is the wrong one? How are we going to pay for this? I didn't get that BIG scholarship we were counting on! I do not know if I should....if I CAN do this."

And my ever-practical mom, with infinite wisdom and experience at handling her dramatic, artistically, temperamental daughter AND having already kindly and mercifully fielded MANY such panic attacks ALL SUMMER LONG, said, "Well .... you are going for one semester now at least. We are halfway there."

And with that, I moved on to Claudius 6.
On the day the elevator broke.
Or at least was slower than the building of the Ark.
After my mom had sprained her ankle less than 24 hours before.

Dad, Sis, and I unpacked the entire 15-passenger van and hand-carried every bit of my belongings up six flights of stairs while my mom unpacked and began to make my room homey.

Oh, I remember those nerves, climbing the stairs, feeling every bit of the missionary kid that I WAS, running into to other students and parents in the hallways, awkwardly making connections, hoping I was not the only one who felt so ridiculous and stupid and embarrassed.

"God, what am I doing here? I do not belong here. I will never fit in. I am just a little missionary girl. People will never 'get' me. I will stand out like a sore thumb. FOUR YEARS?!? There is just NO way. I don't even know if I can do ONE semester."

And then I met her.
Doing her job in the succinct, precise way that I would come to know... and love.
My RA.

The ONLY Haitian resident advisor on the entire campus.
That's right.
Did you catch that?


Crazy, right?

I mean...what?!?!

And suddenly, I knew.
She was my fleece.
My gift.
My olive branch.
My reminder from Jesus.

"I've got you, baby girl. This whole deal is NOT random. I have planned every detail."

She became a lifeline to me in that year.
Her background.
Her major.
Her direct way of telling me what I needed to hear.
Her patience in listening to my NEVER-ending inner sagas.

I do not know WHAT I was worried about.

"When you move to the right or the left, 
you will hear a voice in your ear saying,
 'This is the way...walk in it.'"
Isaiah 30:22

Want to read the entire 31 days of story?
If you do not want to miss even ONE day, please subscribe 
at the top of this post by entering your email address.

Also....joining Heather at Just Write.

Monday, October 22, 2012

31 Days of Story {Day 22} A Year to Remember

Nothing was ever simple in my world.

Writing my first book report in second grade felt like asking me to cut my own veins.

Burning my finger on white coals at nine-years-old sent me writhing in prolonged pain, both physical and emotional for hours, probably MUCH longer than necessary.

Pouring my heart and soul into the world of Lucy Maud Montgomery had me crying and laughing, even when I would read it for the tenth time.

Dreaming of a living in a world where the streets were not paved with pebble and dirt yet feeling like a fish out of water every time we would visit the States.

Walking on the rooftop dreaming of my forever love or even just girlish romance created a fantasy world juxtaposed to the hardships of the third world environment in my peripheral.

Traveling back and forth pulled pieces of my heart every time and for days upon the return to Haiti, I would pine over home movies from my friends or even lie in bed, convinced, "I had no reason to wake up in the morning..."

Leaving Haiti was a long-held dream, and then when it was time to go, I felt like I was saying goodbye forever, causing me to wonder if what I had always longed for was truly worth it.

Living in the States for my senior year in high school was both amazing and terrifying. There were days when I was on top of the world and others where my homesickness threatened to overtake me.

Being a senior is already filled with life-changing transitions like visiting colleges, making sure to keep up with those final these-really-count-grades, sending in applications, making life-altering decisions that seem too-big-for-you-at-seventeen. Add on to that, living in a first-world culture year round, making new friends, having my first real boyfriend, and a hundred little things that make life seem LARGE and IN CHARGE instead of you feeling like you own your own days.

Yet it was a beautiful year, filled with growth that only a seventeen year old can truly experience and still not profoundly comprehend.

Seventeen years later, I am thankful for that year.
A year to live away from home before going off to college.
A year to be safe in a little known culture, living with my aunt.
A year to build deeper relationships with the family and long-time friends.
A year to go a little deeper.
A year to know Jesus better.
A year to be more me.

A year to remember.
A year to call my soul my own.

Want to read the entire 31 days of story?
If you do not want to miss even ONE day, please subscribe 
at the top of this post by entering your email address.

Also linking up with these beautiful communities:
 The RunaMuck, The Soli Deo Gloria party
In, On, and Around Monday, Playdates with God, and Just Write.

Project 365 :: Day 282 - 293

So the past couple of weeks have been filled with photography classes, several overnight trips, college bestie hangout time, and beautiful "normal" moments of life in between.

On the home stretch...thank you for sharing this journey with me....

Day 282 :: My photography professor and his Nikon ;-)

Day 284(1) :: Patches absolutely love it when I open the blinds 
and she can perch like this! 

Day 284(2) :: Our professor is so fun and knowledgable.
Love this fun shot! 

Day 284(3) :: Focused on Photography 

Day 285(1) :: So yeah. This is my neighborhood.
And this is a Hollywood movie being filmed there.
And oh yeah...Susan Sarandon was hangin' in my hood.
But No. I did not see her.

Day 285(2) :: The beginning of the week long FUN 
with my college bff!!

Day 286(1) :: Waiting "patiently" at the bus stop

Day 286(2) :: My VERY FIRST art gallery experience
{Can you believe it?}

Day 287 :: A post museum photo session

Day 288 :: Some of my VERY favorite people in the world
Pastors Bill and Lisa Shuler

Day 289 :: On my way to photography class, this was
the view from my rearview mirror in the rain 

Day 290 :: Showing the bff the island of wild horses

Day 291 :: A day of outlet shopping

Day 292 ::'s really and truly here...

Day 293(1) :: Hanging with fellow photographers on our field trip day 

Day 293(2) :: One of the best parts of this photography
learning experience has been sharing it with my sister!

I'm on a journey, chronicling my life with a picture a day for a year. I am nearing the end of my journey and have consistently discovered the world around me in my day-to-day life in a uniquely different way as well as learned more about my DSLR to better capture those precious moments. 

{Update: Currently taking a couple of photography classes 
with my sister this fall 2012...very excited!}

Related Posts with Thumbnails