Agreeing with Will Reagan

Sitting, or rather slouching against the pillows, here, upon my bed, two days before I head out for my Sophomore year of college, “Set A Fire” is playing and the lyrics “I want more” are repeating over and over, in a humbling plead for God to decrease us and increase Himself in us. Freshman year was incredible, for a plethora of reasons, but in part because in addition to all the classroom learning, I learned so much about me, who I am in a space I got to make all my own, and really how little I am but how great my story could be if I let the Lord have His way in my life.

“I want more,” Will Reagan and the Pursuit are repeating. Me too, Will Reagan, me too.

I know how ignorant I am of other cultures and of the total depravity that is being experience by so many people in this time, in this world. My world. Actually, truth is I probably don’t even know how ignorant I am. My head knows people are suffering terribly and joy, something I’m blessed to feel so often, has been stolen completely out of the lives of so many other for various reasons. But I ashamed to say as much as that shakes me, it doesn’t shake me enough. I know I don’t understand it fully, I maybe never will, but I want to be stripped of this ignorance. I know where I’m at now is probably way more comfortable than understanding will be, but truth is I’m uncomfortable with myself and with my unresponsiveness to the issues that devastate our world.

I want to have more knowledge. More understanding. More love for others. More Jesus in me.

I want to know how to help and I know I will be able to help best when I understand the true issues. When I’m in proximity to the issues. When I can hold the broken in my arms and weep with them, not just for them. Someday, I want to hold them while weeping with joy looking back on a story of God’s mercy and creative solutions provided by Him, but I’m terribly afraid that weeping in sorrow for what hurts must come first.

I want to travel, not to see the world, but to meet the people of the world. I want to fall in love with a million hearts in a thousand and one places and pour my heart out into people and into solutions for those dear people. I want to use physical solutions to display to people the only true solution to any mess: Jesus & the Gospel message.

I don’t know what physical problems the Lord will call me to help mend, or where it will be- the US, in Asia, South America, Africa- but I know the first step in that will be breaking down the walls of my tiny mind. And for that reason, I am praying to be sent.

Thank you for your reading time,

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Singing the School-sick Blues

Problem: Despite all of the lovely things that come with being home for summer- like early mornin’ hugs from parents & late night movies with brothers & cuddles from the world’s greatest golden retriever-  I’m really not adjusting well. And its been almost a month and a half.

The years of me growing up under the umbrella of their lives, my parents diligently spent training me how to have my own. College was my first real chance to step out from their umbrella and raise up my own. Under my own “umbrella” [I don’t know where it came from but I’m just going to keep rolling with this metaphor] I could walk whichever way I wanted: traipse through the woods, along the path, down by the creek, wherever. Yes indeed, I did find peace in the Lord’s direction and strove for the destinations He gave, but along my journey I was in control to pause to look around, stay awhile admiring a view, take the path with a few more puddles to splash in- my yellow galoshes creating fireworks from the still water, or maybe sight see a little here and there. Coming back home is like having to close up my umbrella, setting it down to dry, and stepping back under theirs. In some ways it’s a relief to give my arms a rest since I’m no longer the one holding it up, but, my sense of adventure blossomed while I was out on my own, and I’ve found it hard to be obliging to stick to the paths my parents aim. There’s not really an “agree on a destination and everyone meet up there but go your own route” option. Instead of picking my own path I have to follow the one they’d like to go down. Which does have some nice views, but after all the training that gave me & a decently successful pilot test out on my own, it really does feel stifling to move back to a following-happily mentality. But, it’s not my umbrella to take. It’s their life, their house, and their schedules that I’m stepping back into and that isn’t a bad thing. It’s just after having all of those things for myself whilst away, I’m too selfish to not struggle with still wanting them.

See, greatest golden ever ❤

Solution: Well, my coping mechanism before diagnosing this tension and discomfort was redecorating my room, the one place that is all, well mostly, in my control. This has actually been a help; focusing on the things that I have control over and on areas where I can build my own life off of theirs has been helpful. Also lots of prayer. For a family to work properly the members have to be a team and incredibly unselfish. I’m not there yet and that’s an area I’ve been talking with God about and trying to take steps to work on. The other things that’s helpful was taking the time to realize this is why I don’t feel at home in my home; realizing I’ve moved on and I really do have a new home back at the Grove.

Thanks for reading my musings, I hope maybe they illuminated something for you like they did for me!

Song Pairing:

 

The Real Source of a Smile

If you asked me to tell you something I enjoy doing, I would tell you I love loving people. I love making them smile and being able to surprise them and adding joy to their day. I want to be able to turn a bad day into a fab one and sprinkle enthusiasm into their life.

It has shamefully taken me until today to realize I can’t. All along I’ve been thinking that my acts of service and “trademark pep” have been helping people out. All along I’ve been thinking that that’s how I can serve God. I haven’t realized that I’ve been viewing myself as the key role in this task of cheering others, and I’m 100% not. Whenever I have a bad week I think I’m letting people down because I’m unable to help as much or share as much joy. Truth is, I can provide nothing to my friends that they need. Absolutely nothing.

If people are smiling or more cheerful when they leave my presence, it’s because the Lord shone through, not because of my personality, caring conversation, witty commentary, or whatever I flatter myself with thinking I used to help. If they leave smiling, it’s because the Lord was gracious enough to include me in on His plan to brighten their day. It’s His grace and love that will make someone’s day better; never ever will it be me.

So dearest all, please forgive my vanity and pride. I pray the Lord uses me in the future to deliver His love to you in tangible ways, but I hope we both can remember the source of all joy, love, and perfect things is our Father above.

Today in Prayer

I thought perhaps I would share my prayerful reflections of this week with y’all in the hope that they might impact you, wherever you are at. My dear friends, I love you very much.

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Lord,

Bless us as we face what feels like defeat; may we find solace in knowing no joy surpasses that of Your will. May we in time come to see how in this moment Your loving, guiding hand is steering us closer to You. May we all rejoice, not just accept but truly rejoice in Your will for us, no matter if it comes packages as we imagined.

Lord,

I praise you for all of the apparent blessings You’ve placed in our lives. Every good and perfect gift comes from You [James 1:7]. Thank You for the times You lift us on top of the mountains. May we relish in those obvious, but breathtaking views of Your glory and Your love for us. In these times may we always remember, as in all times, the sacrifice Jesus made in order for us to have this tremendous joy. And show us how to be sensitive to those in valleys even as we live unabashed in Your pure joy.

Lord,

As we give encouragement, solace, and advice to friends, may it all come from a heart synced with Yours. May all we say be drenched in love and reflect who You are and who You are to us. Help us to not injure anyone, intentionally or unintentionally, but to bless all we brush lives with (intentionally and unintentionally). May all we say be a crystal-clear road map guiding others into Your loving arms.

Lord,

May we search for Your love, Your wisdom, and Your guidance first in all circumstances. Let our initial instinct, our first thoughts, and our safe place all rest on Your capable shoulders. Help us seek out Your face when we wake, as we walk through our days, and even as we brush our teeth. May we lie down at night, our day so full of time spent with You, that Your’s is the only face we see in our dreams.

Lord,

Thank You. I love You.

 

Glory to Whom?

Today I was introduced to a magnificent creation, the Library of Congress. Let me tell you, my friends, I now believe in love at first sight. It is beyond stunning, beyond spectacular: it’s perfectly blithe and delicately charming. Today I found myself awestruck and dumfounded at the talents of man.

 

In the presence of such beauty, one often desires to know who created the splendor, but today I had to remind myself it is crucial to give the glory and praise to the One who gave those gifts to the human artists. All our art is at it’s foundation inspired by the art of the first and only original artist, Jesus. Man can create many splendid things, but it is always crucial remember every good and perfect thing comes from above, and man would be nothing without the gifts bestowed to us from Him.

 

So give praise with the beauty in both the natural and man-made world, just know man-made is code for “tried to copy God.”

Thanks for reading! Please do share your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

 

[Song Pairing: All Glory Be to Christ by Christina Falub]

 

Dappling in Dreams

When you commit to someone for life, when you marry them, you are picking your lifetime ministry partner. You are either committing to their dreams, the dreams you’ve built together, or the dreams you know the Lord will call you both to in His perfect timing. This is an incredible opportunity, it truly is. At the same time, I am realizing that now while I’m single, I also have any incredible opportunity. This stage of my life gives me the freedom to build and chip into the dreams and goals and missions of so many different people.

I do not believe  that when you are married you can’t build up other people within their callings, but with the marriage vow you take before the Lord, you are committing your ministry to the Him as a couple as your top priority.  Right now though, being under obligation to the Lord only, I get to dabble in everyone’s dream. How incredible a chance is that?!

Here at college, I’ve met umpteen individuals with sparks in their eyes for a myriad of causes. Right now, at this time, place, and in the circumstances of my life, I have been blessed with the time to support the missions these dear visionaries have. For every mission that strikes a chord with me, that moves my heart,  I get to delegate my time and resources to contribute however I want!  In my singleness, my time solely belongs to the Lord’s. The only constriction on my resources is making sure they are being used to fulfill His will. For those who are married, it is the Lord’s will is then for you to honor your spouses, and that means they your first priority when it comes to claims on your love, your support, & your time. Of course you are to spread these three items to all, but it is your duty to make sure your spouse’s cup is tended to first. I think this is a beautiful notion, and the holy way God has designed marriage to work, but until the day I am called into that stage of life, I never want my love, my support, and my time to be wasted in wait.

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“I want to lend myself as a truss to help raise up dreams.”

I want to exercise these gifts by using them to help other people in my life as they pursue Christ’s will in their lives. I want to dedicate hours to praying with them about the things they are passionate about. I want to offer my help as they endeavor to execute projects in the Lord’s name. I want to help my friends research their callings, locate where the need for their God-given gifts are the greatest, or simply help them identify those gifts. I want to lend myself as a truss to help raise dreams. I want to pour myself into their lives, their passions, and I want to do my absolute best to help them see the dreams Our Father has placed on their hearts come to maturity.

This is my prayer: Lord, for as long as I am not called specifically to one  ministry, may I contribute in one meaningful way or another to all of the personal ministries that surround me. May I incessantly seize opportunities to encourage Your people and offer a serving hand wherever one could be used. Amen.

Thanks for reading these musings. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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The Weary, Joyous Traveler

This Christmas break, I will arrive home after 14 and a half hours in the airport and on planes. [Hopefully, I’m still not home yet.] Over thanksgiving it took 22 hours to get home, but I finally arrived at two in the morning CO time and 4 am PA time. My poor parents! However let me tell you, I am currently excited and laughing. It’s so easy to get discouraged, but when I put it all in perspective, I’m doing just fine! Jesus still loves me and this life is oh so temporary. I’m learning to see these from an eternal perspective and I cannot explain how much happier it makes me.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippians 4:6 NIV

It’s come to my attention that worrying is 100% a choice. Paul doesn’t tell us to try not to worry, he tells us not to worry. Meaning, it is in fact possible to not fret. I listened at a phenomenal podcast by Timothy Ateek about this concept and I felt challenged to take this realization to heart and apply it. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d be successful. Worrying comes as easy to me as fawning over cute children; it’s not second nature- it’s first. Our culture isn’t much of a help either; so many people spend their entire lives trapped in worry and every episode of every show is based on a many problem which all the characters then proceed to worry about.  blog-airport

I think we need to take our worries, view them as temporary, and look at them as opportunities to show love.  Stuck in the airport, I had the opportunity to treat the incredibly-stressed flight attendant warmly and wish her a merry Christmas. Not anything huge, but something kind. Inversely, since I didn’t make it home last night as planned, my friend’s parents sweetly picked me up and hosted me overnight. They were so loving to me and I got a chance to know them better and show them gratitude. I’m also sure there were a million and two more opportunities that didn’t take or didn’t see too.

I would like to acknowledge that all these worries mentioned here are pretty small in comparison with the trials so many others are facing, but the same principles of looking to Jesus and trusting Him apply. If you fulling trust Him, which I definitely recommend, show it by not fearing the outcome. These circumstances weren’t ideal, but by facing them with joy and confidence in the fact I’ll get home eventually, I feel I am seizing an opportunity to honor my God.

Much obliged to you for your time; have a cheery day!

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*Insert Friend Group Name*

I have met some people of substantial quality lately and it has me reflecting on true friends. The ones who intensely debate which is the best Austen novel and who ruined the Les Mis movie more- or if it was even ruined at all. People who really value you, your opinions, and your stories, not just people who hang out with you because they’re dating your friends or have nothing else to do.

Here’re some minimal fun facts about some of them: Alisa is a hall-mate and models for my photos. Grace is incredibly sweet and would teach a logic class if she got the chance. Noah sells antiques during the summer and reads news articles non-stop. Graham is involved in 9 different clubs including serving in the freshman worship team. Maverick might join us as an Entrepreneur major and listens to Michael Buble with me. Elise is a sweetheart and a fanatic about swing dancing. Harrison plays piano beautifully and likes, “pretending to be way more homeschooler than [he] actually [is].”  Jayna is studying English and led an acapella group for the Freshman Talent Show. Cassie and I actually had chatted over this summer- she’s quite splendid- and is on debate with some of the others. Jacob listens to Hamilton, watches SNL, and read Where the Wild Things Are to us all while we were at the local ice cream shop. And they’re all highly intelligent and most importantly passionate about Jesus.

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Here’s the one terrible-quality selfie we have of some of us. I shockingly don’t have any other group photos [which I’ll have to remedy].
By the hand of the Lord, no doubt, we all ended up in a movie night together and instead of paying attention to a Knight’s Tale, we all basically chatted the night away. Enveloped in cushion and blankets with leftover Halloween candy and bags of popcorn we laughed SO hard.

All that to say: I found them. Friends of a Class A variety. It might take awhile to find people you really, really click with- but don’t settle, and always seek out new friendships. There are always other relationships to be made, and there’s always the chance they could be cut of an excellent, vibrant cloth.

I also want to say a massive thank you to these new friends. You’re the even better than the kind I prayed for.

God is good, my darling friends, and you are too kind to be reading this.

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The Comforts of Clothes

Being in this strange faraway land called Pennsylvania, I’ve found an odd amount of comfort through the things I wear.

fullsizeoutput_6f86There is a story behind almost every piece of clothing and jewelry I own. The opal earrings my mom gave me that her parents gave to her after a trip someone sent them on to New Zealand. My oversized pink sweater that belonged to, of all people, my father before me. Or another sweater of Italian wool that my grandpa used to preach in. I have a red velvet coat that I only own because my darling friends convinced me to buy it for prom on a day we all went antiquing. The 80s hammer pants my little brother and I share. The studs my older brother bought me on his trip to Idaho. There are memories of people entwined in each article of clothing that attract me to it just as much as the pattern or cut of it does.   The anecdotes in these fabrics make me closer to the people I love and miss dearly, and wearing these garments is like an embrace from those most dear.

Thusly, I’m quite thankful for the comforts of this clothing.

 

Thanks for dedicating a few moments to my ramblings 🙂Liney-ar Journey IMG_2951-0

Song Pairing: To Know You (Jesus Messiah) by Zachary Kale

Reason: It’s a really swell tune. That’s all. It doesn’t really pertain to clothes…

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