Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Good Riddance. (I didn't have the time of my life.)

So this is the week when bloggers post their end of year recap posts. What they loved and hated about the year, what they're looking forward to in the coming year.

I don't even know where to start.

2011 was...interesting.

Let's examine the pros and cons, shall we? Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

You want the good news first, don't you? Yep.

Pros of 2011
  • I discovered Spotify. Seriously, if you aren't using Spotify yet, I feel sad for you.
  • We all discovered that I can be really judgmental, via my short-lived blog series "Why Wednesday." It has it's own tab up top. Wait...maybe this should be on the "cons" list...
  • We also discovered that occasionally I can write good fiction. I posted some here, which you can find on the tab up there labeled "Stuff I Made Up."
  • I learned that I will never be able to understand just how deep and endless God's love for me is. 
  • Sometimes God leads us into the desert, to teach us things, to get us to rely on him. (This feels like a bad thing to me, but I know that it really is good, in the end.)
  • I attempted NaNoWriMo. I failed, but I still tried!
  • I got hired at Starbucks! That green apron is an instant "cool" stamp. 
  • I became an aunt again, and a great-aunt for the first time! That makes a grand total of 7 nieces, 1 nephew and 1 great-nephew!
Cons of 2011
  • I decided I don't want to be living in Branson anymore.
  • Next month means I've been living here for two years.
  • My grandfather died last May, of cancer. I still miss him so much.
  •  I have NO IDEA what I'm supposed to do next. I feel pretty lost right now.
  • This cons list is short. 

It doesn't feel like 2011 had more pros than cons. I'm just done with it. I'm nervous about what the future will hold, but I want it to get here. Pronto. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

This is my token Christmas post.

If you know me, you know that when it comes to Christmas, I'm somewhat of a. . . Grinch, a humbug, an Ebenezer Scrooge. I'm one of those people that hates how commercialized Christmas has become, that could probably do without a Christmas tree, that really  only likes traditional Christian Christmas carols, that cringes when too many Christmas songs in a row play at work.

The truth is, I like to hold Christmas inside me. I like to ponder it silently, sitting in my comfy chair at home, with a cup of hot cocoa and my bible, marveling over the fact that God came to us in the form of a tiny, helpless baby.

 But there is one traditional secular Christmas song that gets me every time. It tugs on my heart, and most of the time I have to fight back tears. (It's not "Let it Snow." Just listen to it.)

If you skipped the song, go back and listen. I'll wait.

Now, everyone on the same page? Great.

Yep. "I'll Be Home for Christmas." Not necessarily by Michael Bublé, but by pretty much anyone.

I get a pain in my chest, like something's grabbed hold of my heart and won't let go. My eyes begin to tear up, and feel this insatiable longing in me. 

I want to be home. 

Logically it doesn't make sense, I know. My parents no longer live in the house I grew up in. I've been living in Branson for almost two years. It should be home. But it isn't. It's merely the place I live, the place I work during the day, and sleep at night. 

It's kind of like the concept of missing someone you haven't met yet. It might seem silly, but there are those of us who have this longing inside of us. We long to meet those we haven't encountered yet. We long for a home we haven't found yet. 

We long to experience the great things that God has in store for us. 

I listen to this song, and I long for all those things. I long for that feeling of home, I long for God's plan for me. 

But then I get afraid.

I begin to fear that those things will never come. That my entire life will be stuck in this in-between time I'm in. 

But I just have to trust in God. Trust that He'll lead me.  

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
-Jeremiah 29:11-13

Someday, I'll be home. Someday I'll do all those great things that God has planned for me. Someday.

But until then, 

I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Spring Always Comes After

I went hiking on Sunday morning. No, I didn't go to church. Yes, I'm a bad little Christian. Whatever.

This is what it looked like:

That's what winter in Branson looks like so far.

Cold, empty, barren.

And I still thought it was beautiful. Sure, it wasn't green and beautiful like it was this summer, or even red and gold like in the fall, or the pure whiteness of fresh snow.

 And do you know why it was so beautiful?

Because the beauty of winter is that spring always comes after. God always restores new life, new green trees and plants.

The same proves true with life. Your life may seem cold, empty, and barren. But spring always comes after.

Trust in God. It may seem like He's leading you into the forest in winter, but He always has your back. He's got great things in store for you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

For my friends who are hurting...

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on your side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to your God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; your best, your heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul; your God will undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul; though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in this vale of tears;
Then you will better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe your sorrows and your fears.
Be still, my soul; your Jesus can repay
From his own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

-Be Still, My Soul, LSB 752

I know this seems like I'm saying that everything is okay as long as we have Jesus, that it's just that easy. I know that it's not just that easy. It's not fair, what happened, and it sucks. I know that. There aren't enough words to describe the wrongness of this, how against the natural order this all seems. But Jesus can bring comfort. I pray that you know God's peace and love in this difficult time.