Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cinderella Mornings

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to waste time? 

I've done some productive things today, but I'll be honest, I haven't accomplished much. I'm WAY too overwhelmed by my task list! All I want to do is snuggle my puppy, eat chocolate cake, and watch re-runs of The Carol Burnett Show.

I call mornings like these "Cinderella mornings." 

You can probably relate--those mornings where you look at your to-do list and become increasingly overwhelmed and then become paralyzed by the tasks before you. And then you start daydreaming, because, let's face it, any state of mind is better than the reality you're facing now, right?

I bet you anything Cinderella was like that (yes, I know she's fictional, stay with me). She'd wake up early in the morning, go about her morning routine, deal with her cranky family members, and get started on a to-do list as high as the ceiling in the house...and by the way, Cinderella will be cleaning every inch of it later on! Yet every now and then, when she had the opportunity, she'd stare and daydream about the castle out her window. "Will I ever get out of this?" she thought. "Will I ever see the day where I'll get to spend just an hour in that castle?"

That's when I think about heaven.

It's that place that we think about all the time.

"What will it be like after I leave the world? Will I have arrows that shoot hearts? Will I have wings and play the harp all day on a ceiling?" (Apparently today's theme is ceilings...) No!

Heaven is that place we've always dreamed of living in. It's the most perfect place there is. I think of heaven as the place where everyone gets to sing together in front of God (kind of like church worship service but you can actually SEE God right there!). It might have a small pasture with a summer breeze and cherry trees, and unlimited access to a library with billions and billions of books (happy, thought-provoking, beautiful books). 

And time with God, lots of awesome, precious, endless time with God. La la la... :) <3

And then I think about the evenings in heaven (that is, of course, if heaven has an evening). I've heard that in some cultures in the world, almost every night for family dinner, someone cooks a fabulous meal and everyone eats and talks about anything and everything for hours...and hours...and hours, on a rooftop, surrounded by growing, fresh, colorful vegetables in the night air. I think evenings in heaven will be like that. People spending time with one another in the most beautiful place imaginable, telling stories, sharing thoughts and memories, and getting to know God more, being completely unified with Him.


Yup. That sounds way better than making vocabulary flash cards and studying for tests, but I can still have joy doing those things knowing that I won't be doing them forever! In the meantime, I'm setting aside that time for chocolate cake and t.v. re-runs. :)

"Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created." James 1:16-18 (NIV)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Welcome, 2015

Today I'm still reflecting on 2014. I know I should have done that yesterday, but I don't think it's ever too late to reflect.

Here's what I learned in 2014:

  • I learned to be more responsible. It's okay that I'm becoming an adult--adulthood is HARDDD, but it's beautiful. Have I mentioned that I'll be eighteen in only 6 days? (See this post for more about what I learned in becoming an adult.)
  • I learned to forgive and to love. I know that these sound like easy things to pick up, but I realized this year that I had no idea how DIFFICULT it is to really love the people around you, and to forgive the people who have affected your life for the worse, big or small. I also learned how to love and forgive myself, which I had to do before I ever accomplished this with anyone else. I learned that I was a little worse for wear, that I still had a lot of hurt that God's been trying to walk me through, and that if anyone is worthy of listening to for opinions and advice, it's definitely God. He taught me how much worth I have and that it's not about who I have been before or how other people around me have done things that hurt. I'm defined by who I am in God's eyes alone and how I interact with Him.
  • I learned how to be honest about who I am. I learned that even though I'm a messy human being, it's okay to embrace that messiness. I can do hard things. I can make the right decisions. I can do as I ought. I can do my best without worrying how I'm going to be judged by others. All of these things in the end glorify God, and I was never expected to be without mistakes in the first place. When God said "Be perfect as I am perfect" I believe that he wanted us to do our best. To give our 100%. Just show up. Pray. Love. Forgive. Rest, knowing that you gave it your all and asked God to make up for what you inevitably lacked. Ask for his forgiveness (and don't forget to forgive yourself) in the ways that you will inevitably mess up. Ask God to help you learn, help you forgive, and ask Him to still love you and forgive you. That's perfection. It's knowing that because of God's grace, we are able to be His children who do as we ought. "All beautiful you are my darling, there is no flaw in you." We're flawless because we're His children who have accepted Him. (See this post for more about what I learned in being honest.)

Maybe the reason why I keep looking back on 2014 is because it was kind of a train wreck that I can't look away from. 2014 was probably one of the hardest, yet most beautiful years of my life. It really demonstrated what it means for God to make beautiful things out of the ugliest of messes. 2014 was that disastrous train wreck that showed the ways where I was weak, but it also showed me the ways in which God is strong...and beautiful and wise and perfect and loving. And it showed that He can make me all those things too.


Welcome, 2015. Maybe you're an oncoming, ugly and beautiful train wreck just like 2014. But maybe you're a Christmas present that I wasn't expecting. Maybe you're like a giant fortune cookie that gives me a ton of advice or encouragement that I need. Maybe you're like a roadmap that will show me where I need to be going and the steps that I need to take to get there. And maybe you're a travel guide that shows me just how beautiful each of those places on the map really are if I decide to see them in person.

Dear God, 
I pray that 2015 is like all of these things. I know that I'll have a few train wrecks, but will you help me learn from them? Maybe it'll be like spring, where all of the flowers are ruined by pounds of snow from winter and they'll grow again when the sun warms the ground. 
Will you give me fortune cookies that have encouragement and wisdom and gentle reminders--and yes, even hard, painful, killer reminders? 
Will you be my roadmap--a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path--guiding me where I need to go and the steps I need to take to get there? Will you also be my travel guide and point out the ways in which this life is so beautiful and breathtaking, which I often forget to appreciate? 
2015 is no longer the future. It's the present. And you, O Lord, are the hope for the future. A gift full of bright beginnings with grace and love.
I'm ready for another year, only because you're here to help me through it--just like you were always here to help me through the last one.
Just one more question before we go. Am I still young enough for you to hold my hand?