HBD, Baby J.

Whether it’s the reason you celebrate Christmas or not, the reason Christmas is even a thing is to celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ.  So I was thinking the other day, “Jesus, what do you want for your birthday?  What do I give to somebody who created the very dirt I walk on?”  Talk about giving a gift to ‘the person who has it all.’

And then THAT got me to thinking even more.  What does Jesus either not have or has willingly given up to me to choose to do with as I wish?  Jesus has willingly parted with my heart.  My heart/spirit/soul/vibes/energy/attitude is the one thing that Jesus has relinquished control over.  Could He just snatch it and take it over? Totally, He’s the God of the friggin universe.  And yet He allows me to choose to do with it what I please.

Should I give Him equality and justice for all of man kind? Jesus is the just King of Kings who works those things through me.

Should I give Him an air-tight, theologically sound argument for the case of (fill in hot button topic)? Jesus has already given His Word for me to use in conversation.

Should I give Him forgiveness for those who do harm? Jesus is the only one who offers true reconciliation that we can choose to be a part of.

Should I give Him a Southern Living decorated home and a JCrew wardrobe? Jesus is the only perfectly complete being.

Jesus doesn’t want perfection.  And that’s good, because we can’t give it to Him!!  Jesus only wants your heart.  Your messed up, grungy, hole-ridden heart.  All that other stuff is good and fine, but secondary.  My heart is the thing that I have to willingly give up to Jesus to start work on.  Let me tell ya, Jesus does WERK on people’s hearts.  Oh, the before/after stories I have heard and experienced once people returned their hearts to Jesus.  

Mark 2:17 “Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.””

For His birthday, give Jesus something broken.  He’ll regift it back to you, but it’ll be better than ever before.

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SWVA to SWUSA

I always thought I’d be a Virginia girl my whole life.  I love it here, I’ve got roots and growth here.  The dearest of friends, the most precious family.  So when it turned that I’d be an Arizona girl next year, it was hella weird.  I ain’t ever been to Arizona!!  All I know is: Grand Canyon, Santa Fe Clay (which is in New Mexico), Butch Cassidy, and cliff dwellings.  And a four-day drive.

But moving to Arizona for a year is an adventure brought by Jesus.  There is no other way I would have chosen to go there except under His motivation.  That’s how I know that my year at Lost Canyon Young Life camp is gonna be crazy and good.  Excited, terrified, intrigued, excited, freaking out. Those emotions, not necessarily in that order.

I am so grateful for this time that I have now in Salem.  If I had left any earlier, I would have been running away, but now I know that I can leave well.  It’s been cool to see how Jesus has led me back to pretty much all the things that were major parts of my time here.  He’s been reminding me of where I’ve been so I can go where He’s taking me.

“Home” to me had always been Salem, VA.  Even when I was at school, it was a familiar and place that I loved, but never with that depth that ‘home’ brings.  But as I face the leaving of my VA home with the prospect of perhaps not moving back here, I’m beginning to realize that Home is not even on Earth.  It is of my strongest belief that this world is not “it” and that God is building HIs Kingdom here NOW and will bring it to completion.  So really, Home is when and where :

No longer will violence be heard in your land,
    nor ruin or destruction within your borders,
but you will call your walls Salvation
    and your gates Praise.
19 The sun will no more be your light by day,
    nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
    and your God will be your glory.” Isaiah 60:18-19

Home is fullness and completion in God’s Kingdom.  Which can be geographically anywhere.  Home is in SWVA and SWUSA.

PS. I realized it might be easier for folks if I provided a link for donating to my time in AZ next year.  Just click on my picture, and proceed apace!  This link here!!!

To the Family of My Heart

I get to fundraise for my year at Lost Canyon.  It’s actually been a really cool learning time!  We’ve read this book “The Spirituality of Fundraising” by Henri Nouwen.  It’s awesome.  It talks about how fundraising isn’t about asking/begging for money because you don’t have it.  Fundraising is about people supporting you.  In any way! It’s about inviting people to be a part of what you’re doing.  Not everyone can go on a mission trip to a third world country, but any one can donate money, clothes, toiletries to the group going and still make a difference.

So I’ve written my support letter, made a list of people to send it to.  In the process of stuffing envelopes, I get to write a little note on the bottom of each letter.  It’s actually been really hard.  It’s hard because how do I articulate how much this family means to me in the bottom margin of a letter head?

The family friends who are no longer friends.  Just family.

The friends who love me and know me in my brightest and my darkest.

Those who have taught me more about the world and how to love it more than they realize.

The dear ones who have walked with me (and sometimes pushed me) through the refining fires of new and hard things.

Those who can say, “I’ve been there.  It sucked.  But you come out the other side.”

It seems silly to ask the people to “come alongside me in this new adventure”.  It’s as if they weren’t already there.  So I guess I should say this; “Dearest friend, please keep coming with me in this life.  Because by your companionship in it, I and others have learned and seen love.”

Up to Speed

It is funny/embarrassing to look back at previous posts on this page.  Thought about deleting them, but hey, that’s who I was and what I was going through.

Since summer 2k13 these things have happened. Junior year: by far the hardest, most tear filled year of school.  Summer 2k14: was bakery intern at Young Life’s Saranac Village camp; changed my life so hard.  Senior year: THE BEST.  Graduated and moved home: hard and good. Worked in a bakery: hard and good. More on some of these later, probably.

In this moment: been sitting in Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea so long my latte is room temp and I have listened to The Oh Hello’s new album twice.  Still living at home and loving it.  Working at Mac and Bob’s as a hostess and it’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had, frankly.  I am a part of my home church and a new church and a part of and leading a Bible study.  Friends new and old.  Life new and old.

Speaking of new life.  I am moving to Arizona for (at least) a year to be a part of the year-long intern team at Young Life’s Lost Canyon camp!!! So excited and nervous and terrified and excited! I cannot wait for that time to come.  I’m excited for the opportunity to learn more about what full-time camp staff looks like and to learn how to live life out in SWUSA. I really hope I turn into a cowgirl. Or a cattle wrangler.  And I have a few ideas of what will happen after that, but I don’t actually know.  Much more on this later. Probs tomorrow. Or the next day.  Soon.

God is good.  And a little crazy-town.  He is the ultimate in safe crazy activities.  It may not seem safe or sane or expected; like moving across the country to work at a camp that you had honestly kind of forgotten that you had applied to.  But He is a full God that invites me and you into a full life.  Full of safety, adventure, love, hurt, friends, loneliness, grand slams and face plants.  Pour one out for the God of the universe.

“I know who you are now. I have always known you.  I know who I am now. And all that you’ve made of me.” — The Oh Hello’s ‘Dear Wormwood’

Winding Down

It’s been good.  It’s been a good summer.  

Abba has created me tenderly and gently to be who I am.  I’m just one part of the greater body of Christ.  One niche in the kingdom.  Built for a purpose and role that onlyI can preform.  A time and a place.  In front or behind the scenes.

We went to a music festival a couple weekends ago called FloydFest down in Floyd, VA.  It’s always a killer time.  It’s also always a raucous party.  At first, going into it, I thought to myself, “Sweet. Gonna be the only sober one all weekend.”  But then I remembered Isaiah 61:3 “bestow on them… a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”  My definition is not ‘the straight-laced, Christian friend.’  My definition is ‘child of the King.’  Made it a lot easier to cut loose a little and dance my butt off to John Butler Trio.  One of my friends remarked, after offering me some moonshine, “You’re Ruthiey. You don’t need alcohol to have fun.” True dat, sister.

Academic life update:  returning to William and Mary.  God got me here.  By His power I’m gonna stay here.  BUT. Gonna change to a 3D art major. Why? Because I want to, daggumit.  It’s more fun. I could still teach.  But what I really wanna do is go to culinary school.  YoungLife camp staff? 

Mark 10:49 “And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they (the disciples) called the blind man, saying to him, “Cheer up! Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.”

My favorite prayer lately has been, “God I pray that I wake up a different person.  Someone more who you created me to be.”  And everyday, I get a little closer.

 

P.S. Gonna be 21 in 2 weeks. Opened, by myself, my own savings account today.  Big girl pants on.

35 Quotes For Introverts

Thought Catalog

“I’ll be honest with you, I’m a little bit of a loner. It’s been a big part of my maturing process to learn to allow people to support me. I tend to be very self-reliant and private. And I have this history of wanting to work things out on my own and protect people from what’s going on with me.” Kerry Washington
“Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.” Susan Cain
“When introverts go to church, we crave sanctuary…

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A Brief Update

It’s been a long time, my friends. Things I’ve been learning…

1) BE SHAMELESS.  This is something I’m trying to do better.  Being shameless in who God is creating me to be, what He’s doing in my life, and my love for Him. This includes being more honest.  No reason to beat around the bush if it’s true.  Haters gonna hate, bro.  Bring it on. God of angel armies by my side.

2) School is not that big of a deal in my life right now.  Yeah, I know that you basically can’t do anything without a college degree and I’ll get one in time.  Maybe in the next two years, maybe in the next 4 years.  William and Mary is cool and all, but it’s not the end all be all.  Community college would be just as fine for me.

3) I’m scared.  Of so many things.  Real things and slightly silly things.  Calling the boss.  The dog dying while I’m house-sitting.  Leading people on.  Picking the wrong path.  Not hearing God right.  Letting people down.  Failing.  woof. barf. the worst. hate it.

3.5) Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  Mark 10:49 “…And they (the disciples) called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Cheer up! Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.'” It’s gonna be okay.

4) GOD LOVES ME.  plus and minus nothing.  It doesn’t matter how well I do. It doesn’t matter how much I suffer for righteousness’ sake.  How many kids go to camp, how many cups of coffee I survive off of compared to other leaders, what college I graduate from, how many steps it takes to get there.  He loves me. AS I AM. plus nothing minus nothing.