God's covenant with David

Monday, September 27, 2010

Psalm 89:1-18 (NRSV)

I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever;
with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
I declare that your steadfast love is established forever;
your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.

You said, "I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to my servant David:
'I will establish your descendants forever,
and build your throne for all generations.'"

Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?
Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord,
a God feared in the council of the holy ones,
great and awesome above all that are around him?
O Lord God of hosts,
who is as mighty as you, O Lord?
Your faithfulness surrounds you.
You rule the raging of the sea;
when its waves rise, you still them.
You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
The heavens are yours, the earth also is yours;
the world and all that is in it - you have founded them.
The north and the south - you created them;
Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
You have a mighty arm;
strong is your hand, high your right hand.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
Happy are the people who know the festal shout,
who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance;
they exult in your name all day long,
and extol your righteousness.
For you are the glory of their strength;
by your favor our horn is exalted.
For our shield belongs to the Lord,
our king to the Holy One of Israel.

You're caught up in the fight of your life

Friday, September 24, 2010

I can't shake the feeling. I am wracked with guilt and I don't know if it is justified or not. I feel like I am giving up on God. I know in reality I am only giving up on a profession or vocation and even then it doesn't have to be a permanent cessation. I know that I was only called specifically to go to seminary and there was no time stamp attached to the proposition. I know all of this. Yet I still feel guilty. I spent years of my life, YEARS, thinking that I was going to be going to seminary, I switched my plans from art in a heartbeat, there was no second-guessing or doubt. It was what it was and I was going to do it. That's what I was told to do, and I had no problem doing it.

Until people started to get involved. People can ruin everything. There. I said it. People make simple things infinitely more complicated than they need to be. All of the sudden people who had no problem with me up until this point seemed to have every problem in the world with me and what I was doing. My call had more implications than I could imagine. My thoughts of going to seminary, let alone being a pastor, shook people to their core. It made friendships more difficult and alienated people from me and I from them. The second half of my high school career was not easy. I came to blows more than once with people who couldn't see why I wanted to preach and teach the word of God to people in a pastoral setting. Some people made it clear that if I wanted to do that in a Sunday school setting or be a missionary that would be fine, but Heaven forbid it would be in a church. From a pulpit. Wearing a robe. Teaching grown-ups... men. SHOCKING!

Yes, I'm railing on, I know. But it's my blog. I'm allowed to. But the point really is that I put my heart and soul- literally- into this aspiration. And I did it because God told me to. I'm not making this up. Why would I make something up that became so gut-wrenching it hurt some days? I don't mean to diminish the valiant efforts of those who did support me. I am sorry if I am coming off that way. However, I think we can all relate to the thought, right or wrong, that sometimes a lot of bad can seem to overshadow a lot of good. I know I too often focus on the bad things. I am sorry for that.

My guilt comes from the feeling that I fought for naught. I said that women can do anything in ministry. I said that I was going to do it, regardless of what they all thought or believed. So what am I thinking? I feel guilty, guilty, guilty that I'm leaving it all behind. I guess I'm also too focused (I realize as I am writing this) on the thought that I was supposed to fight that fight for me, but more so for all of the other women who were going through the same thing, maybe those who needed more strength than just they could provide for themselves. I'm not delusional enough to think that it's easy or that I could have done it on my own had I continued on the seminary track. There's no way. My fight was bigger than me.

I'm not giving up or conceding to the other side. My position remains as it always was: women can go into the ministry and they belong in seminary. Just because I'm not going doesn't mean that I've somehow reverted to antiquated thinking. God sometimes has other plans, as I well know. Maybe that was a short-term battle, but perhaps it was preparing me for a bigger one. In either case, I now know how to fight for what you believe is right... and you can never be to young to learn that lesson.

The Life of Pi

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm reading Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I've hardly gotten through a quarter of it, but the book is extremely well-written. This is one of my favorite passages so far. I'm not sure about how copyrights work, but it's copyrighted 2001, Harcourt Books, page 28. "I'll be honest about it. It is not atheists who get stuck in my craw, but agnostics. Doubt is useful for a while. We must all pass through the garden of Gethsemane. If Christ played with doubt, so must we. If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, 'My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?' then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation."

Initial passions

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I've changed my mind. Again. This time, I am reverting back to something I've always wanted to do. When I was in elementary school and middle school, I wanted to be an art teacher. Art was always my favorite subject (other than Social Studies or History, but that's another story for another time) and I could think of nothing better to do than to become an artist or an art teacher. I guess I had somewhere in the back of my mind, lofty notions of bringing art to everyone and hoping that they would enjoy doing art as much as I did. I think I would enjoy elementary school art most of all, but I think I could enjoy middle school art as well. I like the idea of tying in art history (which I love) with projects that students can do. The fact that my schedule would be a regular monday through friday job, with weekends off and school holidays is a bonus. Who wouldn't want that? It would be an exceptional schedule for me. Yes, I know being a teacher wouldn't be all fun; I'm a realist. I know there are endless amounts of lesson plans- multiple ones for an art teacher because you teach many classes and grades at once and parents and certifications and student teaching and all kinds of hard things to go through. But I think it could be very rewarding.

It's weird though. When I got the call to go to seminary in 10th grade, I abandoned my dreams of becoming an art teacher or an art historian and fully committed myself to going on the track to seminary. And I was okay with that. It wasn't as if I felt coerced into leaving it behind and following something new. But I feel like I am leaving that behind to go to school and study something other than religion. That seems strange to me. But I think I have to realize that sometimes God calls us to more than one direction and perhaps sometimes a call isn't canceled, but rather put on hold to accomplish something else. Now I'm just left to discern whether or not that is the case here. Am I meant to be an art teacher or a pastor? Or both?

The Happy Wall

Friday, September 17, 2010

When I was a second-semester freshman in college I went through a really tough time: some of my family members were battling serious illnesses, I got sick a lot, and I was struggling with school and depression. So my No.1 Natalie devised a plan to make me remember all of the good things in life; all of the reasons I could get up in the morning and smile. We put them all over the wall beside my bed. The happy wall was born with a sharpie and a huge block of post-it notes (always use the super-sticky kind they make, that way they'll stay). It's been re-born in various bedrooms and apartments and dorm rooms since it's original conception in 2008. Here are some things that go on my happy wall.

Love; Stars; Sweaters; Project Runway; Family; Religion; Picnics; Bouncy Balls; Charleston; Hugs; Food; God; Music; Tie Dye; Good Books; People with passion; Body pillows; Architecture; Movies; Mountains; Painting; Quotes; Odd Facts; Bumper stickers; Chickadees; Popsicles; Smoothies; Peace; Babies; Irish Wolfhounds; Bulls Island; My Big; Old People Holding Hands; Change; Water: Deamers; The Olympics; Kappa Delta; Mail; Orchids; Clean sheets; Beards; The zoo; People helping other people; Party in a box!; Dinosaurs; Sisters; Stickers; Bacon; My friends; Climbing trees; Red tailed hawks; Scarves; Le Petit Prince; National Geographic; Sunflowers; Coloring; Medicine that works; Windows; Traveling; The Man Wall; Sushi; Trying new things; History; Art

What's on yours?

Confidence No. 89

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Normally I wait for inspiration to strike to write something, but I can't seem to decide if I've been uninspired or just slack or afraid to write. I think it is probably the last one. Lately I've been afraid of myself and I've been letting that spread to other people. I'll take the blame for that. Let me explain. There's a book called "Captivating" by John and Staci Eldridge (which I may have talked about before). In that book they talk about women feeling "too much" and "not enough." I'm too emotional and not confident enough. I'm too much to handle and not pretty enough. There could be a million different combinations. I've been struggling with the "too much" side of things. I am always feeling like I am too much. The problem is, people will sometimes re-enforce those perceptions. I've been cowering behind the things I am afraid of being (emotional, weak) and I've been afraid to be myself. I can't seem to separate the bad things from ME. I've talked about confidence in this blog a lot, but I know that it is a constant challenge, not something I can assert once or twice. I need to remember that I am me, a tall ginger who likes to mail things, bake (on my own terms), eat cheese, watch movies, read, color, and write. I can be happy and strong, I can love fiercely, be loyal, and conquer misconceptions. I am all of these things and more. I am all of these GOOD things. I'm going to stop taking nonsense from other people about my shortcomings or otherwise and most of all, I'm going to stop taking it from myself.

Giving up everything to gain everything

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Matthew 10:34-42 (NRSV)
The cost of discipleship

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one's foes will be members of one's own household.

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple - truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward."