Tuesday, November 18, 2014

grace upon grace

 

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I have been told that I am a writer.

I started writing stories when I was ten years old—about the same time I started journaling every day, jotting down silly details about a very ordinary ten-year-old life. I’m twenty now, and every day of the past ten years has been recorded by my pen.

But you have often read my laments that I just can’t find any words. That there is nothing inside of me to say. I called it writer’s block and I called it lack of inspiration and I eventually just denied the idea that I was ever meant to be a writer.

I was quite wrong.

On Sunday, November 9, I sat in church listening to a sermon about grace. For the first few minutes I let my mind wander—I know grace, I thought smugly. I don’t need to hear this. But as Pastor Karl went on, it occurred to me that my mindset alone proved that I was indeed in desperate, dire need of grace.

Grace is called God’s indescribable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15). Grace is God’s favor toward me when I do not in any way deserve it. Grace is the Holy One letting Someone else volunteer to take my death penalty. Grace is every breath that I take and every day I wake up with health and vitality.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.        - John 1:14, 16

And sitting there listening to Pastor Karl say again what I have heard a thousand times throughout a lifetime of churchgoing, but this time finally letting the words penetrate my hard heart, I felt again this almost foreign urge… to write.

Since then, I’ve been writing an average of two hours a day. It’s not a story, but rather an exploration of some key biblical truths about a topic I feel very strongly about: the biblical functioning of the church body. Maybe it will be a very long essay; maybe it will be a book. I don’t know. But it startles me how easily the words come when at the forefront is not a self-oriented goal to write something amazing, but a gazed fixed with awe on the nature of the God who inspires every word.

Friday, November 7, 2014

dry

 

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Though rain pours down every day outside my window, it’s been a long dry spell for words in my heart. I want to write, but it’s just easier not to spend those hours, discouraged, staring at the blank page. It’s easier to decide “to heck with it all” and pretend I never was and never wanted to be a writer. Words come few and hard, with jagged edges like broken glass. They make me stare myself in the eyes and read a mile of silent stories and wonder if anything I’ve done in this short life so far has meant anything bigger than myself.

Because I want it to. I want it all to mean something. I want them to be able to write on my gravestone, “She invested herself in what she knew could change the world.”

… I want Him to be able to say “Well done.”

Thursday, October 30, 2014

goals (revisited)

 

About two and a half months ago, I posted a few of my goals for the rest of this year. I’m a little nervous to go look at them again because I’m pretty sure none are fully accomplished, but several are in progress and sometimes I think that matters more.

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So here goes.

fitness

  • build the upper body strength to do pullups and handstands

Okay…. I still can’t do a pullup or a very good handstand. But I can do more pushups than ever before, a pretty solid headstand, and a better cartwheel than ever. And I’ve started practicing a pullover on the bars at the gym where I work, which uses a lot of the same muscles as a pullup would.

  • consistently run at least 5 miles a week

This has taken awhile (mostly out of lack of motivation), but this week already I’ve run half my 5-mile quota, and I’m about to head out and do it again. :) The running itself is really a piece of cake… it’s the getting out the door that’s hard!

  • cut my sugar intake

Haha! I knew this one would be good for a laugh down the road.

  • actually eat like a normal human being so I don’t feel so awful all the time

Here I have had some success! I’ve taken up eating breakfast before working out in the morning, and that has done great things for my strength and stamina. Headaches have fortunately been few and far between. :)

    business

  • create a 2015 photography package and pricing list that is a good fit for my business model

I am accomplishing this as we speak by taking an amazing photo business marketing class online. I’ve already learned more than I ever thought possible in five weeks, and have been carefully crafting a new business model for 2015. :)

  • blog my first Olympia senior portrait session

Done and done well, if I may say so. :)

  • finish my New York Institute of Photography course

This one has been very, very slow. I have a few projects that require very specific models and props that have been hard to come by. Anybody know where I can find a wide-brimmed hat at this time of year? I’m talking like Kentucky Derby wide-brimmed!

    spirituality

  • become less self-sufficient and make a point of seeking out community with other believers and my husband

Sam and I have started going to a really great homegroup for young married people at our church, which has helped this area of my life a lot. I’ve made some new friends and gotten more involved with my new church, and I love it!

  • do an in-depth study of the Biblical timeline of end-times events

I did get my timeline out the other day and cross-referenced everything, but I’m still very confused on one key issue despite poring over commentaries as well as my Bible. Hopefully I’ll reach a conclusion sometime soon.

  • find a role of Bible teaching and disciple-making in my local church—even if it’s informal

Still thinking and praying a lot about this.

  • live with open hands

This will probably be on my goal list for as long as I live. It’s not so much a “new year’s resolution” kind of goal as it is a daily goal, an hourly choice to let go of this illusion of control. But God is patient and good, always.

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