If A Tree Falls Down… Am I Still A Hippie?

This blog is brought to you today by the letter ‘P’ and by conversations with Krysia.

Hillsong College and Church is as inspiring as it is challenging. My faith has been polished and solidified in many ways, one of which is my belief in creation and heaven. This week my goal for writing was to order my thoughts enough to explain some things that are dear to me and invite you to share your thoughts as well.

I find several of our favorite verses to quote from the Bible are often the beginning of beautiful passages that we remove from their context; not always, but sometimes we do; and sometimes we miss the point.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18 (Such a pretty verse, often quoted to make you feel good about life when you’re going through crappy times)

But then we look a little further down…

“For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.” Romans 8:19-21 (NIV)

To this passage my friend posed the question, ‘what does it mean for creation to wait for G-d’s children to be revealed? Is creation waiting on US, do the trees know more than we do?’ (ish). I responded instantly but I don’t think I knew what I was talking about until half way through what I was saying. I told her that I think it means creation itself knows who the worshippers are and when they will be born. I think some foliage might be waiting for the right photographer to be born so that it can start growing because it knows at some point they will collide and together create an image that will draw multitudes to worship. I think some birds hum specific songs in worship to G-d in front of specific people, songwriters, who will notice and translate it to human terms. I think heaven is a lot closer than we think. We know that we will worship fully there – but maybe creation has already figured out how to worship fully HERE.

“All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah” Psalms 66:4 (ESV)

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” Psalms 19:1 (ESV)

In Teamnight Thursday we saw images of snow being blown over the road by the wind. The question asked to US is, do we dance when no one is watching? The snow dances across the road and I can’t help but believe it is in praise to the One who created it uniquely, and not for a show for man but for G-d alone, not for instagram. Nature in many different forms has found it way to praise G-d.

If a tree falls down in the forest and no one is around to hear it, is it still worship?

Have WE dulled down the cries of creation to a human sound? When a tree falls is it because it is so moved at what G-d is doing in the earth that it has to bow before Him? An avalanche is nothing more to us than the sound of a mountain shifting and snow falling at 200 miles per hour (320KM) but is that really just the way the snow knows how to cry out?

I’ve always veered more towards the side of being a hippie and I know that… but something inside me likes to believe that just maybe heaven isn’t this far off place in the clouds but possibly it looks more like a redeemed earth. Maybe heaven looks like US joining with an ALREADY CONSISTENTLY PRAISING creation to be with G-d and give Him all the praise He deserves.

What does a redeemed earth look like? What is dirt when it is no longer dirty?

It’s soil.

I believe we are here now in this beautiful place to get glimpses into what an environment of praise could look like. Next time you get woken up by a bird singing or get annoyed at how hard it’s raining stop and think about the last time you were moved to sing or overflow with what is inside of you. What if all the dirt on the earth was redeemed – and became soil – and we saw life all over the earth?

This is open to opinions obviously, this isn’t theology just thoughts. I’m a tree hugger of sorts and I feel like that is clearly reflected here.
I just figure if the Bible tells me that creation is waiting on me for something – I might as well be aware of it.

 

As We Tarry There

((Maybe don’t read this one at work, or maybe grab a tissue.


It’s really hard for me sometimes to say that I miss my grandparents, when I don’t honestly remember that much about them. My grandma (on my mothers side) died when I was about 4 or maybe 5 years old. I remember that she was heavy set and soft. She had white hair and my own mother has the frame of her hands, they’re rounded and not harsh. They are soft and always in need of physical contact to show love. I have those same rounded hands too; my fingers and features are soft. So while I can’t say that I miss her because I don’t remember much about her I do know her. I remember her Bible being filled with so many highlighted and written in words that it was like 17 devotionals in one. This is a part of my heritage. I remember that when she died I cried because I saw my cousin Ricky crying, and I knew that something bad was happening if he (in my eyes at the time a ‘big kid’) was crying. I remember Precious Moments coloring books at the hospital. I remember telling my brother that I was sad and I wanted to see her again, he told me that if I wanted to see her I would need to go to heaven. He brought me to my mom and I got saved that day (so that I could see Mee-Maw again).

So although I don’t remember her well – I know that she knows me and I know that she has molded my life without being in it.

My grandfather died when I was 10, I remember a little more about him. I remember him eating Ritz crackers with peanut butter on them every time I was over at his house. I remember that he would tickle you until you shrieked and then act like he was going to let you get away but as you ran his arms would catch you and pull you close again. I remember his big funny glasses that now remind me of the guy from Up (or a hipster). I remember his skin being terribly thin and me being afraid of hurting him when I hugged him later on in his life. I remember mom waking me up the day after a celebration ceremony I was a part of for having read the entire bible and memorized a zillion scriptures (seriously a zillion) and maybe learnt how to build a fire? It was pretty much girl scouts for Christians. She woke me up to tell me we were off to Georgia because my grandfather had passed away. I remember his favorite song was In The Garden. A few of the cousins, my mom and myself sang it at his funeral and THAT I can never forget – I can never forget this song.

I may have not known much about my grandpa but I do know that he had a heart to be with the Lord, he was good at sitting with Him.

I don’t remember much about my grandparents, but I do know them.

memawThey’ve been apart of molding who I am since way before I was conceived. I’m so thankful for my heritage that has since passed on and I’m thankful for my grandparents who are still with me.

I love my Grandma Cheri (dads side) more that I could ever explain and I hold part of her personality with me always. I know that without her realizing she has an inflection in her voice when she speaks and emphasizes different syllables. And I know that she has already forgotten how to log in to her Facebook. My love of dogs comes from her and I’m fully convinced that as soon as I can, I won’t be able to keep away from having those lovely fur-babies in my home. I do things that she does without even realizing they probably came from her, like mass cooking awesome food and loving to decorate cakes. We enjoy sushi and being feisty and stubborn as.

But, G-d reminded me of this song this week, as I’ve been so focused on what’s coming this year, what is the next thing I have to do I’ve forgotten too quickly how to tarry with G-d.

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

Refrain:
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

To tarry is to stay longer than you intended, or delay leaving a place.

Time spent with G-d cannot come back void and you can never be there ‘too long’. Life happens all around you and all around the world without you, the worries and tasks will be there after the morning and after you’ve sat with the Saviour.

He walks with me. He talks with me. He tells me I am His own.

Lately my prayer has been that G-d would restore to me the joy of salvation. I’m not unhappy, but I want more joy. I want more peace regardless of circumstance and joy that is simply based on what Christ has already done by saving me. No greater joy have I found than to sit and be in His presence and have Him tell me that I AM HIS OWN.

And the JOY we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.

Although I didn’t know my grandparents enough to ‘miss them’ as much as my older family members – I do know my Saviour, and sometimes I just miss tarrying with Him.

Sometimes you need extravagant moments with Jesus. Sometimes you just need to sit and hear Him calling you His own. Sit and listen to the melodies He is singing over you, let it echo through your being. Learn to seek Him and find the characteristics you have learned from Him that you might not realize are in you.

We truly come by them honestly.

I Don’t Believe In Fear

 

Story Time With Laina at it’s finest.

Some tunes to read to

I’m on top of the world today, and by that I mean I swam under the world with giant sea turtles, massive stingrays and sharks ranging from 1-3 meters long. I couldn’t have been more excited unless you told me I had a dinosaur of my own.

We showed up and got (wet) suited up and were taken to a small pool where two turtles had already come by to say hello and make sure we were fully trained with our underwater breathing gear. We got in the pool and one by one were strapped in with an oxygen tank and handed a mouthpiece to start breathing through. I was given a mask that looked less than flattering on my partially Native American cheekbones and told it was time to start breathing underwater. We were told to put our faces under the water and keep our ears where we could hear them for the next bit of instructions.

Breathe Normally.

Breathe in and out of your mouth. I know that sounds simple for some of you obnoxious mouth breathers currently walking around the earth, but for me, trusting that I wouldn’t die if I tried to breathe in through my nose accidently was terrifying. I actually was given to a second instructor to walk me through one on one and talk through everything. She assured me of the facts that I already knew; that the mask wouldn’t fall off, that the oxygen tank had more than enough for our dive, that my natural survival instincts will take over and in the aquarium tank I wouldn’t even think about how I was breathing but my body in fact, would breathe.

Take deep breaths… 1, 2, 3, in… 1, 2, 3, out

The instructors made their way through the little manhole from the pool to the aquarium with the fish, turtles, rays and sharks and the other 3 people I was diving with went through. Right before the person in front of me swam into a 30-minute adventure – I got on my knees and tried to practice not dying underwater. I instantly wanted to give up. Then realizing everyone was already through my only option was to leave alone or fight fear.

Fun fact about me… I LOVE SHARKS.

For me, getting in a tank with jagged-toothed, 10.5 foot, and 350 lbs. beauties was easy. But trusting in what I was given to get there was hard. Sometimes fear comes not from what is ahead but from the equipment you have to move ahead. Sometimes I have issues trusting what I’ve been given to be enough for the journey.

You can sometimes see what is coming, we are diagnosed with cancer and told we will go through treatment, it will be hard but there are facts about what we can expect. We are dealing with the loss of a loved one and we are told to see grief coming but not to worry – there are steps that are known and trained help to get you through. We prepare for our university exams that will make or break our career choices and can see it coming by the date the teachers have set. We get a birthday gift to swim with sharks and research the breed to a make sure how tightly you can hug it before it gets irritated and tries to hug you back… with it’s teeth.

What is coming isn’t often as scary because we know it’s coming. But trusting that YOU have enough inside of you to make it becomes a risk. Are you strong enough to fight after chemo leaves you weak? Are you brave enough to plan a funeral and still let you emotions breathe and not shove them into hiding? Are we intelligent enough for exams or do we need to get a day job? Will the oxygen in the tank run out?

Are we equipped?

Do we have enough for the journey?

G-d, is Your Word REALLY enough?

I’ve recently decided that I don’t believe in fear anymore; not to say it doesn’t exist, but I’ve tried to redirect the emotions that I might have once called fear and accept them as something else. Am I really afraid? Or am I nervously excited? Can I call this something else so that one word doesn’t take a hold of what I am and how I function?

When you put your BELIEF into something you feed it. It gets bigger and bigger until it paralyses you from doing what you want or need to do.

I refuse to get there; I don’t have time to believe in something so strongly that it won’t help anyone. I don’t have time to be too afraid to move when the adventure is forward, and when the things ahead are prepared for. I can’t fall back simply because I don’t think I have enough.

I can’t fall back simply because I don’t think YOU have enough, Lord. I trust that what You’ve equipped me with is more than enough to carry me through. I KNOW there will be bumps along the way but I know that you will sustain me. My tank wont run out. You have me. 

 

I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T // Do You Know What That Means?

The more I wake up the more I need Jesus. The closer I am to Him the more I need Him closer still. I’ve chatted with my roommate a few times about this and maybe even mentioned it in my writing that occasionally (and for no valid reason) I feel like a bad Christian, or a bad college student, or like I’m somehow doing life wrong. Know that I’ve identified them as my mental battle and I know that those things aren’t true or how G-d sees me but I’m still aware daily of how much grace I require to be alive.

I’ve grown up for the most part with an independent spirit, which can absolutely kill the church.

I’m not blessing anyone by being alone and standoffish towards my community and friends. It is for this reason that I am learning how to live in constant communication and calling out to G-d to teach me how to live with people and give to people with all of me. Honestly, the less it’s about me or I think about me or rely on me the better my life gets. Sometimes it can seem a little scarier but the reward of having a group of people to do life with is proving to be the greatest journey I’ve been on. I actually ENJOY learning how to communicate, have conflict, resolve things, have differing opinions and still treasure the human to their core. But I can’t do this community thing or love with out grace.

I can’t learn how to bless people without realizing how much I need Jesus to do it; all because He blesses me.

Lately the phrase that has been echoing in my heart and both terrifying me and encouraging me is “Grow Your Capacity” to which my heart responds with a firm “how the cheese do I do that?” At some point this last week while thinking of all the logical ways I could grow my capacity and abilities I realize the only thing I can really do to grow is increase my dependency. I have a LOT of goals – I’m a task driven person, which can also drive me crazy. There is more to fit in a day than allotted hours and I still have to function as a relational human being with real college homework. I wonder sometimes if I have what it takes for the long haul and all conclusions I’ve come to is: no. I’m crazy and overthink and over plan and yet somehow when I wake up, love Jesus and do my best: He blesses the rest of it. I accomplish so much more when I’m not dependent on me.

G-d has been challenging me lately to kill my independence and live in dependence on everything that He is.

#HitUmWitDatScriptureTalk-
“You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive.
 I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, “I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,” would that make it so? If Ear said, “I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,” would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-18 MSG)

We all have our separate parts and functions but WE live inside of a body that SHOULD be encouraging one another and crying when WE feel loss. WE should be operating in our own personalities and callings TO BETTER ONE ANOTHER NOT BE BETTER THAN ONE ANOTHER. WE should be growing our capacities as to grow the Church.

So, I hope we begin to live fully and love deeply. I hope we begin to grow in dependence on each other and desperate for Christ. I hope you go with me towards this community of the Body and calling on the Savior in the daily.

Grow your capacity. Grow your dependency.

Scrabit : Speech

What do you do when you’re speechless?

You listen

Myself and a few friends went exploring around New Castle today, as well as all along the coast to return back to the hills. The ocean does my heart good. Sitting in front of a vast and extraordinary body of water calms my spirit and quiets me- for an honest lack of another way to explain it. I don’t have a lot to say today. So, I’ll ask you this: those who will read this take some time (the time you would have used reading this), listen to a song or two, or the silence, stare at the pretty picture I managed to take today and just listen.

And I pray that as you sit and breathe and listen that G-d would do you the solid promise of showing up. I don’t know what you need because I’m not sure who will see this or when, but I ask that what you seek is found. Know that I am praying for you. Know that G-d is with you and sees you and knows you and loves you.

I have some of my own listening to do.


If you need some songs to listen to:

(this blog isn’t sponsored by Hillsong, its just irony that it happens to be the school I got to because I didn’t really even realize thats who sang this.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_TOOXRpn8w (Always a good sit with Jesus song)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFfw6OSbUwE (Mmm…)