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.

Aussie (Day 1- Jetlag)

In honour of my 1 year anniversary in Australia and Aussie Day I figured it was appropriate to post this #ThinkBackThursday to my first few days here. It’s been an incredible year and now I’ve had the privilege to welcome the new January intake students who will join in and add to our travels. What a beautiful year we have ahead of us!

Enjoy this look back and Happy Australia Day


It seems like these two days have flew by and also like I’ve been here a year. This isn’t the cleanest thing I’ve written because jet lag. But I know a lot of you are asking my parents questions they don’t know how to answer because communication has been limited. So for you now, a collection of my thoughts the last two days… Oh my gosh it’s only been two days.

It’s raining in Sydney, which I find awkwardly appropriate for starting a new adventure. It’s been said before that G-d is in the rain and in all of my limited life experience I would have to agree. Maybe its because I’m an Okie but storms are calming to me. They remind me of sitting on my front porch (like a good okie) and watching the lightning roll in with my dad. I wasn’t scared because I was with my dad.      

   It’s empowering when you all the sudden see yourself invencible just because of who you surround yourself with.

I have had a peace in this season of my life that is both unexplainable and incomprehensible- and only from walking with the Father. At first I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t even know what it was. I was walking in step and therefore in peace with my heavenly Father and I felt awkward.

G-d I can live calm and focused? This is what redemption feels like – this is hope and this is healing and it is what being with G-d feels like. Watching the storms fall in and realizing I’m covered. 

I’m with my Dad

How comforting. 


“He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” – Daniel 3.25


 

I spent a good bit of time this morning wondering what the heck I was doing. With all the activities and gatherings that went on I realized an unfortunate truth about myself, I’m bad at people time. I didn’t realize how terrible I am at holding a conversation until I actually didn’t know what came next in my day and I had nothing to do. We were all crammed in a breakfast room to eat and I suppose probably chat and get to know people and I struggled with not being able to focus on the people around me because I wanted to know what I was supposed to be doing. Where was I supposed to be? Did I need to be preparing for something? We’re been in this room a long time did we all happen to miss a cue for going somewhere else? What if we are late to the thing that we don’t know we are supposed to be doing?

Just Be

Our Vice Principal (or someone else really important to our schooling) was speaking about letting this be a relaxing time. It ISN’T going to be like home here in the way we remember, but this place IS home. He challenged us to get used to things changing and maybe even running a minute late. He told us we needed to relax. He also told the Mexicans to not relax so much. It was exactly what I needed to hear and it was exactly where I needed to be. Reminding myself that my entire path coming here has been covered by a peace that I don’t understand and a favor that I’ve never let myself receive before. Laina, freaking chill out. BE THERE with the people who are with you now and calm down. Has G-d not had this the entire time? You didn’t even know what you needed and yet here you are.

Just Breathe

The crazy thing is that I am EXACTLY where I need to be. I’m hearing exactly what cuts my heart and I’m having the chance to express myself exactly the way the good Lord put it in my heart to be heard. I had a conversation with a friend before I left and he was simply asking me how I was doing. I was almost embarrassed to admit that this whole process has been a beautiful experience; but because I didn’t know how to live in beautiful experiences… I didn’t know what this feeling was of my heart being light and my spirit being free. I was so unfamiliar with the peace of G-d that I didn’t even recognize it when I was walking IN IT. Lord, Forgive me… I neglected to learn how to receive from you so many times before. You give good gifts, Abba, and I want all of them. IF this is what walking with You truly feels like then I must have been stumbling before.

Just Accept.

G-d, I’m blown away, absolutely speechless. I didn’t even know who I was and You called me Yours. I didn’t know what I needed and You provided an abundance. I didn’t know where I was going and You picked me up and walked me there. What the heck? How am I so blessed? Oh, how He loves us SO

Just Receive.

Scrabit Adultery

#ThinkBack(to)Thursday
so… I posted late. It happened. 

I had a BEAUTIFUL get-to-know-you coffee with a wonderful woman who I have no doubt will be in my life for a long time and then family time. I remembered that it was Thursday around 2am (Friday) as I was drifting to sleep.

Life happens. Sometimes I write about it.

  • November 2010, I had no idea what was coming

 

If the first thing G-d spoke to you was to love someone who would constantly be unfaithful to you, could you follow His call? Would you be alright with knowing that your whole existence was to be used for
G-d’s love to be shown?

((G-d, I’m picking Hosea back up, maybe because I’ve seen myself
not being as faithful with my time. I’ve just been thinking through all you had him do.

“When the LORD began to speak through Hosea… “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of (( the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD)).”  Hosea 1.2 emphasis added

G-d, this was when You FIRST called Hosea, not much warning or development towards trusting You that I can see. Would I, even now have the ability to follow that call?

The closest thing I’ve been to marriage (thus far) is just a boyfriend-type relationship and couldn’t imagine the pain of living with him if he cheated on me. We’d probably break up and never speak again. But to Hosea, You G-d, kept after him to LOVE Gomer. To fight for this woman and her children that he wasn’t sure if were his. And what was G-d’s reasoning? “because the LAND is guilty”… No, Hosea, YOU did nothing to deserve this – you were just willing to listen to G-d.

Adultery is defined as * voluntary sexual intercourse between a married (a committed) person and a person who was not his or her spouse. I’ve never been married and have never had sex, so again I can only imagine – but I have seen the affects of adultery on families and the bitterness it leaves. Of all this pain and of these horrible stories, G-d said the VILEST form of this act is when it is His people departing from Him.  … “the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.” The worst, most offensive, shameful, loathsome, hateful, wicked, evil act we can do is walk away from G-d; or, to depart from Him.

But, G-d… we do that all the time. Remember G-d? all that time we get “too busy”? Remember when we’re just exhausted and too tired to spend time with You? And, yet, You sent a Son, YOUR Son to love a world like ours. You let Your Son pick this world to be His Bride and I am guilty of causing a pain I couldn’t even imagine because in my selfishness – I’ve been just like Gomer. And with my actions at some point I’ve taught children to be unfaithful. I’ve shown them some form of justification in my actions and that is something I can never take back.

(1.14) “Therefore, I am now going to allure (draw) her; I will lead her to the desert and speak tenderly to her.”
((I’m bringing My bride back and regaining her attention – says the LORD))

(1.16) “In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’”, you will no longer call me ‘my master.’”

G-d is coming to restore our broken relationship and reunite His Bride to Himself. Just because He loves us and wants us to be set free from our unfaithful ways, I don’ t know how to hold onto my stupid decisions anymore because of His love.

I can’t.

 Drawn to redemption by the GRACE in His eyes… Oh, how He loves us so…


 

This was when G-d taught me about being His bride. When I was 20 years old G-d had already been explaining and laying on my heart what it would require of me to be close to Him and to accept His forgiveness and care. The Lord began burdening me to teach other women what it means to get ready to be a bride. I had NO idea that a year later I would be engaged and on my way to be married and walk through this very thing, my heart was broken because I was betrayed and I never wanted to hear the words, “You are enough” again.

My G-d is a redeeming G-d. I wouldn’t trade my past for anything because now more than ever I realize the prize that it is to still be loved by Him.

And we are SO loved by Him.

As You Do – Think Back Friday

I sort of shoved #ThinkBackThursday and a new Friday post together… You know, because it’s New Years and I’m cliché.

1 January //

I’ve now lived through 25 of these and probably for the last 13 of them I’ve wondered where on earth time has gone. It seems that time has a preferred method of transportation that it enjoys, and it’s always the one you wish it wasn’t on. It grabs a Delta flight, a free miniature bottle of wine and sticks its feet up for the joyful moments. They go so fast that you hardly remember all of the details even when you’re trying. Without a shadow of a doubt I believe that it grieves with us in the hard times and it too finds it difficult to pull itself out of bed and move when we cry – making our sorrow seem even longer.
Misery loves company.

But, then you look back and realize there was 24 hours in each of those days and 7 days in your weeks and that you just wasted 1-4 hours of your today realizing that you’re still here. You still never know when moments to be remembered are happening and you never know when you will finally heal.

But you have the moments, and you heal.

I’m currently in Oklahoma for the holidays, which brings up loads of memories in the 17 years I spent around this town. It’s impossible not to remember the great, good, bad and regretful. And as odd as it can be to grow up and see that nothing is ever the same year to year, the obscurity of it is shadowed (for me) by remembering a few things:

  • My Good Friends are GOOD – I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for a handful of very, VERY good people in my life. They’ve believed in me, pushed me, prayed for me, let me cry, let me fail and still told me they loved me and that I can make it. Hometowns can sometimes bring a sting along with comfort when thinking about the ‘used to be’ and ‘could have been’ relationships, adventures and journeys; G-d has been in the redeeming business of reminding me that the people I have now are who need to be in my life NOW. He knows all things, He knows my heart and who builds it, He knows what’s coming for me and He has been blessing me more and more with like-minded lovelies who care about me.What and who HE allows in my life is more than enough.
  • He has ALWAYS been faithful – this has been so overwhelmingly in my thoughts this last year or so. I’ve always known it but G-d has connected this knowledge to my heartstrings and veins and has literally flooded my being. The knowing physically weighs on me and can often, easily and frequently bring me to tears. Guys, He cares so much and loves so deeply and IS SO FAITHFUL. And not just for me; this is for you and I’m sure if you take time to let the Saviour and comforter help you look back you’ll see it to.
    ((Please take the time to look back))
  • Discipline is hard, sacrifice is hard, they both suck and they’re both mandatory – reading and writing daily is a choice and no one will tell you to do it once you pass the age of 17. I’m a routine and schedule person and it’s extremely difficult for me to cram a devotional or blog into the end of my. Mornings are my zone and when I don’t allow myself that time I feel like a pretty crappy person. This one is really just a memo to self // Be An Adult.
  • Reading is very important – I am not an educational or approved resource to quote. While I’m overjoyed that you’ve read this blog or any of my other blogs I’m not the end all… heck, I’m not even good at ending blogs real good.

Find a book and learn something.

 

Art above by: Mindi Garland (That’s MY bloodline)
Title: “Jenine Races Down the Path Less Traveled Without Fear of the Future” (That’s my middle name)

Obsessive Compulsive Details

I recently painted a mug at one of those places where you paint a pottery item and they fire them for you to seal on your artwork. It’s a pretty nice looking mug. I’d show you but it’s also a Christmas present for someone so I can’t exactly post a picture on here because they just might read this.

In which case, they now know they are getting a mug for Christmas.

I used 9 colors for this one mug.

It had a load of details etched into the sides and even the handle, so I took my time and made it look as awesome as the person getting it for Christmas.

When I first started on painting I was excited to get to all the cool ideas I had for each groove on the cup but as 1 ½ hours passed and I was still on the final, very tedious steps to complete the cup I began to lose patience. I wondered if the effort I was putting in would be appreciated or if they’d even realize how difficult it was to keep my hand steady for as long as I did. I began to want the world to understand how careful I was with my process and I wanted recognition.

This all came out in the form of me telling my mom over and over how freaking cool the mug was.

I wonder sometimes if G-d wants us to just notice. I wonder if while He was painting the colors of the trees if He thought, “Maybe if they see how much effort I’m putting into this for them they’ll appreciate me a little bit more”. I don’t think G-d NEEDS our appreciation for all of His works, but I do think He wants to tell us something. I think He might be telling us the story of how it always works out for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purposes because HIS purposes have already been established and we get to step into this pre-blessed work of good. I think that in the details He might be reminding us that HE is faithful and doesn’t get impatient in completing a good work that began in you. I feel like in the details, if we notice we might see a beauty about creation that can inspire awe and wonder around the things that He does and the person that He is. I feel like maybe we could learn a thing or two about beauty.

I’m so thankful that the Creator isn’t as sidetracked as I am. I’m thankful that He IS in this for the long haul and never grows weary of the tedious tasks of correcting, comforting, reminding and loving us. He raises the sun everyday and spins the earth into seasons. He forms something out of nothing on the daily and allows the smallest of faiths to move mountains. He is a G-d of the details and I feel like when I focus myself and my mind and sometimes my camera I find Him there.

((He is beautiful and I am paying attention.

Jesus I will trust You / I know You never fail / I will trust You / the only thing I know/ is G-d You’re in control/ in every little detail You are close / I’ll never be alone / here in the unknown / the power of Your presence fills my soul

(Travel) Back Thursday

Today in class we were challenged to tell the person next to us why we are here. We were asked to remember the reason that we came to college. It has been a great breath of fresh air this week to think on the season that led up to moving to Australia – G-d was doing great things, Oklahoma was the kindest it had ever been to me, I felt closer to my family than I ever had and it was time to leave.

I can’t honestly remember why I was on a plane in January other than the trip here but I wrote this while trying to avoid overthinking. Please enjoy!

#ThinkBackThursday


Flights are annoying, and boring, and lonely. You have to turn your phone onto airplane mode and just sit. I play Sudoku but eventually that gets frustrating. You can read or write depending on how much space you have to move your elbow from one side of the seat back tray to the other. But mostly, you’re left to be with your own thoughts and feelings. You think about the last time you flew, where you went, what trips you have coming up and so on and so forth. If you’re smart you brought snacks. Thought exploration is exhausting.

      “Here it’s You and me alone G-d, You and me alone.”

Learning how to be alone is going to take me time… I enjoyed being alone once upon a time, for a season. But now as I have been out of that season for a bit of time I don’t really enjoy loads of “alone”. I find time spent with people more valuable and enjoyable because frankly, I’m pretty happy right now and I don’t want to learn sometimes – because I don’t like correction.

So, here I am. It’s a baby flight compared to the 17 hour one I have ahead of me but it’s a good reminder and starter for what I have to look forward to.

Alone time.

I’ve been praying for a family when I get to Australia already. I group of parents that will call me their own and let me cry on their couch when I miss my bloodline; A mom and dad that will possibly let me adopt a puppy under their care (wishful thinking). A couple that will care for me and invite me over for Sunday dinners, a counselor to talk to. There are people in my own life currently that model what they do well. These are positions in my life I don’t care to live without… I’m too old to care if my roommates like me or not. I just need a family to care for me. I am NOT an adult.

I have already started praying for the young girls I will live with (I have an odd feeling they will be young), for their growth while they are there and for their hearts as they take a few years to adventure into education. I’ve already begun to pray for my professors and faculty that they don’t mind my brashness and attitude I tend to write and live with. I don’t know who will be picking me up from the airport but I’ve already begun to pray for them too.

I don’t believe in coincidence anymore. There will be a reason behind my conversations with people, and Lord willing, He’ll maybe use me to draw out things people don’t see in themselves. And may it begin when I am alone… May it start on my plane ride there, with the patient people sitting to my right and to my left as I cry my way from Tulsa to Texas and onto Sydney. I’ve had too many “random choices” that led to G-d moments with random people to think when I walk it isn’t on purpose. When I wake up in the morning it is for no other reason that G-d allowing me to be apart of someone’s story. To show them a little more of the Creators heart wrapped up into who they already are.

If you collect me from the airport that first day in Sydney, know I was praying for you. Future housemates, I hope G-d wrecks you in whatever time we have together at Hillsong. Absolutely levels your foundation and rebuilds and fortifies who you are (whoever you might be). I hope you fight with me, I hope you cry with me, I hope you learn how to share with me and be real with me, I hope you learn how to heal as I learn this walking in healing. I hope we laugh together to the point of tears and spend a few hours exhausting the “next episode” button on Netflix. I’m leaving it in G-d’s hands which makes it more exciting than I can stand.

Teachers… I hope you don’t fail me. (haha, kinda serious though)… I hope you understand what I’ve learned from childhood to now is to be bold about who I am and if you don’t agree I typically don’t care. If you’re right then I’ll learn eventually. And I will admit it to you. But I am already praying what you teach is fully absorbed by my little ol’ self. I want to be a student to the fullest and give you back as much time in my work as what you’ve put into educating us. You are valuable and will be a life changing person for me. Even if I think your class is dumb.

((I hope I don’t have to take any dumb classes.

For those who I’ve been forced to say farewell to and will have to say it to soon… I hope you know how dearly you will be missed and I hope you know how excited I am to leave you. I love having conversations with a lot of you (some of you all are more of a challenge) and I love downloading and learning from you. I am excited to sharpen my skills and thoughts and come back and learn again what G-d has done in your lives and share what He has done in mine. I’m excited to miss you because it’ll make the reunion hug that much more squishy.

Squishy hugs rule.

Reunions are beautiful.

And my friends are freaking great.

So, as I prepare for the flight and the time I have to be alone just know… I’ll probably spam your Facebook with writing. I’d apologize but I really like writing and if you don’t like reading then don’t click on the links 🙂 If you do like reading, be my friend. This is how I process and learn I’m excited to see what there is to see and meet people that will become my adoptive family for a season… And if I get a puppy in the next year I’m gonna freak out 🙂 Thanks for reading if you actually took the time.

I have love for you all.