Planned, Prepared and Creative

I was asked how I keep myself and my time organized enough to get everything done. At first I thought that it might have been a joke and then realized I just might have something (useful) to say. I am the sort of person who would have made up an answer that sounded good enough anyway so I had a little think about it and realized: I’m one of the more organized ‘creative’ people that I know.

It weirds me out too.

I’ve had an addiction to day-planners and planning things since the young age of about 10 years old and was always the one to organize going to rock shows. I’d text everyone the information, ticket prices and see who was going. I’d purchase tickets in bulk as well as assigning the ‘under 16s’ to drivers so that we maxed out our environmentally friendly hearts and not-so environmentally friendly cars. This odd obsessive planning didn’t stop with my school and work schedules – I like to write in coffee dates and writing sessions and would get very bothered if someone disrupted my beautiful black ink (screw iPhone calendars).

I’ve gotten over the NEED to write everything down and I’d like to think I’ve grown up and matured in my use of to do lists and agendas but I still find them heaps helpful for getting crap done. A few helpful things I’ve found out about time and scheduling:

  • Time is a resource very similar to finances – I have a conviction of stewarding my money and time well, which involves a budget. I budget money and allocate a percentage to different things so that at the beginning of the week I tell my money where it’s going instead of getting to the end and wondering where it went. My time is the same, I budget in order of non-negotiable like Jesus time and commitments like school and serving. I make sure that I’m thinking through resting and homework alike and moving into coffee dates with intentional relationship I want and need in my life. I like to plan where my time will be valuable to go because heaven forgive if I get to the end of my time and wonder where it went. There is always room for flex and flow in my schedule now that I’m not so obsessive but I’ve actually found heaps of freedom inside of knowing when I need to rest, when I need to be WITH people, and when I need to write or do homework.
  • People these days sort of suck at focusing – I think in an article I read ages ago it said people can only concentrate fully engaged for around 45-minutes and then we begin to shut off. I’m afraid that number has probably gone down with our microwave culture. I’d love to think that I’ve maintained that discipline or hopefully increased it with my schedule. I allocate 45-minute chunks of “WORK ON THIS” time and give myself a 5-10 minute break. I then move on to a different 45-minute chunk of life to work on. I don’t set out with a task to ‘finish the project no matter how long it takes!’ because I KNOW that wont be my best. My best is accomplished when I’m forgiving on myself and give myself a few time slots working on things (like assessments or writing a song).
  • GIVE YOURSELF A BRAIN BREAKDo things you love. Do things you LOVE. DO THINGS YOU LOVE.
    Colour!
    Take a short walk outside!
    Listen to music!
    Eat a snack!
    Read a chapter in a female comedian’s autobiography!
    For the love of everything holy do SOMETHING good for you. This is where the ebb and flow of scheduling comes in – mate if you’re mentally exhausted and you cant study for another minute then MOVE. Do something refreshing for you.
  • Bring it all back to Jesus – I don’t get how He adds to your time but He does. I heard of a preacher being asked the question, “How much time do you spend with G-d?” he replied, “on normal days about 2 hours. On busy days when I don’t really have time to get everything done, I’ll spend 3 hours with Him”. Get your priorities focused and figure out how to keep Jesus at the center and I promise you’ll never regret it. My black ink is always trumped by His.
Huh. I guess I have learned a little something in my time here… teehee. I’m glad I think I’m funny.

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.

Sucky Sound Systems, Surprising Stories, and Skepticism

G-d is actually beautiful.

I was thinking this morning about how doing #ThinkBackThursday is getting more challenging the longer I do it. It’s weird – I’ve used the majority of my old posts from Facebook (be my friend! If you mention my blog you get a 3% discount on being my friend!) and I was running out of material. I was about to start creeping through my 10 year old journal but, no one REALLY wants to read who I was crushing on at 14.

Lo and behold, I found a post from October 2010 that I don’t recall ever stumbling over in this last year. And wouldn’t you know it… it’s in perfect timing with what I NEEDED to hear this week.

I write for me.  I publish for accountability. I pray that somehow in the middle it might be the encouragement, challenge, blessing or honesty you need. I truly could never say ‘thank you’ enough if you pray for, support me or have been apart of reading my stories. Please enjoy this #ThinkBackThursday


 

Thursday we had a worship night at church and all was going well until Jesse and I here a loud pop in the monitors in front of us. Jesse was roughly 4 feet away from me so I casually and in the full attitude of worship lean over and ask if he can hear Kevin anymore or the piano.

“No”
wonderful.

You see, when we cannot hear Kevin that’s a bad thing. While I have attempted to train myself to just know what key we’re in and sing it in tune the whole way- there is still comfort in being able to hear the piano and KNOW you’re in the same key.

I couldn’t get the attention of our wonderful sound man Steve (thanks for the photo Steven B.) without making a scene so I felt pretty stuck, and then suddenly, the monitor popped back on.

This actually was wonderful.

Unfortunately, our sound system didn’t like leaving people feeling happy and fuzzy so again, the sound went out. I wasn’t sure what to do, there wasn’t much I could do, so instead I just prayed. If I remember correctly it was something like, “G-d, this might be a silly request but… I don’t want to create a distraction with not being able to hear correctly so if at all possible could You somehow make the monitor start working? I mean, I’ll still love You and do my best either way… it’d just be nice”

I felt in that moment like He was legitimately asking me if I’d be surprised if He did, He reminded me of the scripture in James 1.6-7 about coming to G-d with our requests, “Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way…” I felt like He was asking me if I was going to truly believe that He could; if I was going to believe that He would answer something so – in my mind – trivial. In an honest answer back to G-d I said, “I’m not sure.” I couldn’t tell Him that I w o u l d n ’ t be surprised but I remember thinking, “G-d, I don’t honestly know if I will be surprised, I just know that You can”.

((Before I completed my thought the monitor came back on. I smiled.

I don’t know what it was in my heart that shifted to where I just decided to believe. I still don’t understand why I can’t live there constantly. Where I ask G-d without doubt and know that He’ll answer if it’s His will. I’m ok admitting that in my almost 20-year-old mind I still struggle with trying to figure out why it seems G-d answers some prayers right away and on some He waits. All I know is to trust that His word and promise to me are true. And that I must be patient in not understanding because HE knows whats up.

I’m not perfect. I don’t have everything figured out. I’m learning. I’m accepting when I can’t do things alone. I’m committed to the only thing that has never let me down.

I’m His and that’s all I need.

He’s Faithful To My Heart…

I began my Wednesday morning this week as per usual at Gloria Jeans with my housemate for our coffee, catch up and read up time. We had a great time. 

Fast forward to just shortly before chapel started around 11:45am… I get a text from my housemates asking if any of us could come home and help clean out the refrigerator because our landlords had popped in for a surprise ‘we’re-going-to-take-your-refrigerator’ party that they didn’t invite us to.

(It IS their refrigerator but notification to remove food and maybe not have just gone shopping and stocked up would have been lovely)

So there sat the refrigerated portion of my households food. No one knew what was going on or where we were going to put all of this food.

My brain immediately went reeling through all of my food safety training. I was mentally sorting out where we were going to fit all of the meat and spoilable things that really needed to be cold. Mostly I was pissed and shocked at our landlords lack of understanding for all of my food safety concerns for all of the waste that would soon become of our food if we didn’t get the proper air temperature control box device to monitor the longevity of our edibles.

(guys, wasted money on food and spoiled food gets under my skin #ChilisForLife)

So, I prayed, I vented to G-d and told Him how unpleased this situation left my heart feeling. I then texted my parents. I asked them to pray for wisdom, peace and a free refrigerator. I also prayed for these things. I fumed a little bit through chapel all whilst reminding my household that it would all be alright.

The ‘fix it’ mode that I was operating in blocked off my memory from memor’ing* a meeting that I had set up with a friend until he called me as I was walking home. I apologized and explained that we needed to reschedule because I needed to get a house jam sorted. He asked me what was up and I explained in less words the story that you just read. Without another breath he responded, ‘wait let me call my friend she had some extra refrigerators I’m sure she could get you one!’.

What?

G-d what?

I know that I’ve heard that prayer works and I know that I even believe that prayer works but G-d, you aren’t messing around. Within the evening we picked up our new refrigerator.

The following day at Sisterhood I was reminded of a verse that in many seasons of my life I’ve held dearly:

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I got to experience the entirety of this verse within the time span of chapel. I threw it to G-d and He did not disappoint. One thing I keep coming back to is His faithfulness… Guys, it’s SO big!

The resounding sentence I’ve had stuck in my heart is that, I’ve never lived a day that the sun didn’t rise. If that isn’t a display of the faithfulness of G-d than you must be a scientist or some non-science (see what I did there?)

Point of the story: Pray, and watch to see what G-d does.  

Continue On

Life update.

I think there are loads of things in my life that I sit back and ask,

“Why am I still doing this?”

Writing is one of those.

Writing is hard.

This is week 16 and more than ever I feel more like spam rather than anything useful for anyone. Then I think to myself, “Well Laina, this isn’t about THEM ((whoever them is)) this is about the fact that you felt really strongly about the calling to be faithful with your writing so that G-d could teach you a few things about yourself (ugh, there G-d goes bringing that into this)”

((Faithfulness is hard))

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
James 1:2-3
“Endure hardship as discipline; G-d is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciple – and everyone undergoes discipline – then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.”
Hebrews 12:7-8
I know this is heavily influenced by the Think Back Thursday but it’s absolutely where I’m at with life right now AND what my week has been focused on

Lets stroll here for a little bit. Consider it JOY when you face trials. I had to ask this question to myself several times recently, “am I viewing trials as an opportunity to grow, am I finding joy knowing that I’m learning perseverance?” At first the answer was a hard “No” followed by “Laina what the heck are you doing with your life?” and then it was a “yeah, sometimes I think I get that” and now it’s a daily battle of having little to no passion behind a lot of the things I feel called to do because it’s just been a long season and its not always easy to hold only what you thought you knew.

What I do know to be true is the active Word of G-d. ‘you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance… and let that finish so that you might be mature and complete, not lacking anythingG-d I don’t want to lack so help my views change on what I’m walking through. You’re teaching me how to be a child I just need to sit and listen.

Why writing is hard:

It’s time consuming – which isn’t as big of a deal right now because all my assessments are in and competent (humble brag) but it requires focused time and time to process which sometimes I struggle with.

Its personal – sharing is hard. Partly because sometimes I don’t want to admit to myself where I am and the other bit would be because I, as an author, don’t want to bore you with something that isn’t useful. Actually, I’d love to accomplish the opposite. I want people to feel like they can be a little bit more of a person when they read what I write. I want them to fall more in love with Jesus or meet Him for the first time. I want people to laugh when they catch up on my dry humor. And I want to constantly be getting better both at storytelling and writing real gud.

It’s not always read – hmm… which brings me back to faithfulness. I felt like this was something G-d wanted to work on in my life was sticking to commitments if no one reads it or not, now that I think about it that’s pretty funny since I typically write in a journal daily anyway but this is more along the lines of editing and cleaning up the thought process and publishing something I’d be proud of. Come Fridays that doesn’t always happen but I also enjoy looking back and seeing how much I’ve grown so the weak posts are welcome as well. Feeling awkward about my work is alright.

You don’t always have something awesome to say – You have no idea how badly I want to be sharing these ridiculous, life-changing revelations that Christ has shown me throughout the weeks but sometimes I’m too stubborn to sit and listen and I don’t get them. I want to be a good author and I’m still learning what that means. Sometimes, (and PLEASE do correct me if I’m wrong, seriously, I’d love to know if I’m the only one who thinks this way), I think it has more to do with consistency and the subtle changes for the better than always having content that will bring the reader to tears and make them do that next thing that they haven’t been brave enough to do yet. Maybe I’ll get there, but for now I’m learning a lot about sitting, thinking, writing and rewriting.

‘Let perseverance finish its work in you so that you will be complete and mature, not lacking anything.’

I’m clearly not mature yet. But, G-d is good at reminding me of who He IS creating me to be. Faithfulness and Loyalty are some of the most important things in the world to me and in the last two weeks or so G-d has used a few different people to remind me that HE sees me as faithful… I truly believe that’s not just the early mornings with Him but sometimes I like to think it’s the continuing to do the things that I currently don’t find awesome.

Continue on.

Scrabit : Raw : A Psalm of Sorts

Today’s #ThinkBackThursday is brought to you by the year 2010 and the color red


He’s faithful to my heart.

Glory to the righteous one.

G-d, I’m not sure how to get everything or anything in words.

I hurt and you heal… That’s just how it’s always been. Lord, You’ve always been there for me even after all the selfish mistakes I’ve made. You are a forgiving G-d. I don’t know why life take turns and makes you go down paths that you have never even come across. I don’t know why I feel this need inside me to make sure someone is there with me holding my hand. It doesn’t make sense if I knew that I’d have to trust you through this one. Then why is it hard? Why do I constantly have to fight the pain of it all?

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves.” – James 1.2-6

((Are you kidding me G-d?       ………a gift?

So what then? It’s time to live out our faith. G-d knows what He is doing even when we are in the middle of a storm. The only thing I can gather from this portion of my love letter is to stick it out. G-d, sometimes I don’t want to, so I guess I’ll have to choose again today to trust You with it.

Dear Father, I don’t know what I’m doing, help my heart to calm down and not worry about my life. I don’t want to be flaky but I want to be taught by the master how to be faithful.

“Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. 34“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

– Matthew 6.33-34

Command: Don’t worry about missing out.

Promise: You’ll find ALL your everyday human concerts will be met.

Lord, help me trust YOUR timing… and help my heart to understand when my brain is the only thing that knows what is right.