Tuesday, 27 May 2008

changes

I found us in a photograph
Saw me and I had to laugh
You know, I'm not who I was


most people have heard brandon heath's song, "i'm not who i was". sometimes i feel like i could have written that song because it describes my life to a tee.

tonight i watched parts of my highschool graduation (but NOT the message by the speaker...WAY too long for me!). i watched myself be terrified as i sang on stage to so many people. i watched as my entire class (all 26 of us - WHOOP for homeschool graduations!) fooled the audience and then exited the auditorium to the cotton-eyed joe. i watched the photo slideshows. i laughed. i cringed.

after i watched that dvd, i went to my closet and pulled out my box of photos. i have not looked at this box in quite a while, that is for sure! i saw so many pictures from so long ago! the most recent pictures in that box are 2 years old.

when i was watching my graduation and looking at my pictures, i just marveled at who i was and who i have become. some of the pictures were incredibly painful to look at, because they brought back either memories of good times that i miss terribly or memories that i wish i could erase.

there were the pictures from prom that reminded me of what a nightmare that was. in case you haven't heard the story, i had broken my finger about a month and a half before (it was a really serious break that actually required surgery to fix...go figure) and had on a BRIGHT GREEN CAST with my DARK RED dress. good thinking, self. i showed up alone. my friends had dates. they were busy dancing with their dates. no one asked me to dance. hardly anyone talked to me. the guys i was graduating with tried to convince one of their friends (also graduating with me) who had come without a date to ask me to dance, to which he vehemently refused. i think they were doing it as a joke - "hey, go ask the wierd girl with the bright green cast and dark red dress to dance. it could be funny!" ugh. to top off the evening, they recognized the seniors, but they forgot to mention one. can you guess who that senior was? most definitely me. the whole night was a disaster - i called my mom crying and left prom several hours early.

there were so many pictures of rachel and i as we grew up together. we did everything together. that girl is like a sister to me! as i looked through those photos of her and i, i couldn't help but smile, because her friendship is one of the greatest blessings in my life. even though she moved when we were 12, we are still as close as can be, and that is something only God can do. i honestly see her more as a sister than a friend.

there were photos of the first time i was at camp eagle - the second week of february 2001. how could i ever have known when i signed up for that retreat that God would lead me to a place that would change my life forever, a place that i would come to love more than just about any other place on earth, a place where i would make lifelong friends who showed me what it meant to be a true friend. and here i am 7 1/2 years later, still involved at camp eagle, and the people there still very much involved in my life. wow. God so knows what He is doing. and He so has a sense of humor!

there were photos of when i was a swimmer and was toned and tan. man oh man i miss those days.

there were photos of when i was struggling with anorexia. even though it wasn't a severe case, it was still a struggle for me for a while. i was so much smaller then...

there were photos of when i struggled with binge eating and was fat. ew.

there were photos of me when i didn't know who i was, and i was struggling just to be loved.

as i looked back on all these photos, i was lost in thought. up until this past week, i have tried to forget so many things that have happened to me when i was younger. i have tried to forget so many of the mistakes i made, people i knew, things i did, and things i didn't do. i have tried to forget the hell that was my life for so long i didn't even know it was hell. but in trying to forget everything negative, i was also forgetting about how GREAT, LOVING, MERCIFUL, and POWERFUL God is!

by forgetting my past, i was forgetting what He saved me from.

by forgetting my pain, i was forgetting how He healed me.

by trying to forget my mistakes, i was forgetting how much He has forgiven me.

by trying to forget it all, i was essentially trying to forget my testimony.

sure, there are some very difficult times in my past that i don't want to think about, and that i don't want to remember. but all the same, if i don't remember them, then i can't tell people about God's marvelous display of power in my life.

people who knew me in highschool or even before then can tell you that i am a new creation. i am a new person. the old has gone, and the new has come! God has transformed my life in a way that i never would have thought possible - oh how little faith i had! the person i used to be is dead, and i am so thankful. i know i have hope for my future because God is good (check out Jeremiah 29:11 - that's reassurance for ya!)!!!

i know i am not perfect now. i know i still make mistakes. i know i still fall short. i know i still struggle. sometimes i strongly dislike myself. but the Lord is faithful. i am so thankful that my salvation is not based on my works or my abilities - it is based solely on His loving sacrifice for me. WOW. just like there is NOTHING i can do to earn His love and my salvation, there is NOTHING i can do to lose it. DOUBLE WOW.

i like the song "marvelous light" by charlie hall. i remember the first time i heard that song. summer 2006. camp eagle. heck yes. i feel it also describes my life to a tee. i am running out of the darkness and shame of my past and the person i used to be, and i am running into the marvelous light of my wonderful Savior! i am running towards freedom, love, forgiveness, grace, mercy, and joy! Praise Jesus!

Into marvelous light I'm running
Out of darkness, out of shame
By the cross You are the truth
You are the life
You are the way

Friday, 23 May 2008

i don't take heat exhaustion seriously enough



seriously though, i really don't. i got off work last night at midnight and stayed up really late. when i woke up this morning it was 11:15, so i did usual morning stuff - take meds, read Bible, pray, make bed. when all that was said and done, it was noon, and i wanted to go running.

i have a strange relationship with running. some days i love it and all i want to do is run. other days i hate running and i will cry if you suggest it.

today was definitely an "i love running!!!" day! and i really wanted to run. so i put on running shoes and begin my stretch, to find that i am even less flexible than i used to be - a feat i never thought possible*.

after my stretch time, i proceed out my front door and go running through my neigborhood. see, because i am not taking summer classes at a&m, i am unable to use the rec center, and therefore air-conditioned running tracks are almost as unaccessable to me as the first class section on an airplaine.

what i forgot was that i live in texas. and it is summer. and it was also noon. which means it's hot. really hot. and humid. and i want to run anyway. i was out for a good 30 minutes, and as i ran, i eventually got dizzy, and my eyes got hazy, and i got to feeling really nauseous (although, i did take a water bottle with me). but i didn't stop...nope, not me. i tend to think that stopping is giving up and being weak, and i know i am better than that! this resulted in me taking a cold shower (it was marvelous), turning on the ac and the fan in my room, and not moving much. and i was really nauseous.

this was a problem for me in highschool, also. i would volunteer to mow the front and back yards by myself in the middle of the summer, and i would do it in the middle of the day. i love being outside, working in the hot sun, working hard and breaking a sweat. and i loved the tan! heck yes you got a great tan mowing the yard!!! and a workout! when i eventually came in, i was purple, dying of thirst, drenched in sweat, and so hot that i was freezing cold and shivering.

things haven't changed much.

i think it's an issue of pride.

which means it needs to change much.

so tomorrow, i plan on getting up earlier and therefore running earlier. maybe tomorrow i won't put myself at risk of getting ill.

and maybe me learning not to be so prideful in this area will help me to lay down my pride in other areas...

*my joints have too much elastin in them, and therefore are very floppy, so all my muscles are SUPER tense and tight to compensate. hooray!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

expelled

i went to see this movie with my family this weekend, not really knowing what to expect. i had heard something about it once about 3 weeks ago, but other than that, i had no idea what i was walking into. this movie was an intriguing documentary about evolution vs. intelligent design. it is important to remember that intelligent design doesn't necessarily mean creationism, though. ben stein, who starred in this documentary, is a Jew, and therefore believes in the Old Testament God, and yes, He believes in Creationism. however, all he wants to do is learn why evolutionists (an American society in particular) are so opposed to even the theory that some deity (not necessarily the God that I know and love) somewhere somehow created the world. even if mr. stein doesn't imply that the Judeo-Christian God is the one who created the world, it seems as if almost all the people opposed to i.d. automatically assume that is the only God in question (honestly, i am not sure if they care much about the gods of other religions or if they are as vehemently opposed to them as the Christian God - the one and only true God).

it was absolutely fascinating and horrifying to hear all the stories of people who have been ostracized for even merely suggesting that some intelligent being might have designed the universe. it was mortifying and heartbreaking to watch and listen to these lost, hurting, confused people adamantly cursing God and denying His existence, and calling those who do believe in God fools and idiots with no common sense.

i remember last semester when jill and i took biology together. before taking biology at A&M, i had taken it in highschool, and as i was homeschooled, i took it though a co-op. therefore, i had never really been taught evolution; i had been taught everything but evolution, in fact. i was severely disappointed in the class at A&M, though, because it truly was like taking "evolution 101" as opposed to biology. at the time, jill and i laughed at the ridiculous ideas that were being presented to us. there were so many holes in the theories, so many things they had no evidence to support...but after watching this documentary, i realize the seriousness of the situation.

one cool thing that i realized was that my opinion of evolution mirrors many experts' opinions, which is this - if you use the textbook definition of evolution, it claims that all life on earth descended from a single molecule, and that through natural selection and adaptation, all the species on earth have come about. what evolution fails to explain is how the single molecule was formed and how it has resulted in trillions upon trillions of life forms. one molecule? really? therefore, i don't believe in the textbook definition of evolution. however, if you define evolution as change over time, then yes, i think it is quite clear that our world has changed over time. species have changed over time. however, i do not think it is out of the Lord's control. because of the fall, the world was forever changed. because of the fall, we no longer live in perfection. we live in a world that is decaying and dying. yes, ALL creation suffers as a result of adam and eve's sins in the garden. because God is all knowing and all powerful, i believe He either gave species the ability to adapt or changed them Himself when He saw the need to.

ben stein earned my respect in the way he dealt with every single person in this documentary. he asks many experts in mollecular biology and other fields about their views, and no matter what they say, he always remains respectful and level-headed. even if the other person is being really rude or unreasonable, mr. stein doesn't even flinch!

our hearts should be broken for the lost. for the people who adamantly proclaim there is no God. for the people who ostracize and condemn anyone for their belief in any kind of intelligent design. for people who are so angry and they don't even know why. we should be praying. we should be loving. we should be doing. so what are we doing?
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