Serious Freewriting

There’s something rather thrilling about starting a brand new blog post… not quite as exciting as a new notebook, but still something. It’s Sunday. That means have even more things than usual to think about and write about and talk about. Though normally it takes me longer to talk about them than to write about them…

Holiness. I’ve been thinking about it lately–God’s holiness, to be precise. I don’t–get it. Not yet. But I think that’s the point. He is so very horribly awesomely… other. Set apart. Different from us. Perfect. Flawless. It’s… scary, quite frankly. I was thinking about it the other day–about actually getting to know Him more and then one day SEEING Him. Him! The One who… is holy holy holy. Who made all this up. Who died for me. Without that last I should be purely terrified of Him. With it, I am still afraid. Not knees knocking fear, not yet. But awed, amazed, stunned… and yes, scared. I do not understand Him. I do not know all of what He is like. He is not a tame lion…

And yet the beautiful, wondrous mystery is that I CAN know Him. That even today I have learned more of Him. But I shall never finish learning Him… there is always always more. And I am so glad of that. If I could explain and diagram and learn all of Him… what a pathetic god that would be. I am very relieved that our God is not a cardboard god. He is not a statue. He is not man-made.

He can stand up to our questions and our reasoning. Not that He is obliged to explain Himself, or that we can really get Him– but we can ask, with no fear of Him disappointing us. Habakkuk asked–almost impertinently–for God to explain Himself. And God did. By the end, Habakkuk was… awestruck. He got it. He understood that even when things down here aren’t good, God is still good. He is still worthy to be praised.

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.

19 The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.

Habakkuk 3: 17-19

I’ve also been realizing a horrible tendency within myself to, instead of glorifying God because He is glorious and worthy, sort of… cover up for Him. Keep up appearances. Make it out to be like He really is–not so bad as it seems He is from circumstances. I know it’s complete foolishness… and yet I have found that attitude within myself. It is… horrifying, really. That I would… take from Him in that way. That I would not see and display HIS real, everlasting glory… that I would act as though I must sort of make it up for Him instead of revealing what has always been there more clearly to people who don’t yet see it. God, keep your glory always before me!

I have been thinking about unity a great deal lately. Especially within the church. It is burdening me more and more to see and hear about Christians separated by such silly things as dress and music style and minor doctrinal issues and styles of church services. The body of Christ is capable of so much more!! And this sort of division is so horribly unproductive and unglorifying to God and so–the opposite of what God meant when He said we are the BODY of Christ.

When we all separate ourselves into our nice little cliques, we often become dreadfully imbalanced in one way or another– we’ve got the “Doctrine is everything!!” people in one corner, getting more and more dry and less and less excited about GOD–and then we’ve got the “Feeling is everything!!” people over in another corner, getting more and more hyper and less and less grounded in the Bible.

We’ve got the “Modesty IS important!!” people over here, getting more and more legalistic and judgmental and less and less gracious and beautiful–and on the other side, we’ve got the “The heart is what matters, actually!!” people over here, getting more and more lax in their standards of modesty, and less and less concerned about what sort of message they are portraying to a watching world.

Of course, when you mix all those people up, you often get fireworks. Why? Oh it’s quite simple–they don’t love each other or God enough. That’s what most everything boils down to. So I am praying–God, love through me. Teach me to love.

And I am praying that the body of Christ will become that unified, spotless, loving, effective bride that Christ is coming back for.

Things…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately.

I don’t know why I always feel like I need to announce that, since: a. It’s obvious that if I am writing, I was thinking. b. I always think a lot…

Anyway. (Isn’t anyway a nice clear your mind and get on with it word?)

So I’ve been thinking about writing.

Which would probably explain the fact that I am posting on my writing blog, or at least attempting to. My brain is rather fried, due to lack of sleep, painting for a few hours, and being slightly ill. Otherwise, it’s just a good excuse to not make sense. 😀

I’ve been thinking about me writing, specifically. I haven’t been doing much of it, at least not in public. Mostly, because I’ve been busy. But… I’ve also been sort of avoiding it. Why, I’m not quite sure.

But a thought occurred to me recently: I can write.

And if you can do something, shouldn’t you be doing it for God’s glory?

And if you have something to say that would glorify God, shouldn’t you say it?

And if people are encouraged and blessed and changed by the things God’s teaching you, shouldn’t you write them down for more people to read?

So… I’m back. ish. I’m working “full time” (forty hours ish) at my dad’s tile store, and I still have those seven awesome younger siblings and I still have a Bright Lights group and.. yeah. My life is full.

Not too full, however, to make use of a gift God’s given me. So I hereby and henceforth (That’s fun to say, isn’t it?) give permission to whoever reads this and actually cares a bit to poke me if I don’t write.

Other than writing, I’ve been thinking about flowers.

Yep, flowers. I like flowers. A lot.

They are beautiful… but more than that, they teach me about God.

A God who cares about tiny details.

A God who loves beauty… who is beautiful Himself.

A God who is incredibly creative…

A God who blesses us…

A God who loves us and rejoices over us.

A God who brings life from death.

sunflower, gator, garden 015

A God who is the light we can always turn to in our darkness…

This God, I love.

I’m having trouble settling down to any particular topic.. .so I thought I’d try and free write a bit, just to find out what’s going on in my mind. I’m listening to Be Thou My Vision… I was trying to work on a post about “Reckless Abandon” and before that one about Prayer… but both of those topics are too big for my mind at the moment. The house smells delicious right now–Hannah is baking samples for people to try at church tomorrow (so they will buy some to raise money for her upcoming mission trip.) The air is lovely… not too cold and not too warm. It must be breezy out.. the wind chimes are clanging cheerfully. I’m now listening to “Who am I?”… it’s amazing. God is amazing… who but Him could come up with all of this? Who but Him could love us?? What a God we serve!

Over and over, I keep thinking… there really is no other choice but to be fully devoted to Him.. completely surrendered. It’s the only thing that will make sense on judgement day.

There’s… so much more to this whole life thing than merely being a “good Christian” who goes to church, doesn’t do anything too awful, has a nice house and two cars, gives money to the church sometimes… the world is sick (and dying as a result of) of such shallow Christianity… as I saw it written recently… “materialism with a few Bible verses tacked on”.

I recently had the privilege to be able to talk to a few people about Church… and God. One girl said she wasn’t into the religion stuff… she’d had Catholicism forced down her throat when she was little. I tried to point her to The Real Thing… God Himself. “Religion”, at least the way she meant it, is man made. (Trust us to make God and His Story boring!!) I shared my excitement over realizing that the God who made all of these marvelous things loved me and died for me… This is exciting, folks!! People should see it in our faces, hear it in our voices. Oh, that God would fill us to such an extent that we could not contain our joy in Him! Would that His hope and love would spill out of us! That people could see Him in us!

I talked to another lady who had neighbors who attended church every week: and were mean every other day of the week. She said they thought they could do whatever they wanted and then be forgiven at church. And followed that up with “that’s not my kind of God.” Of course I cringed inwardly–it isn’t up to us what kind of God there is. But on the other hand: those people were representing God. Granted, they were doing a terrible job. But regardless, they were representing. They had branded themselves as at the very least “Religious”… and so people looked at them and took their actions to represent their god.

People do the same with us. They know, especially when you make distinctly unworldly lifestyle choices, that you are (or at least claim to be) Christians. Followers of Christ. What they see in me… is what they will think of Christ. Yikes. * is very glad His power is working in me * Oh, people! This is SO important. People are DYING. They are going to hell.

And why? Because we do not know God. Not really. If we knew Him… how could we go on calmly playing and working for vain things– letting people perish? How could we go on skimming glibly through His Word? How could we go on praying fake, passionless, small prayers? How could we go on caring about which color flip-flops we have or don’t have? How could we go on allowing sin in our lives?

We don’t have time for this! Eternity is too long for this! We must seek Him. We must get to know Him. And how? By reading His word, by praying, by observing His creation… And then we must share this glorious relationship, this most wonderful of news… WE can know GOD!! 😀

 

 

 

Idea: Part One

Towards the end of last year, I read a book called “Humility:True Greatness”. (And yes, I recommend it.) In that book, it suggested five things to think about upon rising. Well, knowing me, I knew I’d never remember all of them at the same time, much less remember to think of them every morning, much less actually do it. So! I came up with a plan. I found an image and either a Bible or hymn verse that went along with each thing, and then printed them out and put them on the wall near my bed.

Here is the first one: on this one, you remind yourself of what Christ did on the cross and… the fact that it was YOUR sin that held Him there. You contrast His goodness and sacrifice with yourself and just… bask in the wonder of it.

One the second one, you remind yourself how much you need Him for everything. Every single breath.You remind yourself that there is NOTHING you can do without Him. (If that doesn’t humble you, I don’t know what will…) (And yes, the girl is a bit odd looking… Cheryl likes to tell me that.)

Well, there’s part one… the next three will be coming soon. I hope.

{RD} Oh, the Thinks You Can Think…

That might be a quote, I’m not exactly sure. Anyways, here I sit, with some harp music  playing (fireflies by Owl city, if you must know) in the background, my feet crossed and the spiny chair going slightly back and forth… the fan is on, and the plastic bag to my left is fluttering distractedly. And I need to get my writing time in. As usual, I have many thoughts that I could expand into an article, but my poor sleep deprived brain (we had company last night, and they ended up staying till one, and we had Rebeka over and stayed up till 3:30 am talking, and we’ve had a few other late nights/early mornings lately.) does not feel up for any of them. Hence, I have decided to try free writing again. Which is what I am doing, in case you hadn’t noticed. Hopefully you did. Ahem.

Anyways… this morning we watched a really awesome video about the way the church is currently, especially the youth culture. We’ve never been fans of youth groups and Sunday school and such,  so it wasn’t as if it was new information, but it was very well presented and thoroughly enjoyed. And also it was fun watching everyone get all excited and start on various rants. 😀 Yes, including myself, though I couldn’t watch my rants.

It’s all so obvious–at least when you’ve been raised the way we have been…unfortunately, most people just accept it as the way things are and don’t bother to search it out for themselves. I’m really grateful for the time all these men took to make this video to help open more and more eyes.

At one point several years ago, we got sucked into Sunday school (though, heh, I was in “fifth grade” for several years, ’cause I wasn’t allowed to move up to youth group. :D) and we noticed something dreadful: we were no longer having the same sort of family discussions we used to have. We were each learning our own separate thing, and had our own experiences and people we “hung out” with. They weren’t shared things… it was bringing division into our family. Of course, there are many other consequences, but that was our experience. Hannah and I were talking about it, and we were saying how if the church is doing the same thing everyone else in the world is doing (the music, games, entertainment, etc.) in order to get young people in, then of course they will leave: the world is much better at that stuff, so why would they stay with what the church scrapes together? Not that Christians shouldn’t get involved in the entertainment industry: not at all. I firmly believe that we NEED to be involved there. But that’s not the church. Sure, the church can get involved in that. But it is NOT the church.

Last night, two of our Bright Lights girls and their family were over… I was talking to Heidi, and she mentioned that some of the girls that used to come to Bright Lights said it was “too boring” or “not fun enough” or things to that effect… (Heidi, of course, thought that ridiculous. She loves coming, and we love having her.) Contrary to what you might think, I actually took that as a high compliment–we’re doing something right! We still have a fair sized group of young ladies coming–but they are the kind that will sit through an extra long message– and enjoy it. They are the kind that actually stand around afterwards and talk about God and other worthwhile things. They are the kind of girls that are purposefully seeking to be Bright Lights. They are the kind of girls who are ready to do whatever odd thing Hannah and I come up with. They are the kind of girls who make Satan and this world shudder: they are counter-cultural–and loving it.

And honestly, if girls have the “it’s too boring”  attitude about learning the things of God, I am glad they don’t come. It sounds harsh… but it’s true. Bright Lights is not about having fun: it’s about learning about God. It’s about learning how to be a godly young woman and later wife and mother. It’s about ministering to other people. Can we have fun doing it? Oh, yes. You better believe it. 😉 We are a talented group: we’ve had splendid fun times cleaning the church bathrooms, having small group discussions, preparing to do a program at a nursing home… we don’t need to be doing things that the world labels as “fun” in order to have a good time.

Wow, apparently I am in a rather serious mood… and oh, here comes another serious topic.

Manhood. (Ha, I accidentally typed two “n’s”…. oh, the things that happen when your last name is Mann. *grins*) It’s under attack. Bet you didn’t notice that. *sarcastic* It has always bothered me greatly, but the older I get, the more it disturbs me. I have so many things to say on this topic that they quite overwhelm me… I’m not sure where to start. 😛

First off, I really really really appreciate the young men who are brave enough to actually be masculine in this culture. It ain’t easy, I know. But it is so worthwhile, and you give me and girls like me hope.

Secondly, I really really really dislike it when I see guys who are effeminate. It’s disgusting, to speak plainly. Sorry, guys, but you just don’t make good girls. And I’m not going to call you “men”–guys will have to suffice.

And, while we’re at it, girls make miserable guys.

How about this: guys be men, and girls be women. Wow! What a revelation! 😀 Seriously, folks, it isn’t that complicated. It’s just hard. Especially in this culture…

Oh dear, now we’ve got a whole rant coming about the difference between males and females and all that… help.

But! I digress, so that’ll have to wait. Doesn’t “digress” sound so professional and everything?

Anyways. I’m going to have to write a proper article on this sometime… my brain is too tired to make this make sense, and I really want it to make sense, because I am passionate about it. So! This’ll have to do for now. Consider it a teaser. 😉

My Life is Terrible

Seriously, it is. I have had chronic and rather severe acne for the past seven plus years. I have struggled with low energy, a low immune system, and various other maladies over the years. I have a difficult personality to deal with.

My parents often make mistakes, misjudge me, set a poor example, and so on.

I have seven younger siblings: I barely ever get a chance to have quiet for longer than… oh, about two minutes. I have to share a room with three sisters. I don’t even have a normal bed– I have to sleep on a bunk bed. And every single night I have to climb all the way up the ladder. And every single morning I have to climb all the way down the ladder. My siblings are constantly annoying me–why on earth do they want me to read books to them?? And can’t someone else help them with their school?? And why must I constantly hear of this book or that book?

I have many more chores than most people my age– I have to clean the WHOLE kitchen (which is a lot harder with 10 people messing it up), do the painting, mop, cook, help with homeschooling, and too many other things to list.

I am not married yet. I have no idea how my future will go; only that it will be hard. Many people that I love are far away.

My life is terrible.

[Okay, I’m running out of “My life is terrible” stuff… :P]

My Life is Wonderful!!

Seriously, it is! I have all of my limbs (and they work, too! [Um, we’re reading a book in which one boy gets his leg amputated, and another is lame. So yes, I have been thinking about the blessing my working limbs are lately.]), my eyes see wonderfully, I am strong, I have long hair and I am getting healthier. My acne has taught me much, and is actually a blessing. Low energy causes me to rely more on my God for strength. I hardly ever get sick any more! My personality is actually an asset, and God has been very gracious in helping me to shape it.

My parents are doing a many, many times better than their backgrounds would predict. They have been married for 22 years! They both love me very much and are doing their best to guide me in this new and strange stage: adulthood. They are both very caring, helpful people… much respected and liked in the community.

I have SEVEN younger siblings!! 😀 I am never lonely, always have someone to talk to or play with. My character is constantly being developed in one way or another: I’m sure I am much more patient than I would otherwise be. I am very good at climbing down ladders now! Who knows– maybe that skill will come in handy someday. 😀 I have plenty of chances to practice being a mother–and a homeschooling mother at that. I have loved having babies in the house so often. 😀 They bless me in many ways, and I’m grateful for each one.

I have many more opportunities than most young people to learn valuable skills and help my family. As a result of things being harder for me now, it will be easier for me later. (Haha, we joke sometimes about how when we get married and only have TWO people to cook and clean for, it will seem like a break. :D) I actually like cleaning the kitchen, painting, mopping, helping with school… and so on.

While I am not yet married, my life is very full and blessed. I have a father (and mother) to help. I have siblings to talk to and be with. I am learning more and more to be content with where I am right now, and not pine away after the mysterious “future”. I am learning to make Jesus my all in all, my rock, my comforter. It’s true: I don’t know what the future holds, and I do know it will be hard one way or another. But! I also know the One who holds the future. And I further know that He is good, and that He uses trials to draw us closer to Him. And yes, many people I love are far away. But guess what?? Regardless of location, I have people to love–and I am loved! And for that I am thankful. And not only that, but there are also people here to love, and be loved by. I am blessed.

I know Jesus Christ: the One who created me, died for me, rose for me, and now lives for me. And not only do I know Him, but I am also known by Him!! I have a relationship with the Creator God! And He loves me. I deserved death; but He has given me life. And such life!!

My life is wonderful!

It’s all a matter of focus, folks.

Editing and Sorting Through Freewriting I

I have a few more minutes left, and I’m not sure what to write about. So I’m just going to write as fast as I can and see what comes to mind. At least, I will do that if anything clear does come to mind.

At the moment my mind is rather a muddle. My mind is a muddle? What’s a muddle? Do I want to have a muddle for a mind? Probably not; it sounds too much like a puddle. Though, actually, I do like puddles. They are fun to splash in. And also people look at you rather queerly when you are an adultish person and you are wearing a skirt and splashing in one. Which, for some reason, highly amuses me.

My little timer went off, but I haven’t really written anything worthwhile.

Why do I always think it must be worthwhile? Maybe it’s because I like to add worth to people’s lives. Doesn’t that sound noble? Or maybe it’s just because I’m prideful and I want to seem like I have something to say. That doesn’t sound very noble. At any rate, I like making sense. Which I’m not doing currently. See what happens when I just write whatever pops into my mind? It gets odd.

Speaking of which, though actually it’s not related at all, did you actually try to imagine what it would be like to be separated from God for all eternity? I did, a little bit. It got really scary, and I literally shuddered. So I figured that I would not keep imagining it, because–oh, am I thankful!–I will never have to experience that horrid reality.

I have pondered loneliness lately and in the process, realized that I never have actually been truly alone. Never. What. a. blessing. All my life I’ve either been surrounded by my loving family, or I’ve been in communion with my God. I don’t even know what it’s like to be utterly alone. I can imagine it, but I’ve never quite felt it. Glimpsed it, perhaps, when I was feeling melancholy and not thinking clearly. But never for real.

Anyways, isn’t it exciting that this world isn’t our home, and that we’re going to a better place? And that we’ll get to have God is awesome talks ALL DAY? Except it won’t really be all day, since there isn’t time in eternity. So I guess it will be… all eternity. Which is actually cooler. And not only THAT, but we’ll also be able to see God in all His glory.

You know, the song “I can only imagine” is nice, but it isn’t entirely accurate. We don’t have to imagine what we’ll do when we see God: We know what we’ll do. We’ll fall flat on our faces. Because… He is that awesome and holy, and we are quite the opposite.

Wow, I told you my mind is weird. It went from puddles to heaven. I don’t know exactly how I did that… *ponders brains* Aren’t brains amazing? Didn’t God do a good job?

Speaking of God doing a good job, the sunrise this morning was awesome. First the clouds were gray and rather shapeless…and then the sun rose a little more, and they began to blush a pretty pink, and soon they were all tinged with golden light. It was glorious. And the moon was still out, too, and it was really clear. Somehow it’s much easier to praise God when you’re surrounded by the brilliance of His creation, isn’t it?

Have you had enough of my randomness? Are you glad I don’t normally write my posts like this? Do you see what I mean about being paradoxical? Isn’t that a fun word? It’s long, too. *counts letters* I think there are twelve. Of course, being a homeschooler, I can’t always count on my counting skills. ha ha. See?? This is what I have to put up with. My brain is forever coming up with puns. Good thing I like them… Sorry if they annoy you, but they are just part of who I am– I have a very wordy brain and a very connecty brain… so it does stuff like that.

Anyhow, I had better stop writing now. This is getting weird.

Okay. Bye. I’m stopping. Watch me.

There I stopped.

Oops, nevermind.

The End.

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Bold=That might possibly be a worthwhile stone to polish. (Thought to fractal into an article.)

Bye.