Life has been hard lately. Like really hard. Waves of grief come in and out over the loss of my brother, helping sick friends, helping sick family, struggles with fear and anger and worst of all… fighting what feels like a slowly expanding space between myself and Jesus… nothing more terrifying. Do you ever feel tired of fighting? Sometimes, I feel as though I’ve been fighting my whole life. Fighting for my place in this world, to prove my identity isn’t confined to this 3’11” body. Fighting against succumbing to worldly temptations and wanting to just throw my hands up and reach for things I know aren’t for me. Lately, pangs of doubt and fear have come to mind and have felt nearly impossible to fight. Hm, I’m reminded of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (the only C.S. Lewis book I’ve read in its entirety) when at the very end of the book (spoiler alert) Aslan walks away and Lucy wonders when he’ll be back.
“He’ll be coming and going” he had said. “One day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down–and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”
Lately, it feels as though I’ve had to rely on (my very little) faith more than experience. I guess this is what it’s all about, right? This is where I found out if I’m a fair weather follower and turn my back to all of this and take hold of the things I’ve always felt entitled to. Do I have what it takes to endure? To press on and say Jesus… when I said you could do whatever you want in my life, I meant it and you are good in the good and you are good in the bad. Yes. Yes, I do. Lately, I had coffee with a friend and she was expressing how much she hates how hard life is for me all the time. It’s so easy to let that be what comforts me, to immerse myself in the fact that by worldly standards, my life has been very hard and fine, I’ll say it… extremely unfair. But the real truth is I have Jesus. He saved me and without that one fact, the aforementioned comment might be true. But the real truth is, regardless of what happens in this life, my life is good because He is good. And so…
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.” (Phil 3:12-16)
It’s funny how these things kind of bubble out of you. I originally wrote this post to share my thoughts on turning 30 in a couple of weeks, but this seems like a good stopping point.
As my heart is filled with joy and my stomach with spaghetti, I thought this would be a good time to write something down… because who needs sleep? First, I know what you’re thinking. Jess, you said you were going to get rid of Facebook, yet here you are commenting on baby pictures at an alarming rate with no end in sight. Or shall I say site? I know, it’s true. Indeed, this is a hard one to kick. Do I just get rid of it cold rotisserie chicken? Or do I slowly phase myself out defriending people in order of closeness until I’m left to live my own life just so I can post the pictures on facebook and like them? Let’s not get drastic. Plus, I have just recently friended quite a few people… what’s that saying if I friend them and then leave? I haven’t even had a chance to like their sister’s best friend’s cousin’s daughter’s half birthday party pictures yet! That does it, I’ll keep it another week and then let you know. Great talk, I feel much better about this now.
In other news, we had our small group party tonight which consisted of a game of Jeopardy, puzzle piecing and dinner. Not in that order, not that you care, but just in case my blog ever gets audited. Yikes. Anyways, tonight was fun. Nay, tonight was wonderful. Wonderfully funny and just all that stuff that you think of when you’re happy. Jesus, ponies, potatoes, the beach… You’re thinking of yours now aren’t you? Well, I truly do wish that for you. It seems as though every time I’ve been with my small group, I always think “man, I wish more people could be apart of this.” More people need to feel this kind of happiness. The same happiness that came when He pulled me out and saved me and gave me Blue Sky and then gave me this small group… and guess what? I get to do this for the rest of my life. I get to have moments of real pain, times of bliss and everything in between with Jesus from here on out… I’m in it for the long haul and pray constantly that I’ll make it to the end.
Ok, time for bed. Goodnight my bloggy friends.
You know that person who is chronically late? The first few times, they apologize for being late and then it just gets to the point where it’s common knowledge. No words are spoken but it’s universally understood, Norm is coming… but he’ll be late. When he arrives on time, it’s a pleasant surprise. Well, that’s how blogging feels for me. I’m Norm. Gone are the days where I apologize for my lack of posts, but instead hope you see it as a pleasant surprise. So yeah… surprise!
Let’s see, two– well, three things I want to talk about. Something that you probably don’t know unless you’ve seen me in person is that my oldest brother Chris passed away a few months ago. Chris is my oldest brother, my first friend and the guy who I could always count on to walk with me. Grieving has been quite surprising in these last few months, with sporadic feelings of rage, gnawing heartache and sometimes painful silence. In all this though I would be a fool to deny that God has been behind me, has gone before me and has taken care of me in this time. He has given me a loving family, a beautiful sister-in-law and the friends I always prayed to have when I was a kid. I miss Chris every day and am still figuring out how life works without him in it, but sadly and hopefully at the same time, I know it will. Thanks to all who have shown such lovin’ in these last few months. Although I am a quiet processor, even the littlest things have been dear to me.
So, I think I’ll keep this at two things since this might be the hardest transition I’ve ever had to write. Speaking of transitions, I’m getting rid of Facebook. A lot of you won’t care, but for the few who do… I am. I actually was without facebook for a couple of years and it was wonderful. Something you need to know about me is I like people observing… a lot. And facebook is to me, a cesspool of sorts that I often fall into… I am an extrovert to the maximum and I think facebook might be my kryptonite. They are like potato chips… can’t just like one…baby picture.
I know what you’re thinking, Geez Jess, did you just come on here to doom and gloom my day? Actually, I think this lack of facebook will encourage me in reading more, and who knows, maybe Norm will be on time to the party on a more regular basis. I promise my next post will be more full of hope and rotisserie chickens.
Okay, okay, so I’m not trying to make fetch happen. BUT, have you ever tried to bring back very dated slang. Some that quickly come to mind… Wazzup, Dudesy, Righteous, What-ever, SIKE! I mean, I could totally like go on for-ev-er. To confess, I may still bring in the occasional sike and frequently give my best Cher Horowitz “whatever” in my present day vernacular. This evening, in the literal eleventh hour, I have decided to bring back booya… with a twist. Drum roll please… BOO TO THE YA! That’s right you heard it here first. So the next time you see me, please feel free to raise the roof and holla boo to the ya.
And for my viewing pleasure, I give you my favorite animal meme:
Amelia, since it’s your birthday and I’m not writing this blog half asleep, I will try and make this post last a little longer than my usual three sentence maximum. Well, a lot has been on my mind… (**pause for quick Beyonce dance party break with Lauren and Rachel**… okay, and I’m back). Well, something I’ve had on my mind lately is the idea of feelings. I don’t plan on going too deep, but as you can see, I’m on sentence four and we’re just getting started.
I’ll touch on feelings in a little bit. I guess we’ll just start with telling you about my day. Days like today make me thankful for my small group, for my roommates, for Seattle, for Blue Sky… for this blessed life. As previously mentioned, today is Amelia’s birthday so we (my small group) threw a birthday brunch for her. I was in charge of potatoes. They were undercooked, but I’m not going to dwell… on the fact that I even took the time to preemptively microwave them, slice them thin and even fashion a lid out of wax paper to speed the cooking time and even still—- no, no… It’s fine. Back to the brunch, it was just as it should have been. The food was great and all of the usual characters came. Krsh made the waffles, Aaron made a spanish Torta-something, Melissa had bacon locked down, Jess brought drinks and was my ever faithful fried potato sidekick. As each gathering passes, it feels less like an organized small group and more like family. Groupies (Krsh, Emily, Sundar, Amelia, Melissa, Aaron, Jonathan, Lissa, Jess, George, Rocco, Anette) if you’re reading this, bahhhhh you guys are sooo… sooo… awesome. And for the birthday girl… you are a truly wonderful person and I’m so thankful for your dedication to friendships and the truth that seems to be ever abundant in you. It’s evident God dwells inside of you and I think that’s why troubled times feel more okay when you’re around.
Well, this seems like a good stopping point. Remind me to tell you about the time Al and Jeffrey brought in a free 50″ TV into the house. That was really bizarre… and hilarious. Until next time.
PS meaning power skirt. Do you ever wear clothes and think yes, today will be a good day because today I’m not wearing scrubs (literally and figuratively), no, today I am wearing a power skirt. This short but meaningful post is dedicated to Ann Taylor. I think she’s a real person. Anywho, Ann… When you read this, just know you made today a great day.