Friday, February 25, 2011

Dreaming with an OPEN heart...

Wow. Life. How crazy it is, huh? You know the saying, you should always take the time to stop and smell the roses? Well, I wish I could do that. Except for the fact that this is Holland. Roses here are called TULIPS . But, life has been so crazy lately it feels like it's flying by me and I'm just a bystander in my own life. I stand there, watching flashes of images fly by my face and wave as they go by. We are already halfway through this semester and I keep questioning, where the heck did it go? Have I really been at Hope for almost two years already? The scariest part is realizing that I'm almost halfway through my college career. I cannot imagine leaving Hope already. I talked to my cousin today who is a senior here and he is busy trying to figure out and plan the rest of his life with internships and jobs after he graduates. Stressful, to say the least. We all get so wrapped with trying to accomplish everything we want to do and squeeze in as much stuff in the day as possible and we, well at least I, have a hard time remembering that these are the years for LIVING. This is the time to love life, enjoy company, and go to bed when the sun is rising! Life is so short and I am learning that very quickly as I'm realizing how fast time has gone already. I really have always enjoyed the saying, Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. We were put here for a greater purpose and we have to live our lives so we can say at the end that we lived well, we lived happily, and we lived fully. We have to enjoy all of the little moments and laugh as much as possible. We need to forgive others and remember to always forgive ourselves and to love everyone with an OPEN heart. We have to learn to be open to loving even those who may hurt us or let us down. I know how hard it is to open up your heart. I always tend to put walls up scared that I may get hurt. I have continued to be in awe of life. Every time I open my heart a little more, the more love I feel. I love my friends and family so incredibly much and I am so blessed. My brother this week just got engaged! Can you believe it?! I knew it was coming but still about cried when I heard. I am sooo incredibly happy for him and his fiancée. Whoa, weird. I said fiancée. She is so perfect for him that I honestly could not have been more excited to hear it become official. My brother had a huge crush on this girl in high school but they never dated. She graduated and went to school and they hadn't talked in a few years. About a year and a half ago they reconnected and started hanging out. One thing led to another...and now here we are. Getting hitched. They have only been engaged for a week and it is honestly all I can think about. This may be the best wedding I will ever go to. Weddings remind me that I want to surround myself with people that truly love me. I want people that really cherish me and still want to keep me with all of my flaws and imperfections and silly anecdotes. I plan to live with an open heart from now on. Even when it gets hard and I am scared, I am going to remember my brother is getting married and he found that one person and I am going to remember how happy he is. So here it is....Go out and love, REALLY love. Find people that remember your favorite color, that tell you the truth, that stand by you, that tell you that you are beautiful inside and out, that keep your secrets, that LOVE you no matter what. Find those people.

Grace & Peace,

This is from a Youtube video that a friend sent me.

I dreamed I had an interview with God.
"So you would like to interview me?" God asked. 
"If you have the time." I said.
"My time is eternity. What questions do you have in mind for me?"
"What surprises you most about humankind?"
God answered, "That they get bored with childhood. They rush to grow up and then long to be children again. That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health. That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live in neither the present nor the future. That they live as if they will never die, and die as if they had never lived."
God's hand took mine and we were silent for awhile. 
I asked, "As a parent, what are some of life's lessons you want your children to learn?"
God replied with a smile. "To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. To learn they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is let themselves be loved. To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least. To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and it takes many years to heal them. To learn to forgive others by practicing forgiveness. To learn that there are persons who love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings. To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it differently. To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they must forgive themselves."
"Thank you for your time," I said humbly. "Is there anything else you would like your children to know?"
"To learn that I am here. Always."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Reaching the Unreachable...

Wow! What a week! We currently had our mid-Winter break here at Hope and boy was it sure nice to be home for awhile. The week before break I was asked to become a part of Residential Life here at Hope in a matter of days! It was crazy to me to think, "Me?! An RA?!" After I found out that they were considering me I did a LOT of praying. I had so much to think about and not very long to answer. I prayed long and hard and finally decided that this would be a wonderful opportunity to get to know more girls and also I would be getting paid, which is a HUGE bonus. I met with the Resident Director and we made plans for me to move in to my new room the following week which happened to be this past week. So here I am now. Sitting on my single, double-mattress, extremely high bed that I have to climb a desk to get on, soaking in what it means now that I am an official RA. I have to say, I am loving it so far. I think my biggest fear of moving clusters was leaving my roomie and my cluster girls. I prayed a lot this past summer that Maddie, my roommate, and I would get a cluster that was a lot of fun, loved God, and respected the boundaries and let me just say God went above and beyond when He answered that prayer. Even though I had fears, I still trusted that I would get to know these new girls and would learn to love them just as I love my old cluster. So this past Tuesday, I gathered my belongings,  and headed on down the hallway to experience a new adventure. What I've learned so far? These girls are so sweet, funny, hard-working and driven. I cannot wait to see what He has in store for me and the girls the rest of the semester. I think that this was the hardest part...not knowing. I had no idea what these girls were going to be like, how they would like me, IF they would like me, and how much they would need me. I think I've really began to understand God's love through this whole experience. I was nervous and scared and I needed the acknowledgement that this was the right step to take but for a second I thought that He was unreachable. I am humbled by the fact that we have NO IDEA how deep His love for us really is. It is "vast and beyond all measure" to quote from a song. The love He has for me is what helps me know that I am making the right decisions. Sometimes I hesitate and wonder, is God really there? And then I look outside my window at the rain and remember that how could all of this that is created just go BOOM! one day and that's that. I personally love rain. Some may say it is depressing but my favorite, when I was younger, was going out and jumping on the trampoline while it was pouring rain on a warm summer's day. As I got older my favorite place to be became my front porch. I loved to sit out there while it rained after a long day of helping out my parents around the house and just rock on the swing. I could feel God there, I felt as though I could reach him there. I would sit and just listen. Sometimes my family would come out and we would sit and listen together or we would laugh about the day's events or the crazy thing my brother built that day. The thing about rain is that I believe it is God's way of cleaning the world. It makes people tend to stay inside with their families or go to the movies with someone you love cause you haven't seen one or been out in ages. It creates time when everything seems to slow down and be not quite as hectic. Some days I find it especially hard to reach God. Maybe with a new room, new cluster and new people this semester I will find time to sit alone in my room and reach for God. I cannot even begin to describe to you the business of my week and I know many of you are the exact same way. Find a time in your crazy lives to sit and enjoy the rain or go run in it! Enjoy the beautiful weather and the wonderful gift that God has given to you.

Grace & Peace