Just Once…

**This blog post is a totally unimportant rant. Just wanted to preface that before you started reading.

I love movies. I definitely get that from my dad. I also probably have an affinity because of all of the movies we have gone to see together, and then the inevitable discussion about the movie afterwards.

A couple of months ago, I went to see The Call with two of my sisters. It was a decent movie, definitely keeps your attention, but it is tense… I mean, man was it tense! I think part of the reason the level of intensity stands out to me even still, is because before the movie started I literally had no idea what the movie was about, and thus was more than a little surprised to find myself holding my breath and entirely rigid throughout most of the movie.

That being said, I must say this:
Just once, I want to see a woman in a scary or tense movie not be stupid when facing the bad guy.
Just once I’d like her to call for backup when it’s appropriate.
Just once I’d love for her to have a weapon, and know how to effectively use it.
Just once I’d cheer for her to know how to fight well. I’d love to see her beat the snot out of him, and not just hit him and run.. only to be caught moments later cause she only cut his face and angered him.
Just once I’d like to see her make wise choices.

I get so aggravated when logical survival choices are not followed in movies.

No one in their right mind runs upstairs when trying to get away from a bad guy their own house…

No one in their right mind thinks: “I’ll call for back up later, instead I’ll just go down into this hole in the middle of a field all by myself, without anyone knowing where I am because I think the bad guy is holding someone. I. Am. Brilliant.” *facepalm*

Now, I realize that I have a slightly (ok vastly) different perspective on self-defense, fighting, and martial arts in general (thank you daddy) than most, and probably especially most women (the martial arts world will do that to you.); but, seriously, I cannot be the only one who looks at these movies and thinks, “that may just be the most unrealistic thing in this movie..”

I realize that some of my perspective of this movie, and many others like it really just stem from my view of what I am capable of, and then projecting that onto others. Yet, I feel like it also fits into the same category that people complain about men or dads being portrayed as stupid.. It’s not even close to how most things are.

Just once it would be nice to see the unexpected happen and have a woman make wise choices in a scary/tense movie!

It’s Not About Me…


Lately I have been doing a lot of praying, reading, watching videos, thinking, and talking with various people about what God is doing in my life… But, specifically related to who I am because of Him, and just how big He is to me.

I truly want to gain a greater understanding of just how big He is, and how capable He is

of solving my problems… And then, I want to take it a step further and comprehend just how much He cares about my problems.

But, that actually isn’t enough for me either.

You see, the “older I get” (makes me sound 65), the more I am settling on the solid belief that my life just isn’t about me. And, while I obviously have selfishness, and I struggle with pride, and a slew of other sins, I want desperately to hear the words “Well done good and faithful servant” when I die and go to heaven.

I heard a quote by Curry Blake this week that sums up my basic feelings: “Christianity was about you until you got saved, then it quit being about you and became about those that aren’t saved.”

This thought process began invading a lot of areas of my thinking and I sort of began mulling over what that looks like in my life currently, and what it would look like in the future.Simply put, Christ loved you unconditionally, now you have to go love others unconditionally.

One of the things I settled on is that if I even get married, I really do not want the day to be “all about me” … because let’s all be honest here, at this point if I get married, it will CLEARLY be all because of what God did, is doing, and plans on doing in my life and the life of my husband. I want the wedding, and obviously the marriage to reflect those things.

The next thing I realized is that while I have these wonderful reminders of prayer cards that are full of people and situations to pray for, I tend to pray much closer to the “ask and

beg” side of prayers many times.. instead of praying scripture and standing on scripture. God made us promises for a reason, He literally cannot break those promises.

I also have had the wonderful opportunity over the last few weeks to spend time on the phone, Skyping, FaceTiming, and Google Hangout-ing with so many friends that are literally all over. I have stayed up late, woken up crazy early, and re-arranged schedules in order to get the chance to re-connect with these friends. Or in once instance, it was a random call that ended up allowing us to restore what was lost due to missteps and sin on both of our parts. And, it has been exactly perfect each time. I sometimes forget how much I miss people until I see their face or hear their voice, and then I am reminded why they have such special places in my heart, or I am reminded of how much they taught me in the time that I was able to connect with them in the first place.

These conversations have reminded me with utter clarity, just how much God uses people to speak life and love into us.

The last month has found a lot of things stretching me… Such as singing… in front of people… with a mic in front of my face. I love singing, I enjoy so very much getting to spend the time with the group of people leading one of our services.. And, it has turned into a really fun time with my sister-in-law as well. But, I am worse than not at all confident in my ability to sing well. The most profound thing that has been said to me from the leader was, he wasn’t looking for me to be the best singer, he was looking for me to be the best worshipper. Which, actually changes things quite a bit, especially when it comes to singing worship music. Whether I am up front singing worship songs to my sweet Savior or whether I am singing worship songs standing in my kitchen… It is not about me, it is about rightfully adoring who He is without expecting anything in return for my worship.

When I read the Bible and soak in the Truths that are permeating throughout the entire thing, the only thing I am left with is that I simply cannot look at the history and the way God has moved people and done things and assume it is because of me. Yet, through some crazy, only God could actually pull it off, He’s asking me to step in and be a part of His plan because He loves me more than I understand. But, in order for that to work, I have to constantly work at handing over my selfishness and pride so that Jesus can then use me however He sees fit to express His love of Truth to others.

It just simply isn’t about me, it is about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Experiencing Culture…

Recently I spent two weeks in Europe. I went to Barcelona, Spain, Paris, France, and Venice and Rome, Italy. It was my first real vacation as an adult.. No, really, usually I take extended weekends, but never two weeks to give myself a break from life. This particular trip was to celebrate completing and graduating from a double masters degree program!

Soon, I will post on the different aspects of the trip, but really, right now, I just wanted to take some time to highlight culture.

I love culture, regardless of the type, it fascinate me. Gender, regions, countries, familial, schools, work, etc.. all have specific cultures that are associated with them. Sometimes they are so subtle you never really feel as though you encounter a cultural difference, and then other times, it feels like hitting a brick wall at 350mph… Then, there are a few times when hitting culture shock is much more like clipping your shoulder when trying to cut around a corner too sharply, not particularly painful, but it causes a certain degree of bounce-back, and sometimes bruises.

What was interesting about my recent travels is that the culture I encountered was for the most part what I expected, there were small instances here and there that were unexpected, and even intriguing, but what shocked me the most is (and actually has always been) the return home.

I think the biggest reason I am always stunned by feeling as though I end up getting culture shock when I return home is that it is just unexpected. I expect to experience culture shock when I travel, but I am somehow always lulled into forgetting that I will likely experience it coming home.

This time, I was literally overstimulated and overwhelmed when we landed in Atlanta for our couple hour layover. I suddenly could understand everything being said around me, and then to compound it, there were hundreds upon hundreds of people talking everywhere we went! I found myself actually trying to listen to all of them because I could understand everything being said.  I felt like a child who was overwhelmed and just wanted to cover my ears and squeeze my eyes shut.

It took my brain a solid four days before I stopped feeling odd that I could understand everyone around me. I think this time, while not the longest trip I have taken to a place where I could not understand those around me, it was mentally an entirely different trip. I allowed myself and my brain to wind down and relax, so as we walked around for hours upon hours every day, I did not need to communicate or understand most of what was being said around me. So, instead my mind wandered, and prayed, and rested, and was entirely present. Whereas normally, I am planning, thinking, strategizing, praying, rehearsing, replaying, planning, and basically anything that needs to be paid attention to, I work to pay attention.

What feels odd is that, there are times that I feel like my mind has not kicked back into full gear yet, despite the fact that I have been home for almost a month already. I end up feeling more than a little frustrated that I have not found my normal stride once more. Then, there are other times that, I am so beyond thankful that my mind figured out how to create space to just be present, pray, think, and relax.

I have no idea if I am the only one who experiences this type of culture shock, but it has happened enough times now that I think I have to admit soundly that returning home is always the bigger culture shock to me. Each time I come home the culture shock is different, sometimes it is the noise level, other times it is being able to understand the people, and once it was the sheer amount of visual stimulation and amount of luxury. Each time I come home, I realize how blessed I am, but how much I actually enjoy gaining perspective on the world and myself.

Cultural differences in and of themselves are not bad things, and in fact, I actually think they are good things because they force us to often look at what we see as normal and determine if our normal is actually good or right itself.

Reading Life Again…

I always seem to have seasons where I devour books, anything I can get my hands on is gone within a day or two, and then, there are times where reading is the last thing on my list of to-do’s. Lately, in the last two weeks I have gladly found myself entering back into a love of reading anything I can get my hands on.

What I love about what I am currently reading is it resonates deep down inside of me. It changes me or reminds me of who I am and who I want to be. Sometimes the reminders are good things…. and other times not so much.

Currently, I am reading three things that are literally breathing life back into my dry and achy soul.

The first, and not even a cliché read is my Bible. I have found a new love for what I am reading, and I have stopped trying to force myself to read in the order that my “Read the Bible in a Year” schedule has listed. Instead, I read where I feel pulled, and then just mark that off. Eventually, I will read the whole Bible, but for now, I am reading and finding it filling my life, heart, soul, and mind once more. The Bible is just one of those books that truly has the ability to speak to me and heal me… or remind me of what I was created to do. It challenges me not to lose heart, and it lovingly (sometimes convictingly) reminds me that it is actually not up to me to control things, just to be faithful and follow as hard as I am every single day after Christ. Always the best reminder.

The second book I am plowing through is, Love Does by Bob Goff. It is speaking to such a specific part of my heart that I had begun to forget about. In the book he talks about whimsy, and how love literally does stuff, it does not sit still or wait or speak about the theory of love, it does. Not to mention, Bob Goff is literally crazy, and I wish I could have lunch with him and pick his brain because I want his brand of crazy Christian. Seriously, this may be a bucket item list. I have had Love Does for almost a year now, and yet somehow I never quite got around to reading it. Now, I actually understand why, I needed it for this particular time in my life to remind me of how much I love following Christ, and the freedom and fun that I get to have in that pursuit. I highly encourage you to read this book, and let it remind you that love does stuff… Without expectations, it just does.

The third book I am reading, is actually my second time I am reading it, and it is the Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. Part of the reason I am re-reading it is because my church is having a Summer Prayer Series, and this book is the recommended reading. The first time I read this book it changed the way I pray entirely, and I am excited to read it a second time, and allow it to do the same thing, change me in a new and fresh way. I plan on adding Draw the Circle to this, and do a 40 day prayer challenge this summer as well. I literally cannot wait to see what God reveals to me, says to me, and the ways he will heal me this summer. I wait expectantly, and excitedly… Because let’s be honest, I have a crazy imagination, but God’s is better than mine! 😉

I love reading, truly I do; but, I fall in love with reading all over again when it feels like a healing balm on my heart, mind or soul. These three books are that for me right now, healing and restoring… But, more than that, they are changing me, and changing my perspective of my situation and myself.

This summer, pick up a couple of books, make the time to read them, and then give them space to change the perspective you have of your situation or of yourself… Then, let’s swap stories!

Charm and Beauty…

This month I am focusing my blog posts on Our Perspective of Ourselves. This may be one of my favorite topics because I love taking time to gain perspective on situations. I am constantly telling friends about things going on, then asking for their view on the story or situation I just told them. Wisdom from others is something I never take for granted, no matter how hard to hear and absorb it may be in the moment.

Lately, I have been thinking about a blog post I read not long ago, (and of course I cannot find it again to save my life, otherwise I would give her full credit for these thoughts!) and in it, she mentioned that far too much of her focus in terms of relationships with guys would fall under:
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vainBut a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)


After I sat there for a moment and thought about it, I sadly need to confess that there in lies the majority of my insecurities. Charm and beauty.

I am surrounded by these amazing, charming, and beautiful in every way women.. Many of whom are wonderful (or best) friends of mine, and I often think, “I’m not even close to as beautiful as them…”

Then, I was surprised to read this: “…I have never been nor will I ever be the prettiest girl in the room…” Who wrote this? Jada Pinkett Smith on her Facebook account on May 15th. I was astounded that a woman who I actually think is incredibly beautiful had this perspective. But then, I was blown away because she went on to explain how she met a woman who was 80, and who’s kindness, laughter, and wisdom made the woman intoxicating. Her challenge and reason for the post was to encourage others to be intoxicating, and not focus on beauty. I realized, it is not a “Christian” thing to desire charm and beauty, but to then also realize how invaluable wisdom, kindness… and fearing the Lord is (for anyone, but in a woman especially).

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vainBut a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”

I wish I could say that my focus tends to stay on fearing the Lord, but more often than not, in the morning and throughout the day, my thoughts return to charm and beauty.

I am not a fan of this portion of me and my focus, nor do I intend on letting it remain this way.

My goal this month, and my prayers are for God to shift my heart. To move me each day further and further away from focusing on charm and beauty, and instead focusing more and more on fearing Him, and exploring what that actually means.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vainBut a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)