A Very Rushed Post, featuring a story about my Niece

It’s been an exactly a year since I posted! Oh my goodness. I can’t let this go on. So here I am typing up a little blog post just so that it won’t be “over a year since I’ve posted.” That’s such a terrible reason, and I have almost NO time to type this either.

What’s to report? God is good! So good! All the time! Isn’t it incredible how He can be so good to us and we can still doubt Him when the going gets rough? Our church conference is this weekend, starting tomorrow, and the topic is “Grace through Suffering.” I know it will be good. And since band practice last night, which meant going over some of the songs we’ll be singing, now I REALLY know it’s gonna be good! The songs that have been chosen (I even got to choose one, yay) are so good!

God is very good to us. Sometimes His goodness is shown through his providence. Sometimes His goodness is shown through His discipline. One of the songs we’re going to sing this weekend has a line that says, “Why should I complain or want or distress, temptation or pain? He told me no less.” It makes me think of Job who said, “Should we receive good from the Lord and not receive evil?” If we weren’t so head-smart, we’d be able to see more clearly the goodness of our God in the good times, so that we could trust Him more fully in the evil times.

One time when I was babysitting my niece and nephew I had to swat my niece’s hand. Mariposa was about a year and a half old, and she is generally a very sweet child who wants to please, but she started testing her boundaries just a little. I told her twice not to touch something, and the third time she reached for it, I took her hand and popped it. It probably scared her more than anything. I’m not sure what I was expecting. I guess I expected Mari to get angry and reach for the item again, or I at least expected her to run away. If I had been on the receiving end of that hand-swat, I’m pretty sure I would have been angry, insulted, and rebellious. If I wasn’t angry, I’d be scared and try to get as far away as I could. Instead she burst into tears and fell into my arms. Without hesitation.

I was pretty confuzzled. I had just told her not to get something she wanted, and when she had insisted on getting it, I gave her pain. So why did she run right to me? How did she know I still love her? Why did she think (and rightly so) that she could come to me for comfort, right after I had inflicted pain?

Maybe because in her simple but trusting mind, she’s a lot smarter than the rest of us stupid blockheads!

I don’t have time right now to expound on everything this means to me or just what an impact her trustfulness in me made. I’ll just tell you now that I do love her. She knew I loved her. And after she was finished crying, she continued to cling to me and draw cuddles from me until it was time to go, when she started crying again and broke my auntie heart. I cherish that memory of her. We truly need to have faith more like that of a child.

Until Next Year! (haha, just kidding, I think)

Cheers!
Ellie

It’s enough to know the next step

“Publish Blog Post” says Google Calendar. How can I publish what I haven’t written? I’m pretty sure I deleted the last reminder though and I don’t want to skip over this one, so as I brush poptart crumbs from my keyboard, here’s your latest installment of “How long will it take for Ellie to realize the obvious?”

I take very careful mental notes of everything new, whether new people, new ideas, or new experiences. Depending on how much coffee I had that day, I can usually recall with decent clarity the day I first met someone, thought of something, or tried something. I like to live in that moment and think, “One day this will be a memory.” I’ll store up that feeling and later recall just how it felt, just what I thought, and what came out of it.

It’s a good hobby! I think it comes so naturally to me because I always expect something wonderful to come out of everything. Being on the young side, I realize that small things that happen now could lead to huge changes for the rest of my life. People I meet, places I go, they could one day mean the world to me.

But I’ve found myself lately trying to figure out exactly who that is and where that is. I want to know! I want to know exactly where God is leading me, and I want to pay special attention so one day I can think, “I remember how it all started, and how it felt.” Several times, many times, I’ve thought, “This. This is where God is leading me,” but just as often those doors have been closed, those ideas have failed, or sometimes I just decided it wasn’t for me after all.

So you can imagine the tears, the disappointment, the discouragement, when I am called just to wait and pray. I’ve been tempted to think and feel that there must not be a plan for my life at all. I think I’ve forgotten that waiting and praying isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it can be very, very good.

It also came as an epiphany (although it should have been obvious) that I don’t need see the entire plan before I take the first step. I have so many wonderful adults in my life! As I think of all the conversations I’ve had and all the advice and prayer I’ve received just in the past few weeks, I’m so overwhelmed with gratitude! Maybe I should write a blog post about seeking advice from godly adults. But for now let me paraphrase one of the many helpful people I talked to, “If you believe you want to go to college, than I’d say go ahead and start. You might get a couple semesters in and realize it’s not what you should be doing, or you might get a degree under your belt and decide to go farther. Be in such a relationship with God and be so receptive to the Holy Spirit that you know, not the whole plan, but the next step to take.”

We were talking about college, but the principle applies to the rest of my life too. I can just forget about trying to lay out the whole map of my life. If I can just be so in tune with God that I know the next step, even if the next step is waiting, His plans will come to pass. And I know His plans are wonderful!

With love,
Ellie

A Quick Clarification of Feelings and Gut-reactions

I feel like I need to explain something about myself, because I’ve only recently begun to realize that people don’t think the same way I do. Surprise! Okay, I’m kind of kidding, because I do know that people think differently, but I didn’t realize they didn’t understand my way of thinking, and at the risk of sounding self-centered, I want to explain.

If you’ve known me for awhile or if we’ve had extended one-on-one conversations, you probably know some of my weaknesses. You have probably seen at least part of my struggles, and you probably know some of the doubts I wrestle with. That’s because I usually give out that information without hesitation, especially if you have showed a bit of your own vulnerability to me. But I realize some people might be confused as to why I so readily share those things. Here’s why–because I am encouraged when others share their own vulnerability, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

This will sound mean for a moment, but when I hear that others are struggling with the same things I do or in the same ways I struggle, my first thoughts are thoughts of encouragement (to myself, I mean.) I think things like, “I’m not alone.” “Other’s have been here too.” “This problem is defeat-able.” “We can do this together.” That is why when someone shows a piece of their heart to me, my gut reaction is to show a piece of my heart to them, and show the same struggle in my own life. I will say (or at least think) things like, “Yes, I’ve struggled along those lines.” “That happened to me too at this time and that time.” “I deal with this too.”

What I’m realizing is that this doesn’t always come across as an encouragement. It either comes across as 1) trying to one-up their pain with my own pain or 2) giving them an excuse not to deal with it. That’s not it at all! My pain is no more important than your own, and even though some trials seem so much larger than others, I know that while you’re in them–they are all painful! What might be a small deal for one person, is huge for another, so to each his own. Also, if you are dealing with sin, there is no excuse to let it sit and fester. I only want to be there to help you.

Before I close, I do also acknowledge that my feelings above are not always the case. Sometimes I am in a bout of self-pity, I am too self-centered, and I talk before I listen. That aside, I only want to understand and be understood.

I suppose all I would like to say is that I really do care, I want to fight with you, and I’m sorry if I’ve ever hurt you by talking about myself instead of letting you talk about yourself.

Update on Life, April Edition

April hasn’t been a terribly busy month in the way of events, but it has been in the way of spiritual battles.

April was Camp Nanowrimo month, but sadly, I didn’t compete for more than a few days before I felt it best to quit Nanowrimo this time. And honestly, I feel like I’ve conquered an idol. When November comes, I’ll do it with spirit and gusto, but not with all my heart, nor all my time. 🙂

God has been dealing with me in the way of pet sins, small ones that we think don’t matter but have lasted a long time. Things like attitude adjustment and habit breaking. Sometimes breaking away from those sins can be very painful. I hold on to them and grow more and more depressed, knowing that I will only grow more so, but still stomping my foot like a two-year-old, unwilling to admit that I’m wrong. I still don’t understand how I can be so lenient about some things, and so stubborn about my own comfort. It is painful, but at the end of each struggle is grace and peace.

A funny thing happened after I wrote those two blog posts, Our Fallen World and In the World but Not of the World. I wrote those in perfect conscience, but afterward realized that I wasn’t applying a lot of the truths I had just written about. God has been placing messages in my life to show me where I am holding on the world and where I need to let go.

I’ve been reminded of God’s goodness through some passages of scripture. Psalm 103, being one. Also Psalm 73, Job 42:1-6, Daniel 2:17-23, and Acts 2. (I also heard and have been meditating on this sermon by one of our pastors.)

I recently fell upon an old hymn that not many know, but you’ve got to love.

Matthew Smith has rewritten the melody, which I like more than the original. Go memorize the song. It’s short, simple, and so true!

I’ve also noticed that my blog seems to have become a big love proponent. Every post seems to have the same central message, “Love.” I want some diversity as much as any of you, but I’ve had a recent insight on love that I want to share. It’s good! And it’s short.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is self.

I have had that in mind recently. If only we could love each other perfectly! If we could put aside our own interests to love each other with pure and unhindered love, then our joy in Christ could be full, and we could truly change this world. As for me, I am very self-centered instead of being God centered. I enjoy my own comfort and pleasure too much, but with God’s grace I hope I am getting better.

So that’s inward life right now, and God is always faithful.

The Mexico Mission Trip is coming together!
Last time Psalm 67 had a team there, they visited several Christian Rehab centers. They heard amazing testimonies from the people down there, ex-cartel members and lifelong drug addicts who had come to these centers and heard the gospel. Now they want to be pastors! However they have little resources for studying the Bible, and when our team leader suggested the idea of building a theological library for them, they had an enthusiastic response, even including tears. Several rehab centers asked if we could help put together libraries for them. So that’s what we will be doing on this trip! As far as our funds let us, we will be building shelves with the people there, and giving them books to help them study the Bible. Right now we are raising funds. If you feel led to give, you can visit the blog and donate. Or you can mail:

Psalm 67 Missions Network
3671 Telegraph Rd
Arnold, MO 63010

I’m very excited about the team I’ll be going with. Please pray for them by name:
Sarah and Billy Jackson
Gennie Jackson
Myself
Aaron Sutton
Russ Sanders
Mark Akins
Savannah Weber
Barbara Fudge
John Parker

I’m excited about the church we’ll be partnering with and the ministry we’ll be doing! It’s hard to believe the trip is less than a month away.

As far as reading goes, I have quite a few that I’ve been picking up every day to read.

  • Pentecost Today, a Biblical understanding of revival
  • The Universe Nextdoor, a basic worldview catalog
  • Writing Great Books for Young Adults, not a book for young adults, a book for writing books for young adults. I’ve read it before. Nothing special, I just had an inkling to review it.
  • The Thief, I’ve read it for the fourth or fifth time, and now I’m trying to find out how Megan Whalen Turner writes books so well. I have learned some things, but I also learned that she’s married to a professor. No way! No wonder….
  • The Dangerous Duty of Delight, a wonderful little book, derived from the book “Desiring God,” by John Piper
  • The Brotherband Chronicles, book 2, which is just pleasure reading. I finished all of the Ranger’s Apprentice and moved on the the Brotherband series, which I like more.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, and it’s been lovely. Read it if you haven’t.

I’ve umpired my first game of the season! And compared to the other two games that went on that evening, mine was a piece of cake. I think this season will be much better than last. ;D (Btw, I did end up writing a poem for my test, but it wasn’t nearly as cool because it had real references and made sense.)

And that’s just about my month summed up. I’m sure I’ve left out something, but this post is already too long.

So on to May!

May looks like a lot of fun! 😉 Just you wait.
Ellie

 

Edit: I know what I forgot to mention! Grace Camp Meeting at the beginning of the month! I might make a separate post to show a few pictures and share some notes. But if you want to listen to the sermons, go here. They’re all good!

Beginning Writer and some team work

First, by way of introduction….

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This is Jimmy!!!!

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Alright, so now that you know Jimmy, I can tell you he’s a new writer! He is writing me a lovely story about a “dee” (bee). Today he was super excited to do it–give me a story to edit and revise for him.

He is smart you know! Today he told us, “Lighting bugs must eat the sun.” When I told him it was too cute he said, “I mean, they sit out in the sun so they can glow at night. That’s like their food.” That’s why he should be a writer. I told him so and that is where this started, but obviously he’s had this idea of the bee in his head for quite awhile, since he learned about them in school.

So here’s his story.

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Translation: “Once there was a bee, but he didn’t have wings or a pattern. He was a little worm shape. One day he woke up. He was shaped like a bee, but he did not have a pattern like a bee, so he ate furious but they….”(I’ve only received one page. He’s still working on the second.
After he proudly gave me his work–I revised it. Here’s the second draft:
“Once upon a time there was a bee, well, he was not really a bee, not to himself. To himself he saw only a little worm shape, and honestly, he really was just a little worm. No wings, no stripes.
He waited quite awhile, depressed because he never thought he would be a bee. Not now, not ever. But the day came when he found that his head was shaped very finely, and his body as well. But he was not a bee, and he knew it, because he had no stripes, no pattern.
He went on with his life, admiring his head and eyes, but not doing much else–except eat honey of course; the real bees above poured it down on his head constantly….”
Watch out Washington! Look out Times Square! Here we come to rock the nation!
Happy Writing!
Electric Bubbles

Unexpectancy

It is a hard and strange feeling to try and convince yourself that the person you saw just a few days ago is actually dead.

Jason Moslander and his wife with two small children have been raising support to train and go to the mission field as long term missionaries. Just a few weeks ago they told us excitedly about their plans and the logistics. Elliot was climbing all over his daddy, pulling Jason’s face and shirt as violently as a baby can and Jason tried to keep Elliots fast tongue from moving. Grace laughed at them both. Stephanie added information while holding Grace on her lap. When they showed us a video of their work and samples of the language, I felt myself excited in a way I can’t really explain. Being trained for the Psalm 67 Missions Network, I grew more excited to think about helping this family raise their support and then to keep in contact with them. I saw the Lord working in them and was enthralled. But in a sentence or two I am told this man is dead. Dead very suddenly. So that wasn’t His plans, to send this family as missionaries? The world feels like it is reeling as I try to comprehend all of this–what Stephanie is now going through, what Grace and Elliot will never have, and what plans I thought were from God have fallen apart.

This can hardly be a comforting post so far, especially as I think about the shortness of life, how fleeting and uncertain. I would have thought that if God would keep any man alive on this earth, surely it would have been Jason who had such a heart to preach His word in one of the most dangerous places. Honestly, I don’t even know what killed Jason yet. It just goes to show the uncertainty and unexpectancy of life. But we do have a comfort, even when words cannot express our sorrow. Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ.

If we did not have Christ, where would we go? If we did not have the promises of God, what would we cling to? But we can pray for our sister and be encouraged in the word. God’s plans are established before the foundation of the world. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways higher than our ways. He who began a good work in us will bring it on to completion. His grace is sufficient and His mercies are new every morning.

Great is Thy faithfulness

With tears,

Electric Bubbles

I Boast No More

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.

Isn’t it true that the people who most struggle with pride also struggle most with depression? Every time I am prideful and do not repent I fall into depression, because sooner or later I realize I’m not actually all that. I am not as godly, as loving, as wonderful as I really thought I was, and even when I see improvement in my life–it is only by God’s grace. Without tremendous help, I would only be getting worse and worse. In fact, it is only by God’s help that I breathe, much less love.

Let us learn to recognize pride when it comes and learn the patterns of our hearts. Then we can take every thought captive and turn to the Lord with thanksgiving.

Lord, it is only because of you!

Yours truly,

Electric Bubbles