The Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser

moving across the country…to discover what God has in store

Dreading the Change

Before the week is out, I will no longer be a Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser.  The time has come for me to pack up my bedroom and head south…

to sweet tea

to boys who hold doors open

to higher education

to God’s will for my life

I have to focus on the good things that are waiting for me in Tennessee.  If I consider the less savory things like the humidity, heavy foods, and disrespect for cyclists, my heart will only hurt more.  You see, for the first time in my life, I want to stay.  I’ve always been a go-er.  I never got stickers for resting well during nap time in kindergarten…I wiggled too much.  And I’ve always envied people who have moved around a lot during their lives.  Well here I am, moving after spending only one year a place…and my heart is breaking.

This is a testament to God’s work in my life.  He has revealed to me an ability to love and connect with people that I didn’t know hid in my heart.  Over the past few weeks, my emotions have run the gamut.

Excited!  Excited!  Excited!

Nervous…need a place to live…uhoh…

ANGER—What the hell, God?  This is the worst idea ever.

Me…angry?  Nu uh…oh wait.  What the hell, God?!?  I’m happy here!

Hmmmm….peace…peace…ohmmmm

*tears* nooooooo!

Yeah, that about sums it up.  During a time sitting down by the river, I realized that I was really angry at God.  For the first time in my life I feel like I am in a really good place, and He wants me to leave all of that behind.  It didn’t make sense to me.  And it still doesn’t make sense to me, but I have come to a place where I accept that God has a bigger plan.  He calls us to be faithful during these times of trial and uncertainty…that’s how He is able to prove His greatness to us.

photo-6

Does that mean that I am packing up and heading out tear-free, heart fully mended?  No.  I have come to love my house church family, my neighborhood coffee shop, the little boy that I tutor, my climbing gym, easy access to bike trails…this city has so much going for it.  But I am comforted by the knowledge that God has something going on for me about 850 miles away.  I have no idea what it is…and it’s a little exciting to think about it.

*brightening* Nashville has a good music scene…right?

Making new friends means finding new coffee shops

I get to see how God is working in other places!

(Also…the name of the blog will have to change…time to start thinking)

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Revisiting My Fear of the Box

Dream series

a glimpse into MY dreams

A year ago, my life was topsy turvy.  I had no plans and that was terrifying.  I was banking on one program: a teaching assistantship in France.  When I didn’t get into the program (I found out in early April), I was heartbroken and wrote:

“I had just known in my head and my heart that it was so right for me!  I wasn’t ready for graduate school or a “grown-up” job.  I just needed someplace to go for a year while I cleared my head.  It was the perfect scenario–go teach in France for a year and come back with a fresh outlook on my life.  But God broke my heart.”

The topsy turvy nature of my life continued for several more months until, like when a woman’s water breaks, everything started happening.  I interviewed for a tutoring organization in Minnesota and, within a month, I had moved to Minnesota.  God gave me exactly what I need: a year to go someplace and clear my head!  The move was less than unexpected (I didn’t even remember applying for the position with AmeriCorps!)

*sidenote: I’m back in that coffee shop.  The conversation that I get to overhear?  Learning about someone’s experience with a c-section*

Anyways, I jumped into the unexpected and trusted that God had something in store for me.  Boy, did I ever underestimate Him!  Looking back and looking forward (yeah–I’m talented like an owl), I can see how this is exactly what I needed this year.  In many ways, France would have been easy.  I doubt that I would have had the honor to work with kids from refugee families, living at or below poverty level, and who don’t speak English at home.  I wouldn’t have developed a throbbing passion to work in the early childhood field, preparing three and four year olds for the world that is public education.  The classrooms that have surrounded me this year have given me more direction that I have ever had.  And more importantly, I feel that God is in that direction.  He’s right here with me, pointing me there!

looking back

looking back

I had a specific purpose when I started this blog post…and it was to look forwards more and backwards less.  But this reflection on the past year has been refreshing.  I’ll save the thoughts on all of the tomorrows for another day.  You aren’t going to want to miss it.  Let’s just say…I’m pretty sure that I’m not in the box.

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Praying for Daylight

“Pray for daylight”

–the pastor at the church I randomly chose to attend this morning

I grew up in a fairly small town that has enough churches to “fuel” a much larger town.  But, I spent my whole childhood and adolescence attending one particular church.  While being home for the summer (in limbo between past and future), I’ve toyed with the idea of visiting a different church.  I know that the “home church” can’t support me in the proper way right now.  It is not an inherently bad church…it’s just not what I’m looking for.  I’m looking for something more authentic and raw.  So, after being out of town for two Sundays and missing Christian fellowship, I decided, on a whim, to visit this random church.  I arrived approximately fifteen minutes late, but that meant that I didn’t have to talk to many people.  And, it also meant that I arrived just in time to sit down for the sermon…which was about storms.

Go figure.

God would just twist my life around so that when I finally get around to visiting this church, it stabs right through to my soul.  The pastor spoke from Acts 27:10-29, talking about Paul’s encounter with a storm while out in the middle of the ocean.  I have encountered some pretty legit actual storms in my life (I live in Tornado Alley–yay!)…so I’m imaging that out in the middle of the ocean.  Wowzers!  And to think that I run and hide in the bathroom the minute the television starts beeping at me.  Chicken.

Anyways, that’s the physical…let’s think about the spiritual.  There is a storm raging on in my life and all I’ve been able to do is pray for God to open a door and open my eyes widely (maybe add a bell to the door, just to make sure I don’t miss anything).  In the midst of waiting for that door though, I’ve just been begging God to “be.”  I didn’t know the words to express what I needed.  I just needed to know that He was still there.  I’ve been lost in the darkness of this storm for so long…I just want to see a speck of daylight.  Hearing that sentiment from the pulpit this morning gave substance to my months-long prayer.

God, reveal yourself in the daylight.  I beg you not to leave me blindly fumbling around for a door nob.  You know what is best for me, you and you alone.  Allow me to remain in your ultimate plan and purpose for my life.  In your plan and purpose, I find hope.

*the photograph is not really the revelation of daylight…instead it is the passing.  did you really think that I would get up at sunrise???

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Discovering the Valley

For a while now, I might have characterized my life as being in one of those valleys that Christians so often describe.  Most of the time people can pinpoint the beginning and end of the valley.  It is caused by some traumatic event in stark contrast to the rest of their “church-y” life.  And then it comes to an end when everything is straightened out.  Whenever I’ve heard people describe their valleys, they seem so sure about all of it…where they were and why they went there.

I feel like my valley is different.  This valley seems like a vast and open space, not necessarily just a location for torture.  Instead, it feels like I’ve been here for a while and God has allowed me to explore the valley.  There are streams and trees and rocks in this valley.  Although it was terrifying to be in here, I have learned to make the most of it.  There have been unexpected moments of terror.  There’s an intruder…I venture into a new area full of shadows…I climb too high on the rocks.  But for the most part, this valley has been my classroom.

And now…now it is time for me to climb out.  I have learned all of the lessons that are here and it is time for me to graduate to a new classroom.  This valley has been full of pain, but also discovery.  God has continually shown Himself to me in new ways through new materials.  Although there were times when I questioned His existence, His presence has always been in the valley.  More importantly, I know that His presence is carrying me out.

Sometime in the next few days, I will have the next year of my life sorted out (ha!).  I will have a new city and a new job (I’m using that term loosely).  In the meantime, I have to trust that God’s hand is still firmly clasped over my own.  He is leading me through the path to come out of this valley and stand on the top of a mountain.  I may have an intense decision to make, but I know that when all is said and done there will be a breathtaking view before my eyes.

 

*Photos were taken during a recent camping and climbing sojourn to Wyoming.

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Time for a Change

When I started this blog almost two years ago, I was trying to find something more.  I knew that I had fallen into the normalcy of being a Christian and I knew that the normalcy was hurting the relationship I was trying to build with God.  In my first post, I said:

“I do not plan on discovering the purpose of life in general.  But, I would like to figure out what exactly God wants of me while I’m here, living.”

As the blog continued, I took readers on a journey through my past.  I talked about the faults in my early years as a Christian and problems that I have with the world today, in my own personal life and in the greater scheme of things.  Most recently, I wrote about the problem I am currently facing, ya know, figuring out my life.  As I have faced this inner (and sometimes outer) turmoil regarding my future, I have taken note of songs that I hear at church.  Almost every week for the past several months, I have taken the time to jot down a few lines from a song that spoke to my heart.

This week, we sang the song “Oh, Love that Will Not Let Me Go” by the Robbie Seay Band.  There is a line that talks about tracing the rainbow through the rain.  But, I didn’t hear “trace”.  I heard “chase”.  Since then, that line has stuck in my mind.  Right now, that’s what I am trying to do.

GOD has something in mind or my life.  Right now though, He isn’t showing himself to me.  I have searched through every crack and crevice that I have found, but He is still silent.  I think that, at this point, maybe I’m not listening well enough or asking the right questions.  That is why I am going to chase a rainbow.

You see, to chase a rainbow, you must focus your eyes, not on the end goal, but on the journey.  If you lose sight of the rainbow or you get distracted by the rain, then you are not going to make it to the end.  And so, I am on a journey to chase the rainbow.  This is no longer about being lukewarm…it is about wholeheartedly committing to a journey…the journey that GOD wants me to take.

Feel free to share about your journey, where it’s taking you or prayers that you need.  You are also welcome to pray for me on my journey!

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Anything But the Box

We are verging on two months.  My other blog is going strong…but that is irrelevant here.  What is relevant here is that I am beyond the breaking point.

Just over a year ago, I admitted to myself and to those around me that I did not want to be a teacher.  I didn’t really know what I wanted to do…but I knew that I didn’t want to settle into a classroom and get stuck there for 30 years.  So, for the past 365+ days, I have been seeking an alternative.  The first thought was social work.  I pursued graduate schools with appropriate programs (I’ve been rejected by one, accepted to another, and told that I will probably get rejected from a third).  In the midst of applications though, I thought that I might want to be a counselor…so, I started looking at psych programs…short-lived ambition.  I set my heart on teaching in France and applied to a program.  One and a half weeks ago (April 4), I received an e-mail rejecting me from that program.

I had just known in my head and my heart that it was so right for me!  I wasn’t ready for graduate school or a “grown-up” job.  I just needed someplace to go for a year while I cleared my head.  It was the perfect scenario–go teach in France for a year and come back with a fresh outlook on my life.  But God broke my heart.

And thus, over the past eleven days, I have gone back to square one, via the five stages of grief…well, I do not think that I have quite made it to the final stage just yet.  At this point, I don’t even know what to think.  I spent some time feeling that the whole world was full of opportunities; but nothing is clicking.  I just want to see one job somewhere…and fall in love with it…the way I did with France.  Nothing is happening, though.

I feel like I need to remind God that I am here and that I am willing to GO.  I want to beg him to let me GO because right now, one of the options is moving back to Arkansas.  Supposedly I could find a job teaching French somewhere down there.  I don’t want to go back to Arkansas.

God, I am willing to move to Africa…Asia…an inner city where my life-expectancy is lessened due to drive-by shootings.  You don’t need me in Arkansas.  DON’T MAKE ME GO BACK IN THE BOX.

That is how I see Arkansas.  I spent the first 18 years of my life there.  The last four have been spent in Missouri…not that much better.  I am itching to get away to a place where people’s minds and hearts are open.  I am tired of people who judge and people who hold tight to tradition.  Anywhere but there…but here…please God.

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My Story…Today, at least

Friday was rough.  I was facing my future and it was a terrifying prospect.  I dread the next five months (I’ll be student teaching…and I no longer want to be a teacher).  And beyond that, well I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  So, obviously there is a lot of terror–known and unknown!  But then I came across Psalms 121 (thank you awesome Facebook friends!).  For some reason, my favorite part was verse 6: “the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.”  That really spoke to me: God isn’t going to set you up to be miserable.  I found such relief in that verse.

All right, that was kind-of random, right?  Well, I have to open up my heart and let those fears and the comfort that I found in that verse out (that sentence was awkward–sorry).  I am a part of this Christian organization on campus…and a part of the leadership.  We’ve been talking about how we want to become closer to one another, the other members in the group.  Part of that is opening up and just being real, or authentic (that’s the name of the group–Authentic).  I’m not very good at opening up or being real.  I like to keep things in, especially the scary things and the things that are emotional.  But tonight, we are just sharing.  It’s called “Your Story.”  We’re all supposed to show up with a verse in mind and be prepared to talk about how it’s impacted our life.  If I was just any other member, I wouldn’t really have to talk.  But as a part of leadership, it’s kind-of expected…especially since I am probably the “least known” member of leadership (I’m the only senior…I’m quiet…I live off-campus…etc).  This sense of community is important.  It is what we are all about…but it’s terrifying.  To share my burdens and my fears.  I don’t want people to know that I am weak and that I am terrified of what is to come in my life.  Tonight though…I’m ready to share.

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On Sharing

Over the past couple of days, I have been thinking about friendships and opening up.  I didn’t realize that this was the theme of my thoughts until last night, though, at a Bible study.  We started discussing how we are all supposed to share in joys and burdens as a part of the family of God…how sharing helps us grow as a family and as an individual.

I suck at sharing.  Well, not all sharing.  I’m really good at sharing crayons, pencils, cookies…but thoughts, feelings, fears?  Not so much.  Right now, I have a gazillion thoughts, feelings, and fears gushing through my brain and no one knows half of them. My roommate knows about some of them…but she has a lot going on too, so I don’t want to burden her.  And to be perfectly honest, I don’t always feel close to the other people in the Christian organization.  That’s really bad considering that I’m on the leadership team.

I just tend to not like burdening people…like my best friend from high school who is getting married next weekend.  We live three hours apart, so our bond isn’t as solid as I would like for it to be.  And, my heart is hurting because I feel like I am missing out on so many beautiful experiences with her.  My roommate has heard about some of my heartaches…but they go so deep that I’m afraid no one will understand.  And if anyone would, well, it’s just a little problem compared to what others have to deal with.  No one needs to hear my concerns about being a bridesmaid, losing my best friend, finishing my projects, completing my piano jury, and figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. And, even if they did…how would their opinion of me change if they knew all of that?

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An Affair To Remember

Last Sunday (as in–not yesterday), I heard a sermon about love (how great is it that someone was willing to by-pass the typical 9/11 spiel to talk about something as beautiful and pure as love?!).  But, it wasn’t exactly about loving others when they do bad things.  It was about developing a loving, passionate relationship between me and God.

Relationships are not my forte.  To be blunt, I suck at relationships.  I prefer to be independent and self-centered…especially independent.  I don’t like thinking about how I am incapable of controlling my own life or developing a path to success for myself.  In reality, success should not be my ultimate goal…unless success is defined as: falling in love with God over and over and over again.  And, I am far from qualified to control my own life.  I have no experience in control (unless you count the attempts I have made over the past 21 years).

This blog is rambling on and on…this, I know.  I should get to the point…a point!  I want to fall hopelessly and eternally in love with God.  But, that is terrifying because when you FALL, by definition, you have no control over what is happening or where you are headed.

I’m slightly a control freak…Type A…perfectionist…OCD…there are plenty of labels that work and they have all been used to refer to moi.  Now, I have something to be proud of–I’m not as control freak-ish as I was three years ago when I started college (most people get more organized/controlled/etc…I did the opposite).  Nevertheless, I am still terrified of letting go of EVERYTHING…signing over all the control to God (He’s the one who actually has it…right?)…and falling.

Love affairs are typically spontaneous.  They break the rules.  They inspire new feelings and new discoveries.  Let’s hope my love affair goes so “well”.

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The Stove is On

Do you know what’s terrible?  I don’t even remember the last thing I wrote about.  So, I am just going to jump into something new…maybe…there is the slight possibility that this is old…but, no.  I’m pretty sure that it’s new-ish.

I am, and have been, involved with a Christian organization on my college campus.  This year, things have been going really well for the group.  We have grown a lot, developed a solid leadership team, and expanded a pile of ideas.  Last semester, two small groups tried to take off…the boys’ group had a successful take-off and is still flying high.  The girls’ group, on the other hand, has experienced a lot of turbulence.  Needless to say, it’s hard getting a group of college students together in the same place at the same time.

This semester though, the girls are flying high!  We’ve had two meetings and they have both gone really well.  Why am I sharing all of this with you?  Well, umm…I have more or less led the studies both times.  This is a HUGE deal for me.

I was terrified.  I am still terrified.  I shall remain terrified for the remainder of my time leading this study.  I do not feel that I am, uhh, qualified to lead a Bible study/discussion.  And, I am not confident that I know God well enough.

Does that make any sense?  Anyways, our first meeting consisted of a discussion about what the girls’ wanted out of the Bible study.  That wasn’t too difficult.  This week though, Monday to be specific, we got into a bit of meat.  People talked…my greatest fear was that the room would be full of crickets.

So, here is what is going to happen!  I am going to translate my penciled notes into a blog posting…that will appear tomorrow…I think.

Why in the world would I do this?  Well, let’s just put it this way: the stove is turned on and I might start warming up.

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