The Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser

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

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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A “Welcome Summer” Rain

I looked for a rainbow today, literally.  After I sat around doing mostly nothing after church this morning, I finally decided (at 6:30 pm) that I should return a RedBox movie that I rented last night (One for the Money–not Katherine Heigl’s greatest work).  Instead of hopping in my car and driving two blocks to a gas station, I decided to walk.  The only problem with this decision was the sound of nearing thunder and the scent of impending rain.  Despite these warning signs, I grabbed an umbrella and headed out.

I never had to open the umbrella, despite the drops that had begun to fall by the time I had the disc returned and had turned homeward.  It was a light, cool rain that marred my shirt and the road.  It had the scent of spring, despite the 80+ degree weather that we have had for the past month.  Although the sun was not shining brightly, I decided to glance around on the off chance that a rainbow decided to make an appearance.  Sadly, there was no rainbow to be found.

On the plus side, God spurred me forward in my chase during church this morning.  The sermon was on praying, something that, despite my strongest protestations, I struggle to do.  I could walk upstairs and get my notes, making this post much more reliable…instead, I am going to opt to dig into my brain and give you the pieces that have remained fast in there.

One of the greatest things that my pastor said was that prayer is a privilege.  How honored are we that the Ruler, Creator, Master of the universe would choose to converse with us?  I am merely a jobless, future-less, plan-less college alum who is about to move back in with my parents.  And yet, God makes a point to reach out and touch me in more ways than I can even say.  He gives me the quiet, “welcome summer” rain.  He has given me a few close friends who do not mock my lost-ness.  He has surrounded me with people who say they will pray for me and encourage me to keep pursuing his will.

Ahh–His will.  This is something else that is in my mind from this morning’s sermon.  People talk about pursuing God’s will…yeah, just like I did.  But as long as we are living as He has called, then we are already in His will!  It is not some wild goose chase; instead, it is something that we do on a day to day basis.  Therefore, I must put aside my concerns.

I do not have to search for His Will.  He has it and that is sufficient.

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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 Own Sardis

Mont-St-Michel

The pastor at my church has been going through the churches of Revelations (see chapters 2-3…actually, you should check out chapter 1, too).  It has been fascinating to consider how the messages that appear to be designed for the people of Ephesus or Pergamum apply to our lives.  Yesterday, we were on The Church of Sardis, which my pastor described as “The Dead Church”.  According to him, this is the saddest of seven epistles.

Consider, for a moment, that you meet Jesus.  Somehow, through some immense moment, He is there.  He looks at you and says, “You are dead.”

Cut to the heart.  That is what this church must have felt.  They had fallen so far away from the passionate love that comes from living and breathing in the Spirit…to be called “dead”.  I loved the metaphor, used by my pastor, of Spirit as water.  The Spirit does for the soul what water does for the body (yeah, I’ve heard that before…but it clicked this time).  We have the choice to drink in that Spirit…or, we can just suck up coffee, soda, and kool-aid.

Basilique du Sacré-Coeur

The sermon was deep and powerful.  As it came to a close though, he said that we cannot blame a dead church for our lack of growth; instead, we can choose to “wake up” (Revelation 3:2).  This statement started my wheels turning.  Although I haven’t dwelt on this much, I realize that at the end of May, I will have to return to my hometown; in turn, I will have to return to the church where I grow.  A church that I now characterize as “dead”.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a beautiful place to grow up.  There were so many loving, helping, guiding hands around me.  But there came a point where I was doing more leading than other church members.  I was a leader in the youth group and my spiritual growth no longer seemed so great a concern.  The focus was on bringing more people in and discipling them.  When I graduated, I didn’t know how to be discipled.  All I knew how to do was lead small groups and participate in everything possible.

University chapel

But, then I came to college.  I found a church that enveloped me with love; I found a family that didn’t ask for every ounce of strength.  Instead, they gave…they inspired…they lifted.  Whenever I go home and attend that old church, my heart breaks.  I know that there is something different from dried out hymns and over-wrought sermons.  I know that there are people who give hugs to homeless people and smile at noisy babies.

I know there is something different…something with life…but, what will I do when I go back for an entire summer?  As I started thinking about this yesterday, I thought that maybe I should just find a different church.  It’s just for a summer…but if it’s just for a summer, why don’t I just throw myself into that old church and try to bring some life into the old dried out leaves? (John 15:1-17)

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Telling Doubt to “Shut Up!”

Would you like to hear something very sad?  The pastor of the church I am currently attending is sick…well, recovering from an oober infection.  So, he has not been in church for the past several weeks.  This means that various members of the church have been presenting the “sermon” over the past several weeks.  Last week, the lead guy in the worship team presented a “sermon”/lesson/devotion…yeah.  He shared story of Jesus walking on water from Matthew 14.  He shared this story and then moved on to a few points.  But, there is one that kind of stuck with me.

When we let doubt slip into our mind, we have a tendency to start sinking.  I completely understand this concept.  I started classes last week…and I’ve still been putting in 20-30 hours at work per week…and I started working on the school paper…and I’m on leadership for this other organization…and…good grief, it never ends.  This would all be fine and dandy if everything could remain calm and organized.  Does anything ever stay calm and organized?

ABSOLUTELY NOT.  It defies the laws of nature…like Murphy’s…or something like that (if anything can go wrong, it will…right?).  Anyways, enough science mumbo jumbo (I love how, after one sentence, I’m just done with it…I tried to help my roommate with her physics homework tonight…it was better than my econ homework).  So…parentheses killed my train of thought.

Little things start to go wrong…either I forget to do a homework question, or I miss a quiz question, or I don’t get an e-mail that I’m waiting for.  Those little things have no right to mess up my life.  Unfortunately, those little things weasel their way into my brain and begin to eat away at my self-confidence, but more importantly, at my reliance on God.  I like to think that I am strong and independent.  But without God, I am nothing.

I must never doubt that, no matter what kinds of weasels are living in my brain, God IS in control.  I have to tell doubt to “shut up” and get out of my brain…no weasels for me.  I’m more of a cat person.

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3. Sunday: Kids!

Okay, okay.  I realize that it has been merely hours since I put up a review of my stargazing/moongazing experience.  But, I’ve gotta go ahead and get Sunday on here…otherwise I’ll be really backed up when Tuesday rolls around since, ya know, I’m unplugging tomorrow.  It will be challenging…especially since I never know when I might get called in to work or another important call/text will come in.  So, here’s what I decided: alternate hours when I can check my phone.  from 6-7 am, I can check my phone.  Then, I have to turn it off for a couple of hours.  Then from, umm, 9-10 I can use my phone.  It has to go away after that until noon…or something like that.  Anyways, that’s tomorrow.  And now…today…kids!

Children’s church was entertaining as always.  Normally I work in the 5+ classroom, but today I was helping out with ages 3-5…and they are hilarious little creatures.  We colored today.  Watching kids color is great.  One little boy was so brilliantly meticulous…his butterfly was lovely!  And then there was the road…we built a road with blocks.  Some boys decided that it would make a book hurdle to jump over…they almost ran into the wall a couple of times.  Oh, and the lemur.

One of the little boys had this little lemur toy.  A lemur–yes!  I don’t know why he had a lemur…but it made me smile.  Kids make me smile as a general rule.  They know how to have fun without holding back.  They savor life and each tiny experience in a way that is nearly impossible once you learn what homework is.  I look at my life and I see all of these little problems (I just ate a whole bag of potato chips; I need to take the trash out; I need to mop the kitchen; I had to work late tonight…).  I don’t look past all of that and see the beauty (I just ate a whole bag of yummy chips; My trash could be smelling way worse–I know because it has; If I wear shoes in the kitchen, I won’t notice that it’s dirty; I have a job!).  You just have to put things in perspective…blocks don’t have to be limited to building…they can be hurdles too!

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On Being Spit

If you are familiar with the Bible, then you’ve probably heard the verse about lukewarm water being an abomination to God..and, thus, you know where the title of this blog comes from.  But, you may not know why exactly.

Actually, it should be pretty clear.  I am a lukewarm Christian.  There was a point, this past summer, when I completely admitted to myself and to God that I doubted his existence.  It was one of those painfully brutal moments…I was sitting in the prayer chapel of a church in France.  There were three other people down there.  Two were noisy, obnoxious tourists and one was down there trying to enjoy some quiet.  And, then there was me.  The chairs were wooden and the floors were concrete.  It was cold and damp.  I just looked up at the names engraved in the ceiling and wondered where God really was…where He would be.

I let my mind run its course and it finally led me to the conclusion that “God might not exist.”  I sat in that basement just letting that thought roll around in my head…like a piece of hard candy.  Only this piece of candy lasted for a while.  It was still there when I sat in a pew at my home church next to my parents.  By the time I returned to school this fall though, it was a very tiny piece of candy.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure that I will ever be free from this piece of sugary torture.  I am a logical person and God is not completely logical…ever.  I look at my life and I feel as though he has been there.  There are particular moments when I know that he was there…but then there are moments when I can’t help but wonder: Why?  How?

What the hell is going on with this world that we live in?  I feel like the my life, that the whole world, is spinning out of control and absolutely nothing, short of an incredibly large meteorite, is going to stop it.  Moments in my life my heart is so on fire for God that I can barely stand it.  Then, though, there are the moments when my heart is so cold that it feels like it might burn my soul.  So cold that it’s hot.

Yet I’m still a lukewarm Christian.  An abomination to God.

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