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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Out of My Control

I like control.

I never have control.

This is something that I am continually noticing as I progress through my life.  When I graduated from high school, I had a plan.  Screw that.  As I approached my senior year of college, I had a really great plan.  Screw that.  I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Just throw a hammer at that.

Time and again, I am reminded that I am NOT in charge of my own life.  That often makes me nervous (see first sentence in this post).  But then some little thing happens and I become thankful that I’m not in control.  God has a way of popping into my life at the moment when I need Him most…when I am about to get lost in my own head.

I was sitting around, trying to figure out a budget.  As an AmeriCorps member, that is very important.  My income is pretty tiny…and, as anyone can tell you, living is expensive.  So, I have these numbers swimming before me (there are also numbers about volunteering hours, intervention scripts, interstates…but those are for another day).  I am wondering how much I can really afford to spend on food if I want to be able to drive to work.  A new song pops onto Pandora:

I’ve got waves that are tossin’ me

Crashin’ all over my beliefs

And in all sincerity, Lord

I wanna be Yours

You Lead by Jamie Grace

This isn’t a new song to my ears, but in that moment the words were so deep and fresh that it seemed new.  I do not belong to this world or the restrictions of my budget in this world.  I belong to God.  And even when I don’t see how things will work out…He’s got it under control (as long as I don’t busy-body my way in to the driver’s seat).

The song goes on to say, “I know what You got for me is more than I can see.”  Just another reminder that God had waiting for the right moment and the right time.  My eyes pick up on the “right now.”  I have spent the past week in trainings and orientations…and it has been pretty miserable.  My brain is so wrapped up in the details that my heart has lost sight of why I am here.

1) God put me here.

2) I have an opportunity to do what I LOVE.

3) No one expected me to move halfway across the country to not get paid (I love surprising people)…that’s just bonus.

With all of that being said…man, it’s great to be reminded who’s in control.  And fifteen minutes later as I am wrapping up this post, Pandora continues to surprise me.  Who knew that God controlled the radio?!?

How great is our God.

Sing with me….

(Chris Tomlin)

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No Turning Back

I just moved halfway across the country to a state I have never visited.  I am living with people I have never met.  I got a job that pays less than $900 a month (technically, it’s a “year of service” with a living stipend…AmeriCorps).  And I am more excited about the possibilities ahead of me than I have been in a very long time!

I no longer feel the need to write about “Chasing Rainbows.”  Right now, I am content to rest under a warm, blue sky and bask in the glory that is radiating down from God.  Not glory on me…but glory on all that He has done.  Moving to the Twin Cities was never part of my plan…it wasn’t even on my radar!  Working for AmeriCorps was also never on my radar.  I am a walking testament to the truth that “God’s ways are higher.”  There is reinforcement from every side that I am in the right place.  Doubts flooded my mind these past couple of weeks as I prepared for the move; but God has continually reassured me that this was His plan all along.  In thinking on this, I came across a verse:

The heart of  man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)

I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. (Proverbs 4:11)

I tried so many plans on my own…but they were all my plans, on my own.  It wasn’t about me.  It has never been about me!  This is all about His will and His timing.  So as I dive into this new adventure, I will be holding tight to that truth.  He has designed a path for me…better than any I could imagine.

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As the Rain Slows Down

Do you know what happens when the sun begins to shine while rain continues to fall?  That is (supposedly) when you should be able to see a rainbow.  I have heard that there the bow of colors is created by a complex scientific process…but I can’t swear by that.

I can swear by, however, that God is good (that’s not sacrilege is it??)  If you have read this blog recently, then you know that I have been searching for God’s will for an eternity (slight exaggeration).  My heart has always known that He would come through but I will admit that my head sometimes doubted.  The rain would fall without fading, without relief…and nothing would happen!  I couldn’t move forward or backwards.  The rain made life difficult, slippery.

My Camping & Climbing Trip

I went camping a couple of weeks ago.  The purpose of the camping trip was to track down rocks to climb.  Unfortunately, it rained one evening.  My friend and I were stuck in our tent for an extended period of time!  And then, we were hesitant to climb because we knew that the rocks would be dangerously slippery!  We had nothing to do besides read…and sleep…and stare at each other.  How’s that for a camping trip?

Ah, but that was not the end of the trip, nor was it the majority of the trip!  The time we spent in the tent gave us the opportunity to relax and refresh.  We had been going hard for several days and probably would not have taken this time off had it not been for the rain.  After the abuse of climbing, our bodies definitely needed some time off!  And when the rain stopped…life was different.  The world was different.  Everything looked and smelled fresh!  Do you know the smell of rain?  Go camping in the rain!  You shall not know the true smell of rain until you smell it out in the middle of the woods (with wildfires raging all around–we were near Laramie, WY).

After the rain

And that is exactly why God sends us through storms!  When our life is overwhelmed by storms, we can spend time fighting them…or we can take that as a sign that we should allow God to restore us.  We can also be reassured that God will bring us through the storm and eventually a rainbow shall appear in your life.

What’s my rainbow?  I have a job…basically.  Sometime in the next few weeks I will be moving to Minnesota to spend a year serving with the Minnesota Reading Corps.  There’s a lot that has to get done before that happens (specifically–finding a place to live!), but I know that the Lord will provide.  He always has…and He always will.

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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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Being Still

I went on an excursion yesterday.  There’s a local “mountain” that I enjoy climbing.  There is a steep path that leads to the base of a pile of rocks.  Multiple crevices between the rocks make summiting an easy task.  It is a climb that I have done several times, each time enjoying it just as much as the last.  Sometimes I have someone to go with me, but more recently I’ve been hitting the trail solo…which I love.

A place to focus

When I am sitting on top of that little mountain all alone, the world tends to fade away.  It becomes easy to focus on things.  Yesterday, I focused on my life.  I talked to God about the overwhelming pressure that I am feeling from every side.  My parents are pressuring me to get a job, completely natural.  The problem is that they are pressuring me to get ANY job.  I don’t want any job…I want a job that will allow me to tap into my passion…go beyond myself…do something worthwhile!  It’s not just my parents, though.  My friends are starting to drop hints that maybe I should focus on the “now”…what can I do right now to better myself?  One friend said that I should just look at it as “just detouring” and another, after mentioning an opening in accounting (blah!) at her husband’s company, said she was “just letting [me] know there are options.”

With all of this, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  I want to do what is right by God…not my parents, not my friends, not even me.  God’s plan is the only one that concerns me right now…and that’s what I could focus on while I was sitting on top of the mountain.

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The Sun Begins to Shine

Seine River at sunset

You know when the weather gets bitter and rains…and rains…and rains…and you begin to lose all hope of seeing the sun?  That describes my year very well.  I have had so many plans that have just been blown away by the wind and I’ve almost given up on moving forward…backwards…anywhere!

And thus, my hope has waned.  I have begun to feel abandoned and rejected by God.  Continuing to believe in His plan becomes more challenging with each passing day.  He has broken my heart and dashed my dreams…does He even care about me?

Just when those feelings of abandonment and the broken heart grow almost unbearable, I hear from Him.  This week, I have had two job interviews.  At the end of a phone interview yesterday, I was told that I would hear from them in a few days, a week tops.  I got an e-mail today.  They want an in-person interview!

It is hard to believe that, just as I was giving up on a future, God brings around some options.  Even though these interviews have not yet panned out, the fact that they concluded on a positive note is reassuring.  God has brought the sun out and proven that He has not forgotten about me.

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Timing

It is not my path to choose.

Timing is everything (well, everything that location isn’t).  In the past, I have been a very punctual person.  I like being on time, on top of things, and on point (I felt a strong need to maintain parallel structure).  Risking my reputation with tardiness is not in my playbook…well, it wasn’t.  But then I started college.

Most people become more organized and punctual when they start college.  I went the opposite direction.  I have become less structured, less organized, and less punctual.  I used to be a straight-up type A personality with OCD-ic tendencies.  I still have those tendencies, but to a much lesser degree and with much quirkier things (I went through a phase where I took three carrots, three slices of cucumber, and three sugar snap peas to lunch every day).  And I still like knowing what’s going on, so my planner is bananas!  But, when it comes to getting to those things, I’m not always there on time.

I say all of that to say that “Timing isn’t everything.”  I have come to discover that there are little moments in your life where being on time and being on top of things isn’t necessary.  Those are often the moments when whatever you are focusing on is more important than where ever you “need” to be.  Stopping to talk to my roommate.  Calling my grandmother.  Making sure that I pull the cookies out of the oven at just the right moment.

These are the little things that I am having to stop and appreciate right now.  I am student teaching; therefore, I am in school for a minimum of eight hours a day!  My time is more precious than ever, especially since I have to go to bed by 11 pm every night!  I am having to exercise a level of time management that has not been required of me since I was in high school (well, there have been weeks when things get overwhelming…but not quite to this degree of constancy).  And, I’m having to prioritize.  There are things that are having to go.  There are also things that I used to think were unimportant…they have become important.

Argh.  Timing is EVERYTHING.  Talk about a circular post.  When we bring up making sacrifices due to the limited nature of time, we are talking about time being the most precious commodity.  Everything takes time.  Nothing is free when time is our currency.  Good grief, that sucks.  I want time.  I want all the time in the world…and not just right now.  Not just to get all of my lesson plans made and dinners made.

I want time to slow down so that I can decide where I am going in my life and how the hell I am going to get there.  Yeah, that’s right.  I don’t know what I am going to be when I grow up.  And, yes, I am in my last semester of undergrad.  I’m majoring in elementary education, but I don’t want to be a teacher.  I don’t know what I want to be.  Up until recently, I’ve been okay with that.  But as the time draws closer and closer, I see other people settling into their futures.  They have jobs, graduate schools, husbands/wives.  And I have…nothing.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…

…a time to plant and a time to uproot…

…a time to weep and a time to laugh…

…a time to be silent and a time to speak…

…He has made everything beautiful in its time.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 (select verses)

Then again, with God on my side, maybe I have everything that I need.  All I need is to trust.  I must be humble in my thoughts and, more importantly, in my plans.  He has the plans…they are not mine to have or mine to make.

Trust

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Boredom…unacceptable

I have discovered the word that describes my feelings towards student teaching.  Yes, success shall surely be mine.  My hold on the English language has tightened so that my noose is wound around her neck…around that delicate muscle called…

BOREDOM.

Ahh!  Yes, there.  I said it.  I am bored.  I hate myself for admitting that.  I hate myself, even more, for falling into this pit of terror.  Argh.  Yes, that is a sound of pure frustration…with self.

Saint-Malo, France

About a month ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop with a friend of mine.  We do that quite often, actually…sit in coffee shops…and talk…for hours.  At our most recent rendez-vous, we discussed boredom.  Our conclusion was that boredom is a state of being in which one chooses to dwell.  For example, you discover that there is nothing good on television on a Friday night.  You say that you’re bored…and yet, sitting on your bed is The Complete Sherlock Holmes.  You choose to dwell in that state of boredom…but there are other options.

Swans

Now, I’m going to take this a step further.  God put us on this Earth with one task: glorify Him.  How in the world, in this mind-blowing, ever renewing, stunning piece of creation (I incorporated photos into this post to remind you of this fact) could we become bored?  And although we have only one task, that task can be completed in a new way, a new place everyday.  We choose to become bored with Christianity because we refuse to look beyond the simple screens (yeah, that was a reference to TV) in front of our eyes.

Tadpoles Playing Hide & Seek

There is a huge world out there that has the potential to drop us to our knees in wonder and lead us to a deeper sense of worship.  Don’t you want that?  Sure, my knees might get a bit beat up (not that it’s a big deal–it happens everytime I go climbing)…but in the long run, I will be stronger and surer of the power that pushes me forward (yeah–totally made some corny climbing references).

Are you ready to stop being bored?  Well then…get ready to fall, my friends.

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