The Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser

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

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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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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Existence

So, I’m sitting at my computer…trying to think of something to write.  It has been quite a while and I have a nice little chunk of time before I need to start chopping up some fruit.  And, if I’m typing, then I will stop stuffing chocolate chips in my mouth.  Yes, semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Unfortunately my mind is blank.  I can’t think of anything deep or complex or even just slightly amusing to share.  My life is surprisingly mellow right now.  I don’t have any big exams or assignments in the next few days.  I didn’t work this morning…I don’t work again until Saturday.

So, instead of just leaving my computer to read or do something productive, I start browsing the internet…trying desperately to find something to spark an idea for words.  I’m wandering…wandering…whoa!  Steve Jobs died.  That’s pretty big news.  The next big news items, right below that headline, deals with Amanda Knox’s recent release.

I realize that these two news items are a pretty big deal but…why?  Why are we, as humans, so obsessed with the lives of people who have no direct relation to us?  I have never met Amanda Knox.  Nothing that happens to her actually affects me.  Now, the same can’t really be said for Jobs (I am currently typing on a snazzy MacBook Pro and, tucked into my backpack, there is an iPod touch…and iPhone is on my Christmas list).  But, is his death really newsworthy enough for the whole nation?  Okay, sure.  Make the argument that his death will drop Apple stock value.  But in the long run, what is his significance?

What is anyone’s significance?

When you stop and think about this great space we live in called “the world”, can you really find any true purpose for your presence here?  Are you doing anything to help anyone?  Will your actions prove to be beneficial in the long run?

If I was to answer these questions about myself…just off the top of my head…NO.  Right now, I am a college student with no career plans to speak of and only vague post-graduation plans (that happens in May…too soon).  My focus is on getting good grades and keeping my apartment clean while my roommate scurries around freaking out about her anatomy test and physics assignment.  Nothing that I do now is impacting the world on a broader, deeper level.  My existence is, when you boil it down, purposeless.  But, then again, that is just from my perspective.

When my roommate got home from a study session last night, we sat (actually, I sat and she stood) in the kitchen talking for a while.  We do things like that often (I like to plop down in our hallway…or a floor anywhere, really).  She came to the conclusion that she is most fulfilled and driven by relationships.  Having a great career is important to her, but it will not be fulfilling in and of itself.  She wants to have someone with whom she can share that success.  I, on the other hand, am terrified of sharing my success/life/house/kitchen/thoughts/fears/loves/desires/bed/etc.  So when I reflect on my purpose, I don’t really look at the people close to me.  I look further out–how do I matter in the world?

Maybe, just maybe though, I should consider my purpose in this apartment and in my family.  I could make the argument that certain members of my extended family couldn’t care less about my existence…but we won’t go there.  I’ll think about my parents and my nana and one of my cousins…I matter to them.  They miss me when I am gone.  And, when my roommate left a little while ago, we bid adieu for 24+ hours due to our hectic/conflicting schedules (I’ll go to bed before she gets home….and leave before she gets up…and get home around 5 pm tomorrow when she leaves to study again…).  That was sad for both of us.  We enjoy one another’s company (most of the time…I don’t always like sharing, remember?).  If I hadn’t been around the past couple of nights, she would have had cereal for dinner.

As I said last night, I am not a relationship-oriented person.  I have to work to make relationships matter to me.  But in the end, once I figure all of that out, relationships are what will give me a purpose.  They are where I will find fulfillment and joy…maybe.

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Make a Mark

So…oober oober delayed.  My failing.  Please forgive me, now…moving on…a Bible Study.

Before you continue reading, I want you to stop and think of a time when God used you in a surprising way.  (Pause for thinking!!!)

A lot of times, we tend to look at particular aspects of our lives and think that they are pointless, not good enough, or insignificant.  Lucky for us though, God can take insignificant things and make them significant.  To get an idea of this in the real-world, check out Peter Reynolds’ book The Dot (yes, I am an elementary education major).  No matter what we think that we can or can’t do, God can find a way to use us.

1 Peter 4:8-11 says  (and I’m putting this in my own words) that we should live loving, showing hospitality, and serving.  These three things can come out in various ways throughout our lives.  We might hold the door, help someone carry their bags, or just take the time to listen to a friend.  God can use our little bit of time, our smile, and even our ability to cook to bring glory to his name.

We have to let go of the grumbling reluctance and the fear of being used so that the smallest things in our daily lives will become the significant things in his plan.

 

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