Monday, January 28, 2008

backwards thinking

...I don't know what's wrong with my brain these days. When I left California I had all intentions of driving back across the United States and move back home come May. I feel like God has specifically placed me here. I still don't know why, but right at this moment I have a strange feeling I should stay. I have to say that this church that I've stumbled upon by God's divine plan is one that has challenged me the most in all of the ones I've attended... all 2! Ha ha. I read Stop Dating the Church by Joshua Harris over the past two weeks. I didn't really know what the book was about - I never read the back for some reason, I figured I would read it since they gave it to me my first time at Resolved last year since I had time now. I was encouraged to find that I had never been a "church dater" in my life. Once I find a church - I plant myself whether they like me or not! I attended First Pres SL until I graduated from high school and FPC SLO until I graduated from college. I was very involved in both through youth ministry and groups of my age level.

It's weird to feel out of place at home with your non-dating ways and Jesus centered ideals and wind up in a place where you fit in like a missing piece of a jig-saw puzzle. I have to say that the weather in Virginia is still terrible and I'm really cold over 75% of the time. I miss the sunshine and the ocean. I miss my family regardless of our dysfunction and my friends even though they don't believe the same things as me and often get annoyed because they think I'm too "preachy" or that something is wrong with me because I don't drink when we go out and I don't date even though perfectly nice guys ask me out.

What are these mixed up feelings? I never thought I would start to feel this way in a million years. I feel conflicted inside. Perhaps I am just feeling the "content feeling" with where I currently reside - here in Midlo - which is good because God wants me to be here, otherwise I wouldn't have come... but does He want me to stay?

Sunday, January 27, 2008


I had the privilege of hearing CJ Mahaney speak this morning at church. When I was home, I had read some of his books and have read another while here. I never expect to meet the people behind these inspiring books. It was refreshing to say the least - to find that the man who had such heart felt words through pages of a book truly believed what he wrote as it was apparent throughout his sermon.

He spoke on 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 as a sermon he entitled "A Warning Label," (I believe these can be downloaded and listened to at though you should not quote me on that!) He said that 1 Corinthians is a divinely inspired warning label to a church in Corinth. Divine wisdom is defined by the cross and must be revealed by the spirit, it was written for our benefit.

The main points:
1) Divine wisdom has a divine origin.
[1 Cor 1:17 - "not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power"], Paul is not against all wisdom, but he redefines wisdom for them - it is not from man, but from God. What matters is how you can be saved from God's righteous wrath, not about how intelligent you appear in modern times. Paul broke it down with a categorical criticism of those the Corinthians admired in order to protect the Corinthians from human wisdom - even though those with human wisdom seemed prevalent in the times, they were doomed to pass away. Paul even gives us the "secret" source of his wisdom - it is not human, this wisdom does not pass for wisdom in this fallen world - it is defined by the cross and reveals God has holy and man as sinful. God is gracious and decreed the sacrifice of His Son on the cross to save us before He began creation.

2) Divine wisdom is revealed by the spirit.
[1 Cor 2:10] Apart from the spirit we do not get it an cannot get it. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal us God's wisdom - why? - because God is infinite and we are finite, God is holy and we are sinful.

**If you are a Christian, you DID NOT discover God!! He revealed Himself to you!**

If you think you are open minded - you are a deceived fool. [This is interesting because in one of my LNRs I was re-thinking about how un-open minded I really am. I always thought I was... until about a month ago and these words from CJ were good confirmation that my new assumptions are correct.] Open mindedness is self glorification, self worship and basically saying you can do better than what God can reveal to you.

3) Divine wisdom imparts a divine perspective
[v16 - has the mind of Christ]. Evaluate all of life in light of the cross.

Application of this word:
1) Discernment
in culture and in the church, this will form protection. NO topic should be considered alone without the gospel. By the grace of God you are perceptive about the most important topic - the truth, the gospel. The most mature person is NOT the most spiritual - there is no secret insight. What it means to be spiritual is tied to the cross. We never move on from the cross of Christ, we only come to a more profound understanding of it.

2) Humility
before God. Why? -so that no human being may boast in the presence of God. Why are you a Christian and others are not? - in the mystery of God's mercy - He revealed himself to us. All of God is only explainable by God, we cannot be self righteous, we should be humble and walk around with tears in our eyes at what God has done for us.

3) Grateful
Our hearts should be humbled by these things, our hearts grateful for these things.

I was thinking about how I've always tried to appease the majority of people and not offend anyone. I state what I believe and feel it's okay for others to disagree. However, my reasons for it being okay were wrong - it is okay because the holy spirit has yet to open their hearts and minds to it, what they believe is worldly, while I have the mind of Christ and can understand what God has done for me. It is not okay to keep it a secret from others or not say anything in order to attempt to not offend others. Not speaking God's word and what He has put on my heart is (I forgot who said this) is saying that I know better than God. God wants us to share His word and be fishers of men and if I refuse to do so - that is not trusting Him and letting my fear of man be greater than my fear of God. God is much more powerful than man could ever imagine being and is to be feared.

I have a lot more thoughts to sort through on my own. I figured I would throw out some of the insight for you all that was covered in church this morning. I'm glad I got a journal while in Virginia since I left my others in California. I like being able to write and doodle and take notes. I'm thankful I was able to be present for the sermon this morning and praying that God will daily remind me that I need to view everything in relation to Him, be humble because I have done nothing, and grateful for what He has shown me and done for me. Have a blessed Sunday.

Friday, January 25, 2008

back in action

Jac is back! I just got the system disks in the mail today from Jeff and am importing all my iPhotos from my external hard drive and making sure all my documents are up to date. External hard drives rock my world. I am so glad I got one. I have over 5,000 pictures that I would have lost if I didn't have one! Crazy. I lost my entire address book and a bunch of school stuff but my pictures are the most important to me. I would have lost a lot of good memories - road trip, Virginia times. I did post some on fb but I have over 4k just from my road trip alone. God is good.

I am going to a girl's discipleship group tomorrow morning. I'm actually really looking forward to it. I know God is working in my heart and changing me to want to prepare myself as Kathy says "to cleave from my family" and befriend more girls so that I can share with them and not have to worry about crossing over into grey areas that I have often had to be indiscreet or very blunt about with my guy friends. Luckily God has empowered me to do so in the past and I have not had many problems telling guys that we're just friends and nothing more. I don't know if that's good but I have had some friends tell me thank you for being so honest albeit it was years after the sting of the initial blow. God is gracious and always looking out for me. How sweet and pleasant it is.

ps. More prayers answered! Sister just found out (it's about 10PM EST) she passed the board exam for optometry school! Praise God for that too. Wow, seriously, I feel like me and God have some amazing connection I never want to lose. I feel like we're more in sync than ever. Coolest experience of my life. Thank you God!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

the weather outside is frightening

...Well it's actually quite nice outside. It was 55 degrees today! Much warmer than it's been the past two days. I ran in circles around the hospital parking lot and building Monday and Tuesday. Today I ran to the golf course. It's been nice to sing while I work even though people say I'm too happy all the time. I have been able to talk about JC and God quite a few times since I've been back at SCH. I know they need to hear it and it breaks my heart to see people so gloomy and sad all the time. I can't really help rockin' to a beat - tapping the counter while waiting for more people during lunch to come and be served while singing a song and keeping myself occupied. I was telling one guy that there was so much to be thankful for. One woman was talking about her 4 ex-husbands and how she has a husband and 2 boyfriends right now. She thought I was ridiculous for saying that I was going to wait and God would help me to find a husband that would be satisfactory so I wouldn't need to look for anything else where. She was very blunt asking me if I'd ever been with a guy and other questions when I said I didn't have a boyfriend and that I don't date. I guess it's good that my life is so different from many around me. I was shocked at the drama people choose to put into their lives. I am so anti-dramatic, I just don't feel that it is necessary.

That's another of my prayers... that God will provide a husband for me. I don't know if I am going about it in the right way... I mostly keep to myself. I've always tried to dress modestly so I don't call attention to myself. In high school I used to get "cat calls" from guys who would tell me how much they liked my legs during track meets/soccer games/tennis matches/cross country meets/other sporting events I competed in... and I haven't worn shorts (except guy shorts that go down to my knees & running shorts while running/working out) since. I guess I figure God will send someone my way if I focus on Him and try my best to live my life for Him. People say I should date and talk to more guys... but should I? I don't think I need to. The kind of guy I want doesn't want a girl to search him out. I want to be pursued, but not in the lame way that society thinks is okay. I don't like it when I get honked at while running (I did today by a truck driver while running down the side of the road! Gosh! Seriously... why is that okay? - and it was definitely not to tell me I was in the way because I was on the opposite side of the road and in the grass), I don't want a guy to like me because of what I look like (obviously I want my future husband to think I'm pretty, but love me because of who I am), I don't want to have to change (other than be challenged to be more Christ-like), pretend to be someone I'm not, or play some "dating game." Maybe I'm stuck in the old days "waiting for my prince to come"... but I trust that God will let me know when it's time "to let my hair down." (I wear my hair down about 1x/year... mostly because I know that guys/people like my hair, ha ha, that's probably a weird reason. I think it's because I feel like they need to earn the privilege to actually see my hair down.)

I'm getting hungry. I should probably eat the lasagna that Mrs. Johnson gave me to take back to Farmville! :) There are so many great people around here. I need to figure out where God is telling me to go/stay/live/be (I just wrote about that the other day). God please help me to stay strong for You and continue to work on the hearts of those I work with. Please help me to keep the joy in my heart that I have while I am working in a negative environment where everyone tells me something is wrong with me because I am happy/singing and praising You while I work.

ps. and what is up with the Warriors losing to the Timberwolves?? Weak sauce!

Monday, January 21, 2008


I got to work at 7AM. While I was driving over, it was 7 degrees. I believe my digits are numb and typing is turning out to be quite a chore (the heater is out of commission in the Farmville log cabin). Jac is still being resuscitated and I should get him back on Saturday from the Mac Pro Shop. It was a good reminder that I spend too much time on the computer. I am going to be even more efficient that I have been. It's nice to not be connected to technology constantly. Sometimes I leave my phone in the car so that I don't have to answer it! I like not checking fb and my email every stinkin' day! I like having more time for qt, devos, running, practicing my guitar, hanging out with the big G-o-d, basically all the things I think are important. Sadly, it's going to cost nearly 300 dollars, but I know everything will work out. It was nice to not freak out about my seminar paper and be able to finish it by Wednesday night. I was surprised at my efficiency. I can do all things through God and I have been petitioning a lot.

I have been praying a lot about discernment lately. I am getting closer to the end of my internship - it's almost the end of January and I graduate on April 25th! Amazing how time flies by. It is a blessing to be wanted in so many places - my family/friends in California want me to come home - my new "family"/friends here want me to stay in Virginia. It breaks my heart. I applied for the Peace Corps as I planned I would two years ago and will be interviewing sometime in the next month. I am not sure if that is where God wants me to go at this particular time, but I am trying to leave all the doors open so He can shut them as He chooses. I am going to start job searching and applying when I get Jac back. I was thinking about trying to work on getting a sports-nutrition related job right off the bat, even if it's not with a pro team it would be good to get experience.

With all of my heart and every fiber in my body I want to serve God and do what He wants me to do, to go where He wants me to go. God has faithfully answered all of my prayers thus far and I know that He will answer my current prayers. I have been praying pretty constantly. My two main thoughts are to pray with expectancy and pray without ceasing... and I plan on continuing to do so. If you'd like to join me, that'd be great. More prayers are always welcome. I need discernment for my future job and location right now. Okay, I'm shivering/literally shaking with cold and I need to eat dinner. This is getting ridiculous!

Monday, January 7, 2008

LNR #1

I've decided to try to write my "late night revelations" (LNR). I really need to get a new journal soon! This is labeled #1 because it is the first one of 2008!

We're our own worst critic. I've heard myself quote that before and again today, but it's so true. We are the only one who know every evil or sinful thought that crosses our minds even if we don't act out on it. I often feel so un-spiritual when around others who to me perspire holiness from their pores. I know that is ridiculous and was again reminded of this with Gene Emerson's message this morning at church. I need that reminder again and again! Why? Sinful me attempts to not compare myself with others, but subconciously does when really the only one that matters is Christ who loves me already and sacrificed the ultimate sacrifice for pitiful, sinful me who gets so confused and lost sometimes when all I really want is to follow Him with recklessness and a childlike faith that cannot be hindered... however, I often feel that the biggest hinderance to my faith... ironically is myself.

Maybe I am judging to quickly. Let me retract that brash statement. Perhaps it is because I often fall prey to Satan's lies, but isn't it my calling to unearth the truth? So, again, perhaps it is me. This brings me to the conclusion yet again that I can do nothing alone. It's funny how that works. I am so weak, yet in Christ I am made strong and it is only through Him that I am redeemed and can do all things - including rejecting Satan's lies and battling them with the armor and weaponry God has entrusted to me; . Friends tell me that the Bible is irrelevant to our society today because it is outdated and was written so long ago, but I have come to the same conclusion that Paul had 2000 years ago - albeit he is much more eloquent.

The problem I experience is ... how exactly do I surrender all I am to God? How do I know I have surrendered everything to Him? I feel like I have with most of my life. I would follow Him to the ends of the earth and back if He asked me to. So far my big decisions He has made for me were minute on the world scale, but huge on the Jill-o-meter. I changed my major disobeying my parents' wishes which was extremely hard for me in more ways than one. I know that ultimately my Heavenly Father over rules our earthly parents, but wow, what influence they have on my life and decisions because they have reared me since birth. Not only was I dishonoring my parents by not obeying them, but I was plunging myself into a world of frenzy in which I would work 40-60 hours most weeks during school and have a miniscule social life during college which is one of the greatest meeting places I will have passed through in my entire life. I moved across the country to pursue 'post-graduate-ish' education of this major my parent's didn't approve of in the first place to a place my parent's didn't want me to go. Talk about a slap in the face. What an ungrateful child. However, it is much the contrary. I miss my family immensely and I do my best to honor them as long as it is not in conflict with what I believe God is tell me to do. I believe that the main thing I struggle with giving is very near to my heart. That would be the realm of marriage and children. I don't mention it to others often but more and more often it has been mentioned to me. I read "Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?" and I was dismayed, though it was brought to my attention that I should be encouraged that I was preparing for marriage and motherhood. I read "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" a few years back, I have not dated, and I try very hard to be open with my intentions in my relationships with my male friends. Since arriving in Virginia, I have discovered that the idea of courting appeals to me, however I am bewildered at how it all formulates and ends up in marriage. Maybe this is how I must show my trust in the Lord... by "waiting for my prince to come." I do not mean this in the literal sense, but I do not intend to be activity searching for a match, nor do I wish to pursue a gentleman as I want to be pursued.

On a completely different note; tonight Kelly asked me if I was comfortable with church. I thought about it and truthfully answered that the "catch phrases" were a hinderance to me. Depending on where you hail, you will have a variety of common sayings. The church I grew up in did not use "spiritual" language [it's not that we are un-spiritual, but we did not use the same terms used constantly here; I just don't know what else to call it]. To say "how can I serve you?" to someone can be taken in more ways than one. If I was offering someone something material I would say, "May I serve you pasta?" for example. However, I would say "May I help you?/How can I help you?" to offer my assistance. To say serve to someone - it could be taken offensively. Obviously people here are not trying to be offensive and I don't take it as such. However, should someone say that where I am from, someone might take it as "Can I be a slave to you?" We are slaves to sin until Jesus sets us free, we are servants of Christ, but not everyone thinks of that when they think of slavery. Frequently (at least in the areas I grew up) when servant/slave/serve is mentioned they think of African Americans in slavery. The thought or mention of this can be offensive to some and regarded with disdain. I do not wish that people would change their language, but I pray that God will remove this road block for me and allow those who do use these types of phrases to become aware of what they may be saying and open a door or bridge for them to share about You and why they want to be seen as servants [this also deters me as we are supposed to pray behind closed doors and not seek praise; I pray in earnst that God removes my close mindedness in this regard as I know that most if not everyone genuinely seeks to serve because of their love for Him. [-This is interesting to me as well as I thought myself as quite open-minded, which further.]

I could be outdated as I have not officially lived at home with my parents for years. However, I am ever aware of what goes on around me. This brings me to another thought. I would say that I am 'street smart' and I have a reasonably good ability to judge a person's character. I have found that people who have grown up in smaller communities are less aware of their surroundings or "don't watch their back" as we'd say back home. I suppose that is a benefit of being exposed to life that is not always amiable. However, I find myself wishing that I could be more carefree and less aware, but I am rendered helpless in this matter. It is programmed in me to be vigilant. This could prove to be adventageous as we are told to be ever watchful for the day that Jesus returns.

In conclusion of all my LNRs, which proved to be many linked together, I would say with great resound that I am most definately a work in progress. I am still being broken down and reformed and shaped, refined as silver by my Creator. I am a sinner, I need encouragement and need to be set straight each morning. My human tendency for pride is a stumbling block that I must hurdle and break free from [as mentioned previously]. My only intentions for making my LNRs public is that God may be glorified. I do not claim to be more spiritual than any other or more knowledgable. I still recall being asked to speak for Junior High Central and I remember my bona fide shock and laughter that emitted from my lips when I heard the request. God has great plans even for the most broken and in-articulate of His children such as myself. I am a little anxious to see/find out what they are, but I must practice patience.

I thank God for giving me the audacity to arrive on the east coast and believe I could make it without knowing anyone in the entire state... and simply trusting in Him. I thank God for providing everything for me and answering all of my prayers. He is indescribable and worthy of all the praise I can bestow upon Him and so much more. There is more to say but since it is very late I do regret that I must retire and save my further random revelations for another occasion. Thank You God for Your love and my life.

Friday, January 4, 2008

beware of what you wish for

...and of what you give as gifts or promises; make sure you are specific.

In an effort to save dinero this Christmas, I made coupons for the Richardsons (the family I live with). I washed dishes for Gabe on the 2nd - the first working day of the new year (he saved them up from the whole day so there were a lot!). Tonight (it's really late and I should be sleeping but I am awake for some strange reason) Hannah used one of her coupons. She knocked on my door while I was doing data entry for our research project and was holding a small white slip of paper - glancing up I asked "dining table cleaning?" as I rose from my bed. She grinned, shaking her head from side to side, and exclaimed "piggy back ride!" with glee. I sprained my ankle on Saturday, it's not bad, but it's still blue and painful. I've been trying to take it easy - I haven't run since I sprained which takes me a lot of restraint. I laughed a little and said "all right, get on" as she climbs on my back and we head downstairs to "run around the kitchen" per her wishes. I assumed it would only last maybe 15-20 minutes and I could get back to the exciting world of data entry.

The coupon reads "Dec 24 2007 - To Hannah Richardson - This coupon is good for 1 piggy back ride any time/distance you choose - happy Christmas! [snowman picture I drew & signed by me next to the X] not valid unless signed - expires 4-25-08." When I made the coupon, I knew she liked piggy back rides because I had given her many in the past. I gave her two because her chore was dining table cleaning and that's easy. I gave Josiah and Gabe one chore each; dishes and living room cleaning respectively and Kelly and Scott got 3 nights of babysitting with a clause of when Jill's homework and schedule permit. [Lucky for them, I don't really have a life and I don't mind watching the kids unless I have a huge project/paper.] Back to the piggy back coupon: I was thinking that any time/distance might be to Sunday Park, from the van to the church/church to van, while we were on a hike, or something random like that. Silly me.

I ended up running around the kitchen from 8:47PM until 9:50 when I dropped her off in her room. Josiah wanted a turn; I tried to explain that it was Hannah's "coupon time" but he didn't understand/care and cried for a good 15 minutes. Jo followed us around and hit Hannah on the bottom with various items ranging from weights [I quickly put an end to that], pillows, spatulas, and his hands. I picked Jo up, tickled him and threw him onto the couch, but the little guy is really persistent. Gabe joined in eventually and threw a pink bouncy ball at us which I picked up with my foot and passed off to Hannah so she could throw it back. Jo and Gabe discovered the joy of hitting their sister and I with pillows and I retaliated by stealing their pillows and defended... eventually just whomping them back since they wouldn't stop. Hannah even brushed her teeth while perched atop my back.

I have to say that was a workout - the most unconventional one I've ever completed in my life. I was so glad when Kelly announced bedtime was in 5 minutes... although 20 minutes passed before they were actually sent to bed. Literally dripping from my face; searing pain running up the outside of my ankle - it was fun, but I was glad I fullfilled that coupons' Christmas gift. Normally when I give piggy back rides it's for ~10 minutes at a time, but idiotic me wrote "any time/distance you choose," [the sprained ankle didn't help any]. It's a good thing God created me to enjoy children! I was thinking as I was quickly showering off that I want to be able to do that with my own children one day and if I don't have kids within the next few years... I guess I will have to stay in really good shape so I can, otherwise I will be too weak to run around with 65 pounds of child on my back while carrying another 56 pound child to be dumped on the couch.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

new year

New year; same me. I used to think the stroke of midnight would bring about some great change within me, but it doesn't. I feel the same, think the same, and act the same. I haven't made a resolution since the year I resolved not to make new years resolutions in high school. I have many goals, but those I make constantly throughout the year to improve and work on the person God has created me to be. It is ridiculous to wait until 365 days have passed to finally start "fresh." I always have room for improvement, I don't need to wait until the month I always have to cross out the year on my papers because I wrote the past year for the date instead of the current one. Each day itself is a day to make up my mind when I wake up that I am going to follow and pursue my Savior. Each day I need to renew my faith and strength in the Lord.

I thought to myself the other day: when someone says "so-and-so dropped the ball" - it's a bad thing. So, why is it that we watch the ball drop within the first seconds of the new year every year? It's like we're setting ourselves up for failure. I've never liked watching the ball drop, crazy parties, or scantily clad women in stiletto heels. It seems like it is an excuse to throw a party and for many people I know, it's like Halloween: wearing little to nothing and going out to get wasted. I cannot lose control of myself to another "god" such as alcohol, peer pressure, society, and expectations of others because I have already given God control of my life. There is a reason to celebrate every day, of course my version of festivities includes fellowship, sports, outdoor activities, hanging out, eating, and sharing with one another. Just knowing that God has planned each breath and each day for me fills me with joy. I get excited by nature and His splendor displayed throughout all the days of my life.

What am I hoping for? I hope that I am correctly following the path that God has set me on. I dream of the day when I will find/meet my future husband and eventually get married and have children. I hope that I will be a good mother. I hope that I can be an example to others around me and that I will be an encouragement to them in their faith journeys. I pray that the relationships I make will bring honor and glory to His name. I pray that God will use me to plant seeds, to glorify Him, and for His harvest. I pray that God's will be mine and that His will be done.