March Madness, or how to feel connected

 “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” -Ferris Bueller

It’s been almost 4 months since I’ve written a blog entry, it’s not for lack of ideas, but in all honesty it’s been for lack of ambition. Life’s been cruising along, exciting stuff happening all the time, like Thursday night I saw the midnight premier of the Hunger Games. (I am still torn between Gale and Peeta! How will Katniss ever decide?!?
But really, I have been super blessed to be busy of late, this month, March, in particular being the most pressing I’ve had in years maybe. Here is a quick recap. March 1st I head to Glen Rose, America for Disciple Now weekend at first Baptist church Glen Rose, I was to be the Jr high girl’s leader, and I’m not even going to try to deny it, I was terrified. Jr high wasn’t the happiest time in my life, and some parts of me were scared that a girl might make fun of me, call me fat, say I’m a loser because I’ve never had a boyfriend, you know, all the fun stuff that I went through in Jr high…. but it didn’t happen. What did happen was this, I had the most wonderful weekend getting to know a handful of girls who want to know what it was like to feel unloved, unwelcome, unpopular in Jr high, girls who want to know that there is more to life than what color nail polish is popular this week at Rue 21. God sent me there with a purpose, with a plan and a reason to be in these girls lives; I honestly feel they moved me more than I moved them. Girls, if any of you are reading this, I love every single one of you. 

Here I am in Jr High, hott stuff. 

March 7th I hop in a van headed for Tulsa, Oklahoma to find Hanson, after days of searching I finally find them hiding in a basement, where scientists had left them for dead after having made them listen to Mmmbop on repeat until their brains turned to mush.  Just kidding, what I did was even more exciting! I went with three others from Life Point church here in San Antonio to Seeds Conference at Church on the Move! (Where one of the worship leaders actually looked like he could be a Hanson brother) This was a fabulous conference, complete with in-depth studies, practical teaching, and even an after party with a licorice bar, wait staff dressed as if they had just stepped out of Party Down, and all the diet coke you could care to drink! I’m a light-weight, so by two I already had to pee really bad. This was a wonderful experience for me, and I learned a lot that I hope to implement in ministry through the coming years.

March 10th I, along with 15 others from First Baptist Glen Rose, hop on the smallest airplane I’ve even been on in my life.  It was like flying in a can of hairspray. This tiny plane took me to the Houston, where I stepped off the plane in true celebrity status, waving to the crowd that had gathered to wish me a warm welcome, most of this is true, except there was no crowd. Here’s a picture to prove how cool my airplane was: 
Hop off the Plane at AIH
So, in Houston we board a slightly bigger plane headed for the town San Pedro Sula, in Honduras. Upon arriving in Honduras, I was not only tired of sitting beside my 13 year old brother, I was just plane tired (Get it??) but the journey wasn’t over, in San Pedro we get on a charter bus that takes us to the state of La Paz in Honduras, there we arrive in a town called Yarumela (or Jello Marshmellow if you please) at 3 AM. The rest of the week is a blur of eating plantains, talking to people, going to schools, Spanish, evangelizing, walking, sleeping in a hammock in the back yard of my house, and enjoying fellowship with believers in a place where we don’t even speak the same tongues. Yeah, that’s right, you read it here first, Baptists were speaking in different tongues… than the natives of Honduras.  My week there was great, learning from these people what it means to be blessed, what it really means to have a deep meaningful relationship with the painter of the universe.
My experience at Seeds Conference when compared to my week in Honduras is sort of like a really tangible ying yang, at Seeds all of my senses were feed, there were lights, cameras, iPad 2s, state of the art sounds systems, toilets that flushed without a bucket! But in Honduras my iPhone 3gs was state of the art, these people, although they had many things, had nothing that Seeds conference had, yet their worship was fulfilling to them, was meaningful, they connected to God as an old friend. I personally have a hard time worshiping of connecting to God in a real way unless I am at an event like Seeds, where there is smoke reflecting the lights, where thousands around me have their hands up reaching for their creator, yet in Honduras, hands were up worshiping even when the lights were up and there was not even any music to listen to. At first I thought surely this was some weird Honduras voodoo to ward off the Americans, but then I realized, they were sincerely worshiping their creator and best friend.
March 16th I get back to America, after eating a burger at Braum’s to assure myself that I was truly home in the greatest place God made, Texas, I finally make it home to my bed after a long, tiring, sunburning week. The next day to really assure myself that I was home I went to a Mavs/Spurs game.
This past Wednesday, March 21st  My grandpa, Pabob as we called him, passed away, I say this with little fanfare and little sadness in the tone not because I am neither sad, and not because he doesn’t deserve fanfare, it’s simply that I don’t do well dealing with death. My granddad had been sick for the better part of two years, and we knew this was coming. I am sure he was a frail shell of a man when he finally passed, and it is very much a relief for him to stop suffering, but it never makes it easy. The hardest part for me is realizing that although I am sad, and that I will never get to speak to my grandfather again about all the many places he’s been and the amazing stories he had, I am far from alone, many others have lost loved ones too. This is not a new thing, people die all day all the time. What I am saying is trite and cliché, but it is very much true. I have lost my first grandparent now and that puts me into a new category of human being, one that has felt real family loss. I have known others that have passed, and I have had friends who have lost people of great importance to them, but until you feel it yourself you are on the outside. I have moved from sympathizer to empathizer, I have joined a new group of people who are all hurt and broken because they now know intimately that life has an end.
So here I am, Saturday March 24, 2012, sitting on a pile of laundry and looking outside thinking of how beautiful a day it is, and I have a confession to make. Even though almost all this stuff I did was super Christiany, was supposed to connect me to God and help me grow, I am going to spill the beans and come clean. After all this was over I actually felt more distant from God.
All of this stuff had sent me on a crisis of faith or something I guess because I got really apathetic through most of it. From March 1st to March 23rd I think I read my bible 3 or 4 times, maybe. I had starting thinking thoughts like am I really supposed to go into the ministry, why don’t I try to get a job as a dramaturge on a film set somewhere, why do I have to feel guilty and convicted when I know I should’ve handled a situation in a different way. Why do I have to follow what some old dead guy said! Yeah, I was even thinking the dreaded Jesus is a myth thought!
But I am wise, or at least I’m not stupid I guess, or even more likely, Jesus who is very much alive, and not fictional moved in me this morning and inspired me to get back on track with him. I opened up my beloved You version app that has seen so little action of late, and saw the readings I had for today. John 10, 2 Chronicles 8, and Psalms 73.
Another confession: I normally detest Psalms, David’s always like complaining and beling like “ugh woe is me! Kill my enemies God, life sucks, I wish I was dead! People are mean to me and my kingdom” (If you like Twilight and like hearing Bella complain Psalms would be a great book for you to read) But today, before turning to my own personal kryptonite, I thought this prayer, please let this actually apply to me today, lord, please let me know that my doubts are okay, that you are bigger than my doubts and aversions, just let this actually be relevant in my life, and here is what happened….
IT WAS RELEVANT! Please read Psalms 73 real fast before continuing so you can see what I’m talking about.
So there you go, how much more relevant to my life could that be. Sometimes it freaks me out how spot on God can be, it’s like he’s showing off how in control he can be. All my questions like why do I have to live this life? Why don’t I have a boyfriend? Why do people like Jennifer Lawrence get to be famous? Why did you chose to make things this way? Why don’t I get special treatment!!! You know, the ‘why’ questions that humans are so good at posing, yet so terrible at answering, were all being answered, personally, by the God who gave me the ability to pose them.
Today, I want to challenge myself and others to push closer to God, to have doubts, fears and questions, to be confused sometimes about his way, his choices, and his plan for you. If, as humans, that’s how our relationships grow, why would our relationship with God be any different?
I want you all to challenge me in my faith, I want to have a feeling of pressure to read my Bible and spend time with Jesus. I pray that I will have an urgency in my faith, and that you too will feel that urgency.
I want to close with this, it is the passage from Psalms 73 that really struck me:
21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
    and I was all torn up inside.
22 I was so foolish and ignorant—

    I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
23 Yet I still belong to you;
    you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    leading me to a glorious destiny.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    I desire you more than anything on earth.
26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
    but God remains the strength of my heart;
    he is mine forever.
27 Those who desert him will perish,
    for you destroy those who abandon you.
28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God!

    I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
    and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.
Thanks for reading! Now go outside and revel in God’s goodness! 

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2 responses to “March Madness, or how to feel connected”

  1. Love it.-JT




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