Wednesday, August 26, 2009

--my heart is heavy

I do not have a lot of words to say tonight. My Meemau[aka my great-grandmother] is dying of cancer. She is 92 almost 93 years old, and she is not saved. I have dreaded the day that I would lose her and it seems to be quickly approaching. She has always been invincible to me. She has been through many very difficult and serious illnesses in the past and has come through by the grace of God. Each time I have hoped that those experiences of near death would draw her to a saving grace in Jesus. It's a difficult subject to approach with her. She is a very stubborn, opinionated and set in her ways woman. She thinks that my family[who are Southern Baptists] believe that only Southern Baptists go to heaven. My dad has tried to explain to her[and she is Lutheran] that we do not believe that. We have tried to make it clear that anyone who acknowledges that they are a sinner, asks for forgiveness for their sins and then puts their trust in Jesus as their personal Savior is saved. I've also had a cousin who is a missionary attempt to witness to her, which only made her defensive because she was put off by the fact that he thought she was not saved and then in front of her got down on his knees and prayed for her salvation[this story coming from her] So my prayer and hope tonight and until the time that the breath leaves her body that she will come to have that saving knowledge in Jesus. That she will give her life to Him. I cannot imagine not ever seeing her again. The joy that would fill my heart knowing I would see her again in heaven would be so incredible. I cannot even explain it. So that is why my heart is so heavy right now. The end is near and it could lead to separation forever. My heart could not take that. I cannot and do not even want to think about it. It hurts my heart to think about it. I have the peace and joy in my heart knowing that I will see my parents, brother, grandparents, and other family members in friends in heaven someday. It is so hard for me to see how anyone could not believe in God. He is so evident in everything. The beauty of a sunrise or the majesty of the oceans. The intricacies of the human body. The miracle of the birth of a baby. My mind cannot grasp how any person could even come up with something so intricate and make it work for thousands of years. God is so amazing. To think the Creator of the world loved me so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, down to earth. He became man. How low he went to do something that no man could do for himself. He came to live a perfect life that led to the perfect sacrifice and payment for our sins. Because the Bible says that:
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord"
Romans 6:23.

We all deserve to die. To put it bluntly. We do. We are all sinners. We are not worthy to even talk to God and enter into His kingdom. Yet God in His great goodness saw fit to do something that no person on earth would ever have the power to do or the amount of love that He
has for us. He sent His only Son! Yes, I'm being redundant, but sometimes people forget who God is and what He's done for us. I forget it everyday. It's something that needs to be hammered into our heads and drilled into our hearts. God loves us. The lowly beings that we
are. The wonderful thing is that God's love is free. God's love is given freely to those who accept the gift of salvation. That is the greatest gift that anyone could ever receive. The gift that gives us full access to God. The relationship that He wants to have with us because we are His children. That relationship that will lead us to an eternal life with Him. I cannot even begin to imagine what heaven will be like. I can just picture a bunch of angelic-like beings in white robes all praising God and singing His praises forever. Hey I can live with that! I'll sing of His love forever. It just weighs on my heart so much how many people that are rejecting that gift because they do not think that they are in need of a Savior. People think that if they just do good works, that is their key to heaven. Doing good works is not going to get a person into heaven. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9 No matter how many good works we do, it is not even going to get anywhere close to covering the payment of our sins. The Bible makes it very clear that we are saved only through faith in Jesus. We are, once we make that decision to live for Christ, to do things for the Lord to bring praise to His name and to use the gifts and talents that He has given us to share His love with everyone we meet. These "good works" are not earning our salvation, because Jesus already paid for that on the cross. These works are for showing our love, obedience, and honor to God for what He has done for us. "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17 He wants us to give of our time and talents to help others and to show His love to the world. That is the whole purpose of evangelism. It is to share the message of the Gospel with the world. And that does not just mean sharing it with people in different countries. There are people in our own backyards, workplaces, schools, and families who need to hear the message about Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. There are so many hurting people who need to hear about the Hope of a Savior who loves them and only wants their best. The peace that comes over you when you know your sins have been washed away and the God of the universe loves you and wants you as a child is so amazing. He is the only One who will never let us down. It's hard to think about that because as imperfect beings we will inevitably let one another down. But God will never let you down. He promises us that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

So my prayer tonight is that my life will be more of an example of Christ's love, and that the words I have written are not misleading but pointing only in the direction of the cross and saving grace of Jesus Christ. I also pray for the salvation of my Meemau. I can't imagine not seeing the one's I love again in heaven. It burdens my heart for my family and friends who do not know Him. I just hope that I can be an encouragement to those who do not have that relationship to make that step...because it's the MOST important decision a person will ever make. It's not an easy road, but it's definitely the best one and the one with the greatest reward, eternal life with our Savior in heaven.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

it still has yet to hit me...

It has almost been one week since Campbell started classes, and I am not there. I am no longer required to attend 85% of my classes and complete my homework, projects, papers or study for exams. I should be jumping up and down right? Was I suppose to feel different? I don't feel anything except for a very blank--I can't really describe it--feeling. I'm not as upset or sad as I thought I was going to be. Maybe it's because I have other things to focus on now, like getting this job that I applied for. Although, I was offered a job...but I really want this other that job I was offered is going to be declined. Please do not think me to be foolish, since I don't even know when I'm going to hear back about this job closer to home. I'm just leaning towards a slightly higher paying job that offers pretty awesome benefits and would allow me about a 15 minute total commute versus an hour or more[depending on traffic]. Yeah. Me with my lovely SUV--aka "The Tank" likes to average about 18 mpg. Hmmm. Cash for clunker?! I don't think so. It's paid off and runs well. So I think I'll keep it....until it falls apart. Haha Because regardless of where I'll be working, I'm still going to be pretty poor. Oh the joys of working to help spur on the youth of America to great things or helping others. Why do the jobs that really mean the most pay the least? --I get so sidetracked-- So I am still trying to patiently wait for the answer to my question. Am I going to get the job at Childcare Network? I sure hope so. I am very thankful though for the constant stream of babysitting job(s) over the past 12ish weeks. And thank goodness for free room and board. :)

I look forward to hearing all about my fellow college graduates' jobs. Two of whom begin their working journey tomorrow. Yay teachers! :) I might join the rank of teachers in a week or so...if the answer is yes. If not, I'll be back to square one. I also need to start studying for the GRE, so I can become a student once again. Whoopee!

Peace and love.

Monday, August 17, 2009

--a reflection.

So as I sit here, I think about the fact that I am no longer a part of the Campbell University student body. I am not in Buies Creek at this moment unpacking and decorating and gearing up for another year of academic bliss. I am not catching up with friends about the summer and hearing about all the adventures that were had. It hasn't exactly hit me, hit me...yet. But I do think about the fact that I have two good friends who are now teachers. I have a friend who has just left today for a year to teach in South Korea. Another friend is off to teach in Hungary. I also have another friend who will be leaving in a few months to serve our country for a year in Afghanistan. I have a few other friends who are beginning graduate school this year..or continuing in their 3/2 programs. This realization is so surreal for me. I am a college graduate. And my life will never be the same. I will never be the same. My friends will never be the same. We are growing up a little more everyday. We are all moving forward with our lives and striving to meet the goals that we have for ourselves. Each of us have chosen a different path to take, yet we are still a part of each other. I know I carry a piece of each of my friends in my heart. There are little things that I hold dear that I can have to help ease the fact that we are no longer in the same small town on the same college campus. I have stories, pictures, and songs that are all apart of my memory of my time at Campbell. All the late night talks, walks, and numerous adventures in the Harnett/Wake county area have ingrained themselves in my mind. I remember dreaming together with friends about the future, I remember late night chats and walks around campus and being up to no good--which really wasn't bad at all. I remember the ridiculous things we came up with in our heads to add comic relief to our oh so boring lives. The songs that were written or sung on many a late nights being "caught" by the security guards as we sang our hearts out to Phantom of the Opera. It's times like this that I wish I could go back to the simple insanity of college life. Oh, how I miss it. Even if there was an unnecessary amount of drama, it all helped me learn about how to deal with conflicts and learn very valuable life lessons. I just wish I didn't take it for granted. I wish that I had more so enjoyed the moments I had...rather than wish the years away. Four years came and went in the blink of an eye. Time has not slowed, rather it has picked up its pace. I can only hope to hold onto the now and not get left in the dust. I have yet to grasp the true reality of where I am now. The fact that I do not start classes on Wednesday is not fully registered. I am hoping now that I hear soon about the job I applied for. I feel like once I hear back, and especially if it's a positive thing, then reality will hit me. Hopefully it won't hurt, but hopefully be a refreshing reminder of this new stage that I am in life. I just hope it doesn't hurt too much when the reality comes. The reality that my closest friends are not close by anymore. That with time we will change. In that time we will grow older, wiser, and further apart. Not because it's a bad thing, but because that is the natural progression of life. I experienced this when I graduated from high school. It was only natural. I got over that change, but this time it's different. These people are my family. My brothers and sisters. Hindsight is always 20/20. Why can't my foresight be wiser?

Change is all around me. Job, grad school, family, life in general. It's time for me to buckle in and hold on for the ride. I only hope that my precious memories will continue to be sweet remembrances and a reflection on the goodness that was the four years I spent at Campbell. A mirror of who I was, am, and will become.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

the waiting...

So yesterday I had an interview at The Childcare Network. It went really well and the director told me she was going to call me today at lunchtime. Well lunchtime came and went today without a call. Every time my phone rang today, I hoped it would be her. So I'm left waiting until tomorrow to see if she calls. I have a very hard time being patient when people tell me they are going to do something and then end up not going through with it. It makes it hard for me to feel patient and very easy for me to be anxious and become easily irritated with the little things. I have a very hard time with some things. When I get stressed out...I have a very hard time dealing with smaller issues. Those small things become major things that really make me angry. I get in this state where I'm so upset that I'm on the verge of tears. I won't let myself cry most of the time because I don't have time for it. But there are several pretty big issues going on right now that have put me in major stress mode. I wish I had a better outlet for it or my own "safe place". I need to really work on these things. It's not good for me to bottle up the emotions. If I continue to do this, then I might just "explode" one day. I don't know what form that would be in. Now I'm not trying to scare anyone. I'm just saying I need like a punching bag or a big field to just scream in. [lol must be thinking..Jilene is crazy!] haha. No, I'm not, but maybe I am? So.....I'm just working on having patience. Learning how to trust. It's not easy for me. I like to have things in my time table and in my control. I just wish I had more clarity on some issues and I wish I had power to resolve others. It's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel...not knowing when the "good times" are going to come. I'm also having a hard time letting some things go. I've had some major flashbacks in the past couple of weeks that have really hit me hard, and I don't know why. Why is it that something I had resolved in my heart four years ago is coming back to haunt me. Literally it has haunted my dreams. Or dare I say, he? Hmmmm. That's just something else I need to work on. Will it ever end? Will I ever stop having things in my life to work on? Probably not. Sheesh. It just continues to illustrate how completely messed up and screwed up that humans are. We are just full of problems. The fleshly side of us really tries to mess up our spirits. We chose to continue in our past behaviors and sins and the fleshly side gets stronger and begins to take us over. It's a constant battle. Sometimes I wish Jesus would come back now. That would make my life SO much easier. Haha. Although I still would like to get married before that happens. We shall see, shall we?

So waiting...

and waiting....

and waiting...

and waiting...
and waiting...

and waiting.

Monday, August 10, 2009

-a glimpse of hope

So as I began this week, I began it in hopes of the future that I know God has in store for me. The sermon on Sunday was talking about confidence that we have in Christ because of our hope in Him and His complete and total care of our lives. He has His hand in every aspect of our lives and is in total control. How comforting to know that a God who created the universe and died for my sins has His hand working in my life? Wow. I certainly take that for granted way toooo much. I forget the grace and mercy that He has constantly bestowed upon me for the past 22, almost 23, years of my life. How is it that I forget that? I constantly wonder how people cannot believe in God and His power, yet I constantly forget how God has a plan for my life He seeks to have me involved. I am always planning out how I want things in my life to go, but I forget to seek God's guidance. No wonder I have so many problems. I am so screwed up, yet there is a perfect God who loves me and wants the very best for me. His best. How much better could my life get? Yes, it's not always going to be "rainbows and smiles" but how can I go wrong when I let Him rule my life? I know there will be a reward for my obedience and the blessing of God's grace, mercy, and love should be enough. I am so undeserving of it.

So, onto what I have on the front of my mind this evening. I have a job interview tomorrow at Childcare Network. It is the first interview since I have graduated from Campbell. I am anxiously excited. I do not do well with things like this and always lack the confidence. But why should I lack confidence when I have the God of the universe on my side? So I am going to try to lean on that promise and confidence that I have in that hope. I know what I'm doing and talking about. I have been as adequately prepared as possible. I have been given the gifts and talents to work with children, and I am to use those, lest they be taken away because I am not being obedient. God will bless my life according to my obedience. He will open the doors that need to be opened so I can use what He has given me. I just need to trust. That is my prayer for the next 21ish hours until my interview tomorrow. I do not know what to expect. I have no idea what is going to be asked. But I will try not to worry. God will give me the strength and confidence that I need to get through it. And if it's God's will, the doors to this job will be opened to me. Then I can begin a new adventure in my life. A full time, for real life--real world job!

Until next time focusing on His peace and love.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my
prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
--Philippians 1:3-6

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

some direction...

So I've decided to put some serious efforts into getting ready to apply to graduate school at UNCG. I am going to begin to study for the GRE and get everything prepared to apply...recommendations, transcripts, application, my job/professional philosophy/goals/etc, and apply for grants and scholarships. I won't be able to start until next fall, so I was unfortunate to not apply to begin this fall...but I hope the time will help to prepare me for the beginning of this next stage of schooling. But I know that I need and want to continue my education. Now I just need to focus my efforts on doing well on the GRE. Whew. I hate tests. I really do. But I can't let my hate of tests keep me from doing something that I think will be very challenging, exciting, and good for me. I know that grad school will do me a lot of good. So, I have some sense of direction. I will still continue to look for jobs, but I'm going to focus more on part time stuff or something that I could do for the next year until I would begin school. Then once school starts next fall, I plan on going full time and focus all my efforts on school. I am excited about this, and I look forward to what the next few years are going to bring to me intellectually, spiritually, personally, socially, etc....

This all thanks to the encouragement of my dear friend, Virginia. :)

Yay for some decisiveness!

until next time, peace and love.

Monday, August 3, 2009

--a job idea--

So, after a serious lack of luck in finding a job in the month or so I've been looking...and yes, I know what you are thinking...a month isn't that long...but let's just say I'm getting quite antsy. I've thought about different things I could pursue. Despite the fact that I'm nearly penniless, but thanks to my weekly babysitting job for the past 9ish weeks, I've been able to somewhat not be so stressed out or feel like I'm a total lazy loser. For real. I just wish there were more jobs out there waving at me saying..."I'm available and you're qualified!" That's only my imagination. So, maybe I could go back to what my dream jobs were growing up. Baby nurse. Negative. Teacher. negative. Basketball player. negative. Singer...hmmm? Maybe I could start a band? I know this is a very crazy dream, but I've always wanted to be a singer and be in a band. Why shouldn't I start one? Well maybe because I lack confidence in my singing abilities or the fact that I have no back up. I can barely play the guitar, so much for a band! But hey...a girl can still dream and wish...and pretend. But I could find some willing participants. I know there are gobs of starving musicians out there looking for a chance to be in a band. So, yeah. In. My. Dreams.

I just wish that something would come soon. After my three weeks stint of this babysitting job are over, I'm going to get back into being more proactive about the job search. Seeing as how, by that time, September will be right around the corner. Ew. September. Normally my favorite month seeing as how it brings my birthday and starts my favorite season of the year. I just love fall, and I use to love birthdays. But this year just signifies that I am thus growing older, and I am getting ever closer to 25, 30....jobless, healthcareless....single. I can deal with the single. Although, I won't pretend that I don't want to meet someone, and soon. The thought both excites and terrifies me. Just saying. I don't have experience in that department. The short stint in high school that lasted a total of 3 weeks....and the almost chance my sophie year of college. Thank God on both accounts it didn't work out. I have been saved from some heartache and potentially poor decisions. I'm still waiting on that one guy that God has for me. The one who will love me for me and be honest, trustworthy, caring, funny, and someone who will challenge me to be a better, stronger person. Someone who will encourage me in whatever I do. Someone I can live life with and have a family with. ---Just a few things I'm looking for.....not to mention I would like for him to be musically inclined and like dogs and be a family man. I don't think I know anyone right now that matches any of these things, but hey....I just never know. He could be right here in Clemmons. Ok, so enough of that. I do have my girly moments where I just wish my "knight in shining armor" would come to "sweep me off my feet". Yes, it might just have to be more like knocking me off my feet, literally. Because once he comes, I might not believe it. haha. Only knowing me.

Wow, I do tend to get off topic. That was clearly a huge tangent, but it's been on my heart....for a while. It tends to make itself known more whenever another person I know gets engaged or married. Or even when some close friends start dating someone seriously. It's all apart of life. I just need to be patient and wait for my turn. Though that is a very difficult thing to do. I think I spend too much time day-dreaming about it. Then dwelling on past "could have been(s)" and that only can open up old wounds and make my heart hurt...depending on the situation.

So back to the job thing...Thank God for the provision of babysitting jobs with Katherine and Kallie this summer. Those have given me more experience and great ways to keep myself busy and my mind off the fact that I'm still unemployed. I'm happy to be able to help out good friends with precious children. It just reminds me of how much I want to be a mom someday. :) So about that guy....

God knows.
He knows what job is going to be for me.
He knows which guy I'm going to meet, become best friends with--fall in love, get know the deal.
He knows everything. I just have to learn how to be....PATIENT.

until next time[and as I'm learning to be patient]--peace and love.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

--just a ramble

Sometimes I just wish that I could turn back time. I wish I could go back to the place where I had the least amount of responsibilities or had freedom to be a child. The times when life seemed easiest and simple. Simplicity is key. I do not equate simplicity with the need to have things and always be available for contact. I could do without email, facebook, and my cell phone. I do not need them. Sometimes I wish I did not have them. I wish I did not feel the need to have to be attached to my cell phone all the time, or even feel the need to check my email everyday or facebook...well more than once a day. [I need to break the habit...or should I say addiction?--it can suck you in] I wish that I could wake up when I want to and not have to worry about having to work[not that I have a job yet...still waiting on that...but do not worry I have not been sitting around being idle all day, everyday since I graduated] I even wish I did not have a tv to watch. There are just way too many unnecessary distractions in the world. Most have to do with technology. And technology gets us all in to some form of trouble. Whether it takes us away from activities that are more important and helpful to our lives. Or it can take us to places that we do not need to go. Bad habits are formed all thanks to the ever so accessible technology that every American feels the need to have and be attached at the hip to. It is a problem. Is there a good solution? Well, I think there is. I have yet to find it though. I am working on not being so attached. But it does suck you in head first and you have nothing to grab onto to keep you from being caught up in the whirlwind of the latest news/gossip/crisis or the latest social crutches that make it easy to not have to talk to a person face to face. What has this done to our social skills? It sure does make it easy to talk to people because you can be whoever you want to be and you can do it in the safety of your own home. Talk about making shy people bold, ugly people pretty, stupid people smart, and real people fake---shocker. That is one of my biggest pet peeves. Fake people. Although I would be calling my own bluff. I can be fake too. Although I do not wish to be, sometimes there are certain situations in which I cannot help but be fake. Situations get awkward or you really want to yell and scream profanity because you think it will make you feel better, but you MUST be the perfect and well put together lady who is always nice and always has a smile on her face. See the trap we can so easily fall into. There are so many social crutches in our society--and all those fake people are becoming more fake. Sooner or later the plastic masks we wear are going to melt or crack---then -GASP- everyone will see us as we really are. I am working on prying the mask off my own face. Because no matter how hard I pretend I am not a fake person, I see something else slap me in the face saying...well you always act like you have it all together, yet you really do not. God help us all. Because it hurts to be real. And no one likes to hurt or even allow themselves to be open up to being hurt. It is not comfortable. I want people to see me as a real, genuine person. Someone who is not perfect, but is trying hard to live a life that is full of meaning and that is pleasing to the One who made me. I am working on opening up and not being afraid to allow people to know me for me. It might not be pretty, but if everyone works together, it will be beautiful.