Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Change is good, and so is God!

It's been a while since I've written/blogged/posted....eh whatever. Haha.

So God's been up to a lot lately. He's been really hard at work...and I could have missed it had I not paid attention. Wow. First off, I have a JOB! PRAISE GOD! Wow. That in itself is so amazing and so incredibly comforting. A burden has lifted. He provided me with a full time job that will provide me with a steady[and fairly decent] income, benefits, and lots of experience with precious children! Wow. Okay, I've said that a lot. But I'm just in awe of how He worked it out! I now know how well God uses people in our lives. He did that last week. So rewind to last Tuesday. Okay...well back it up to the Sunday before...the 20th. I'd been having a hard past couple of weeks with the loss of my great grandmother. So I'd slacked off from my job hunt. I really had not gone anywhere to look since my interview back in August. I see now why things do not work out for my plan. It's because I would not be ready until last week to fully and openly receive a job offer. Only because I couldn't have dealt with the loss I experienced while newly beginning a job. Because starting a new job is going to be stressful in itself. Just because I need to learn how everything works and learn all the kiddies' names and so on and so forth. So He knew that I'd be more ready to jump back into it with [somewhat] full force. So I had decided after being asked by several people about my job situation that Sunday, that the upcoming week I was going to pursue some job openings at some local daycares/preschools. Well I had yet to do anything by last Tuesday...the 22nd. So I'd been out shopping with my mom for birthday stuff. Yes, the joys of being older and being able to pick out all your gifts and taking away the surprise. Well, I like having clothes that fit and are my style. So I had to help mom out with ideas...because I hadn't really given her any. So last Tuesday we went to the mall to first off see Mandisa and Josh Wilson who were giving a concert there during the lunch hour. It was so awesome. Being at the mall, a very secular place, and having children of God worshipping Him in public. How cool is that. I got emotional when I was singing along, so not much came out. I was just in awe of how many people were there and at the people who were worshipping in a public place. This takes boldness to a whole new level for me. Wow. So after we watched the concert we go shopping. After shopping for a bit, we head back toward home to the library so I can pick up some books I had on hold. While driving, my phone began to ring in the backseat. I missed it before it stopped ringing, so it went to voicemail. Once I finally reached my phone, I looked at a number that I did not recognize. I always getting slightly excited about getting called by unknown numbers...because you never know who it is...and it could turn out to be something exciting. Little did I know it was my friend, Ashley. She was leaving me a voicemail as I picked up my books at the library. Then I proceeded to listen to the voicemail after I got my books and was heading home. The voicemail went kind of like this..."Hey Jilene, this is Ashley...and I was calling to tell you I was talking to my director today about you and she would like you to come in. I told her you might go work at some other places, and she said to tell you no...that she wanted you! So basically I found you a job! Call me back soon...." Okay, so this is not word for word, but close enough. Man, try to imagine how excited I was to hear "I found you a job!" Yeah, I was pretty freaking excited! So to make a long story short, I called Ashley back, decided to meet her at 2:45 to go talk to her director, and then the rest is history. I went in, interviewed, and was hired on the spot! Talk about God being at work. How quickly that happened! I was not expecting that at all. I had half expected that my week would consist of me going to take my resume to some different places and maybe setting up an interview. I was definitely taken by surprise. But it was so amazing. And so perfect! God had His hand in it for sure. I'm so thankful. So now I have a few days to enjoy what's left of my freedom and get my "ducks in a row" before I start my new job this coming Monday, October 5th. I'm going to be a permanent substitute, so I'm pretty much going wherever I'm needed. I'm totally cool with that. I'm also excited about having a friend who works there! I think it'll help my transition to the "working world". So praise God for His provision of a job that comes with a lot of great things. I know my Meemau would be proud of me. That was sort of my aim...to go and find something...kind of in her honor. There it was, New Horizons Daycare....how appropriate. I'm at a new horizon in my own life. The sun is beginning to rise on a new day in my life. A new chapter. A new adventure. Change is definitely good. I'm beginning to get more use to it. Change happens so rapidly and unexpectedly. How appropriate with the change of season on the very day I got a job! It's time for a new season in so many different areas of my life. It's time to let Him use me!

PS. I auditioned for the worship team for the new Engage service that we are starting at Center Grove. I'm praying that God will use me in whatever way He decides too. I'm also very excited about the potential opportunity that I will have through this audition. We will see what happens, but I definitely know God is working and He has a great plan.


Monday, September 21, 2009

--it's tough being a woman--

I am so blessed to have the opportunity to go to a Beth Moore Bible study on Monday nights. It helps me fill the void of my old Monday night routine of Monday Night Bible Study. We are studying the book of Esther and discussing how it is tough to be a woman and God's plan and purpose for our lives. Sometimes we forget that God has a plan for us. Sometimes we forget that He is there. Sometimes God takes a behind the scenes part in our lives, but He never leaves us. We just may not feel His presence. I am so excited about learning about Esther and how God used a woman like her to change a nation. What a powerful message of hope and inspiration.

I have especially felt the trials of being a "woman". The only way I feel like I am a woman is the fact that I so unwillingly receive a gift every month. Preceding that gift I became an evil version of myself. I try to mask it, but it still seems to rear its ugly head at those I love. I can get so angry at the smallest things. It makes me want to punch things and break things. I do have somewhat of a temper, I mean I am a redhead and you know what they say about redheads right? If you don't know, look it up. Haha.

Another area that I so try to avoid is the stereotypical "emotional" and "super-sensitive" part of being a woman. I hate crying and especially in front of people. But over the past week I have had my fair share of tears. My eyes have poured buckets on several occasions over the past week, but to particular circumstances which normally are met by tears. I haven't cried that much in a really long time, but I just couldn't prevent them from falling last Wednesday at my Meemau's funeral. We had the viewing and visitation beforehand. I was fine until I went up to my great aunt Kay and hugged her and she asked me how I was doing. I lost it. Then I got better for a few seconds until I went over to see my Meemau's body. I always hate looking at the lifeless bodies of loved ones. They never look like they are suppose to. But my aunt Kay was there to comfort me and talk to me and make me laugh. She told me they had put a wig on my Meemau, but she took it off the night before...because my Meemau would NOT have wanted that at all. She would have said take that d*** thing off me! I was also comforted in her words that my Meemau loved "her baby". I wasn't the baby of the family, but we did have a very special bond. I know she loved me and I loved her dearly as well. The service itself was also another very difficult time. We sung three different songs...all of which I struggled through. I maybe sung about 20 words altogether, but hearing my dad sing out clear and glancing over at my weeping aunts and cousins along with feeling my own grief...the tears just poured out of my eyes. It especially made my heart hurt and my eyes flood again when my great aunt Betty just started shaking and crying hard at the end of the service when they commended my Meemau into God's hands then following that up with "How Great Thou Art" as they rolled her casket down the aisle out of the sanctuary. That song has been sung at the last four funerals I have gone too. Three of them have been my dad singing the song, but this time it was the choir and congregation. It is such a powerful song, but now has very different connotations for me. Most times when I sing the song, my eyes well with tears. The burial was not hard for me. It was very short and sweet and a poem was read...I really can't remember what it said but then her body was committed to the ground and "ashes to ashes and dust to dust"--returning her body to the ground that man was originally formed from--was said. Then we watched as her casket was lowered into her grave. I can't really describe the feeling. It was just surreal, I guess. There was a slight breeze which was almost kind of like imagery of her spirit flowing through each person that was there and touching them. I know that's not how it is, but it felt sort of like that in a way. I don't want that day to be the last day I think about and remember my Meemau. I will always remember her. There are going to be some very hard times. Thanksgivings, Christmases, birthdays, Easter, and maybe a random day when there is something that someone will say or do that reminds me of her. I just can only hope now that she is in heaven. She is the one that planned her service and chose what songs would be sung and the scriptures that would be read. "Beautiful Savior", "Amazing Grace", and "How Great Thou Art" were sung. Psalm 23 was sung in a song by the Requiem Choir and scriptures from Romans, John, and The Lord's Prayer was also sung. Each of those talks about God's saving grace and the truth of the Gospel. I have some hope in that that she did have that relationship and that was her parting gift to her family. The peace that is left behind in knowing that she is waiting in heaven until the day that we are called home.

How I digress, but I had not shared about the funeral yet. I don't know if I conveyed all of my feelings about it. But it was a very hard day for me. One of the hardest. I was comforted to see a lot of my family there and I can only pray for a lot of the brokenness that is in some of my family members. I hope that this will only bring them together and not drive them apart.

So whew....life's tough. And it's tough being a woman. Women are the comforters...mostly. And sometimes it's hard to grieve while also trying to comfort and hold your family together during a hard time. I'm not trying to stereotype, but my mom typically has always been the comforter in my family. I feel like it's just a motherly thing. But that's just me. What do you think?

Anyways, lots of good things coming. I will talk about those later. I'm going to Campbell this coming weekend, so I'm sure I'll have lots to say about my trip after I get back. I can only imagine how much different it'll feel. Being that I'm not a student anymore. Wow. This year has gone by fast. My 22nd year has gone by fast as well. I'll be 23 in two days. Yikes. That's seven years away from being 30....for those of you not good at math. :)

Monday, September 14, 2009


Yesterday I lost my great grandmother, my Meemau. She passed away around 10 o'clock yesterday morning as we were beginning our Big Event service yesterday. I am thankful that I did not glance back at my dad for him to give me the news during the service. I was spared that until right after it was over. He came and told me "Meem is gone" How can it be? How can she be gone. It's not possible. She was going to live forever. I mean she was 93--just turned it on Saturday. She was a glue-like substance that held part of our family together. Sure she was stubborn and had very different opinions that did not meld with my own, but I loved her. So much. She was the only real grandmother I ever knew. Both of my parents mothers died when I was one. They died two weeks apart. When my mom's mom died, I was in the hospital with croup. Then two weeks later my dad's mom had a heart attack--or some type of aortic aneurysm. Both of my grandfathers remarried, but those two women have never matched up to what I knew a grandmother was or had been told my grandmothers were like. My Meemau became my grandmother. Most people leave out the "great" part because most people do not know their great-grandmothers, but that's ok because she really was like a grandmother to me. I have so many memories of my Meemau going all the way back to my earliest memories. I have memories of my Meemau taking care of me when I was little when my parents went out to dinner or had other things going on. She and I would play. There's a story about me and Meemau playing in her kitchen. I was about 2 and Meemau was being "punished". She was sitting on the stool in her kitchen in the corner while I was sitting in my little rocking chair singing songs that I had made up. She always remembered when I would play office. I had my special place in her old coffee table where she had pens, papers, and the postcards torn out of magazines. I turned her living room into my own personal office where I would deal with all my important "paperwork". She croqueted something for everyone. Everytime a baby was born, she made afghans. I have two that she has made me. One is a very light green color that has very soft yarn. That was made for me when I was born. Then I have another one that is larger that is pink and white. I got that when I was older because my favorite color was pink. She also made me a blue scarf a few years ago. These are some things that I will never get rid of because everytime I use them I will remember her. I have so many more memories. We laughed so much and love was something I never questioned. I am going to miss her so much. I am going to miss going to her house. I'm going to miss going up to her back door and seeing her working in the kitchen waiting for us to get there so we could all eat dinner together. Dinner was always late. For some reason, that was always a homey thing for me. I will always remember her mauve colored dining room, the red carpet in the foyer leading up the rounding staircase that have the very steep and narrow steps to the upstairs. I will always remember the shag brown and orange carpet in her basement and the monkey that lived in her bathroom downstairs. [A picture of a monkey over the toilet...lol] I will never forget the smell of Meemau's laundry. I will never forget how comforting and welcoming her 10 foot long blue couch was in the living room or the toy drawer in the kitchen. So many memories of the huge Christmas trees that we thought would fall over because they were so big...or the Easter egg hunts in the backyard with the 8 bazillion cousins or the fact that people had to eat on the back porch, the living room, and with an extended table that reached into the foyer from the dining room. We will never forget how hard it was to get certain channels because Meemau didn't have cable, she only just got it a couple months ago thanks to the coaxing of my dad. Her home was a home full of love. A love that accepted you for who you were...even though there were disagreements between some. She still loved you for who you were, no matter your choice of religion, sexual preference, or political party. She loved her animals too. She use to have poodles when I was younger. I will always remember Buddy and Pepper. She would not feed them dog food. They would get different things like baby food chicken, corn flakes, green beans, and rice. I also use to tease Buddy by lifting up the mail-slot on the front door. He would always bark and I would get reprimanded. I remember spending a week with her one summer after we moved to North Carolina and her being very concerned about me wearing sunglasses when we would go outside. I didn't have a pair with me, so I had to wear a huge pair that you would wear over your glasses. Oh fashion statement. But she didn't care, she just wanted to make sure my eyes were protected. She loved me so much. I can't believe she is actually gone. The last time I saw her was about two weeks ago. She was in the hospital and we knew it would not be much longer. I didn't want to come to terms with that fact then. I hate hospitals. I really do. They feel so impersonal. I hated seeing her in a hospital bed refusing to eat and not being able to hug her or kiss her because she had contracted MRSA a year and a half ago and it had flared back up. I hated that we could not understand what she was saying most of the time. That was not the Meemau I knew. She was always able to speak what was on her mind very clearly. She was in so much pain and she was so tired. She was ready to die. Even though she seemed to fight it as hard as she could...she knew it was time. She had seen death's door so many times in the past 15ish years that she knew this was it. The fighting was over. My only hope is that her heart was softened and she came to know Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior. Of all the things, that grieves me the most. She said she was a Christian, but saying it does not mean it is true. It is about a life change. A relationship. I just pray that in her way, she was saved. Her relationship through her praying and Bible reading...which I know would be the perfect way to have the Truth revealed to her in a very living way. But I will not know until I get to heaven if she truly did have that heart change. Oh, how I wish I knew. That would make this whole grieving process so much easier for me. It's hard to lose the people we love, but the hope that we have knowing that those who are saved will be with our Father in heaven gives us great joy and peace. But those who are not, I just don't even want to think about the eternal suffering of hell. Even though we all deserve death and hell. God gave Jesus to us to cancel the debt we all owe. He made a way to heaven. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is THE way, the ONLY way. I only hope that my heart and life will be changed to be more reflective of the peace I have in my soul. I don't want to see another loved one die without knowing where they stand. When I go to my Meemau's funeral on Wednesday, there will be no peace in my heart. My heart is so conflicted. It is tearing apart with the not knowing. I have asked God to somehow reveal to me that she was. I just need peace. I know it was never in my control, but how can I go on without knowing if she's resting safely in His arms forever? I know I have to trust in God's will. But it is so incredibly hard. I have not really felt the reality of her being gone. Because I have not seen her lifeless body or seen her casket lowered into her grave. I was upset at first when I heard she was gone. I went to my mom and cried. But since then I had not cried until now. As I write this and reflect on different things. I also had someone who I thought was a close friend do something very insensitive and I am hurt and I just want to scream at them and hit them for not being aware of the pain that I'm in and what I've been going through the past couple of weeks since seeing my Meemau alive for the last time. Everyday has been spent waiting not knowing if we were going to get the dreaded phone call letting us know that she was gone. My stomach had been in knots for the past week. Now, I'm dealing with her death and the finality that she is gone. Then my friend did this. They knew that she had been really sick. She's been in and out of the hospital over the past two years and I had constantly been asking prayer for her. They also knew that my family was unsure of her salvation. It just really hurts me that they were so insensitive. I just don't know what to think. I know that it was not meant to cause me any hurt, but it sure did strike a very raw cord in me. People are so lame. That's the only word I can think of right now. We are all stupid and insensitive beings. We only look out for number one. I don't care how unselfish someone is, they are still in the end looking out for themselves. It's how we are as people. We do not know another person's heart. We can only know what we observe and hear them testify about themselves. That does not mean it's the truth. That does not make them pretty either. We are all such low, dirty, rotten, crooked deep down to the core people. I know I am not perfect. I know my Meemau was not perfect. But somehow we can love people...even if it is not entirely unconditional in the way that true love is. I'm sorry I have rambled on. I'm just trying to somehow sort out my feelings and get out some of the things that are inside me. I'm ready for Jesus to come back now. Sometimes life just gets too hard. I'm ready now.

Some days I need a punching bag, and a very large field. The punching bag to take out my anger and aggression, and the field to scream at the top of my lungs in. Some days you just need to do those things. This is one of those days.

But I don't have those things, and I am left with my hurting and broken heart. I'm going to miss my Meemau so much. This is going to be a hard next couple of days. Please pray for me if you are reading this. Pray that God will give me the strength to get through and to have peace...even if I will not know the answer to my burning question until the day I get to heaven.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


So today I decided to pull out my huge cd case full of 100's of cds I have collected over the past 13ish years. I chose to pull out one of my Chirho cds. Wow did that ever take me back! Haha. I remember them coming to sing for the youth group at Calvary one Sunday morning and I was in love. For those of you that don't know, I'm a sucker for boys in a band or that can sing and are musically inclined. It's on the list of must haves for my future husband. Anyways so back to the topic. I was listening to the amazing sounds of the a capella group that I became a huge fan of my last two years of high school. I remember going to their Big Concert the spring of my junior year and deciding there were two potential future husbands in the group. Funny how I pick out my future "husbands"...for I have quite a few. It's good to have a plentiful group to pick from! haha. Well I can't even remember their names today. But they were cute and they could sing and they loved Jesus...what more could I ask for? Yeah. Wow. Sometimes it's nice to have little things take you back to the past where things seemed simpler and easier. That was just one of those funny things that I did in high school. I have another Chirhoish moment when I decided to blast the cd in my car as loud as I could when I saw one of the Chirho members outside of the old Coldstone. He came running down as I was sitting at the stoplight waving at me and smiling...and me waving back and being like yeah I know you...not really, but we all feel connected to bands through their music and when we go to their concerts. It's like we know them when we don't really know them. I like to have that sense of "camaraderie" with band members and pretend like we're bffs or something like that. I like the connection. Especially eye contact connection, but that's another story fast forwarding to my senior year of college. Oh deary me. I can be a silly girl. But I do love me some Chirho. I really want to be in a band or a singing group. Or my newest thing I want to attempt is being in a musical. West Side Civic Theater group is a local group that I could potentially become involved in if I wanted to. We shall see. After seeing Pirates of Penzance last night, I had that feeling again...like I had after seeing the Seussical freshmen year at CU that I wanted to be in a musical. I would love to play Ariel in The Little Mermaid or Giselle in Enchanted. I do have red hair. I would just need to grow it out real long! That would be perfect for my future wedding! Haha. I do get sidetracked.

But back to Chirho. There are some pretty amazing songs on their cd. My favorite has to be "Kyrie Eleison". It means Oh Lord, have mercy. I have forgotten how much I love this song and how relevant the words are.

Kyrie Eleison down the road that I must travel

Kyrie Eleison through the darkness of the night

Kyrie Eleison where I go, will you follow

Kyrie Eleison on a highway in the light

These words from the chorus really resonate in my heart. I cannot do anything without God. I cannot get through this life without His help. I need His grace, love, and mercy everyday. The Bible even tells about how His mercies are new every morning. Look up Lamentations 3:22-23. I have no power to do anything. I chose to do things on my own, but I cannot determine the things that are going to come into my life. I cannot predict what people I will meet, what job I will get, whether or not I'll get into graduate school, when/if I'll get married, when/how I'm going to die. So many things in our lives that we want to know the outcome of, but we cannot predict the future. I could not have told you a year ago that today I would be without a job, and that my great grandmother would not be around much longer. I have so many questions that I would like answered, but I cannot know everything. Sometimes it's best to not know. That's why God's mercy is so amazing...because....I deserve nothing that He has given me. I am but a filthy rag, a broken vessel. Yet the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, because He loves me so much, gives me things that I do not deserve and keeps me from the things that I do deserve, the eternal consequences of my sins=death. Yet He saw fit to give up His only Son to pay the price that I could never pay. He gave me the gift of eternal life because He loved me so much. I have no words. Who am I, that the the Lord of all Earth would care to know my name and care to feel my hurt. Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin, would look on me with love and watch me rise again. Not because of who I am, but because of what You've done. Not because of what I've done, but because of who You are. I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow. A wave tossed in the ocean, a vapor in the wind. Still you hear me when I'm calling, Lord, you catch me when I'm falling. And You've told me who I am, I am Yours.
Praise God.
I am Yours.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

looking forward to fall.

So, I'm pretty excited about the cooling temperatures and the fact that fall will be here soon! It is my favorite season. I have this thing for fall. I love the smells, colors, temperatures, apples--in all forms, chicken stews, the fair, school supplies, and my birthday! woot woot! :) This is something to look forward too even if there are other things in my life that aren't encouraging, the fact that the seasons change and the sun rises and sets every day is pointing all to the fact that God is in total control. Of everything. Even when I cannot see the future or come close to predicting what might happen. There are three major things in my life that have the potential power to discourage me in a great way. But I'm trying to focus on the positive things and the small things that remind me every day of God's hand. I still do not know about the job I applied for a month ago. So now I feel like I need to move on to plan C. Even though...I don't know what plan B was. Hmm...

My Meemau seems to be doing a little bit better, if only she would eat to help her gain her strength. I still think God has something up His sleeve for her. He knows she's a stubborn woman and He's just not done with her yet. Her 93rd birthday is this Saturday, so maybe that will be the "magic" number for her. But I still do not know what is going to happen. I can just hope and pray.

Then there is another thing that lays heavy on my heart. It brings me a great deal of stress even though I have absolutely no control over it and can not do anything to make it go away or help it. I wish I had super powers to help make certain things go away. This is one of those things. It's not something I can openly discuss, but it is a major thing that is affecting me and my family right now. I pray that it can be resolved soon. God is in control and He has brought us this far, so I know that He only has our best in mind and He's never let us down yet.

So as summer comes to a close, I look forward to another change. I've had a lot of changes over the past several months and this is a change that I welcome with open arms.