8/27/2009 11:59:00 PM

"secular" songs make the best praise songs.

When the rain
Is blowing in your face
And the whole world
Is on your case
I could offer you
A warm embrace
To make you feel My love

When the evening shadows
And the stars appear
And there is no one there
To dry your tears
I could hold you
For a million years
To make you feel My love

I know you
Haven't made
Your mind up yet
But I would never
Do you wrong
I've known it
From the moment
That we met
No doubt in My mind
Where you belong

I'd go hungry
I'd go black and blue
I'd go crawling
Down the avenue
No, there's nothing
That I wouldn't do
To make you feel My love

The storms are raging
On the rolling sea
And on the highway of regret
Though winds of change
Are throwing wild and free
You ain't seen nothing
Like Me yet

I could make you happy
Make your dreams come true
Nothing that I wouldn't do
Go to the ends
Of the Earth for you
To make you feel My love

8/26/2009 04:32:00 PM

i <3 Taylor Swift, but not her fans

At this point, most people living on Planet Earth have heard me announce this in repeated excitement over the last week - I was in the MTV VMA's video shoot for Taylor Swift's performance in September. It took place last night and lasted until around 1 in the morning... which is why now I'm totally hooked on coffee.

So, Jen and I got to the Grand Hyatt an hour early and made it into the shoot (they turned a significant amount of people away). We were part of the extras that scream and chase Taylor out of a subway station. Unfortunately, we were not dressed skanky enough to get into the more elite group of individuals who got to pose inside the subway car with Taylor before she gets chased. I kid (kinda). It seemed like selection was somewhat random but 'dressier' girls do seem to get picked more, as do guys. I guess my skinny jeans just didn't cut it, although I had a high school girl comment that she couldn't understand how I didn't get picked because she liked my top. I'm not sure whether to take that as a compliment. I guess I will since we were told to look 'between 18 and 25.' :P

Here are some things I learned through the totally brainless video shoot:
  • It's cool to do once, but it's not as cool as people think. We practiced running/screaming up the Grand Central platform staircase multiple times. PRACTICED. SCREAMING. RUNNING UP THE STAIRS. Seriously? My IQ lowered with each practice run. And the whole night was a lot of waiting. A shoot in the NYC subway in mid-August surrounded by prepubescent girls totally either builds your physical/mental character, or destroys it. >:P
  • Privileged HS girls are failwhales. I will need God's grace to perform a miracle should I ever need to minister to girls from upper West side who go to "like, every single Jonas Brothers/Miley Cyrus concert ever" and then criticize other girls for doing the same thing. Also catty girls who made snide comments about other girls (whether or not they deserved it). More than once I was tempted to either ask them to keep their lips sealed, or push them onto the subway track (don't worry, I did neither!). And once Jen and I almost got bulldozed by this petite Latina chick who was screaming out to touch Taylor at the end of a practice run. I was in serious fear for my safety!
  • I am old. Seriously, maybe I left YG at the right time. I couldn't really find any common ground whatsoever to get to know the high schoolers at my table. But I do think urban youths have different needs than suburban ones.
  • Taylor Swift is sweet. And also pretty in person. I gave her a high-five, but it was more like a soft hand grab. A girly, gentle, lady-like high-five.
  • Entitlement is a sneaky sin. At first, people were excited just to make it in. As the night dragged however and some got into the subway car shoot, people became disgruntled, envious and impatient. And I found myself thinking the same way too, before realizing what I was doing. It is so easy to have a sense of entitlement creep up on me. I need to practice gratitude for everything I am given in life. I truly believe now that gratitude is a discipline and not just an attitude.
Overall, I liked being part of the shoot just to see what it was like, and although I understand the hype (I WILL be watching the VMAs to see if I made it into 0.00005 ms of the shoot :P), it was totally an experience in which I stared at popular culture, stardom, celebrity, and realized... not my slice of pie. I didn't like the feeling of being swept up in something because everyone else is, and over something that deep in my gut I felt was completely inconsequential to things that really mattered. But I still have the choice now to attend the VMAs itself, since I was part of the shoot... and I am still planning to go. Even after all that deep stuff, I still want to meet Beyonce! I think everyone knows that I'm not deep MOST of the time. :P

8/21/2009 08:48:00 AM


I had a dream last night where I was auditioning for America's Next Top Model. I had to learn a simple dance routine that I completely bungled when it came time to the actual performance. Come to think of it I think it was a dance pattern I learned in a fitness class. Anyway, I hid behind a group of really good-looking girls while waiting for the results and got through to the next round. I became really excited and couldn't believe my fortune -- same for my friend in the dream. Then they announced for the next audition we had to sing Lady Gaga songs, and I was like "Crap! I can't sing!" Then I woke up.

I'm not really sure what to make of this dream; I have no desire to enter ANTM. Maybe my brain somehow crossed its wires with the shoot for the VMAs I'm going to this Tuesday. That should be exciting. :)

I wish though my dream had more meaning, e.g. Joseph's dreams, but for me. Each time I hit the pillow I have a wild hope that perhaps God will speak to me through my dreams and grant me some peace via divine insight, but it never happens. So, ok, I get it - I need to exercise my faith and step out on the water - but would it really hurt to give a girl some supernatural boost?

And I also wish that in real life, you can be carried to success in the shadow of talented people. It's unfair but it's true.

Oh well. Totally random.

8/11/2009 09:18:00 PM

i want THIS kind of faith.

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.

"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

I will love You
I will trust You
Even if not.

Habakkuk 3 & Daniel 3

8/05/2009 11:49:00 AM

#11, 15, 39, 40

Since I have some time to reflect on all the things that's happened since last August, I think I will actually take a rare moment of introspection and really force myself to put into words how far (or not far) I think I have come.

I don't particularly look forward to doing this since I have a tendency to remember pain quite well while forgetting the happy parts of my past, but here goes:

Last August: I was completely crazy. Unmet needs/expectations coupled with desperation and a mostly immature kind of love makes a really really bad combination. I did a lot of things that now I wince at and wished I had not done so that I could have preserved even just an ounce of dignity. While I think it is true that choosing pride over love is probably the stupidest thing a person can do, there is a fine but clear line between pride and dignity. And I totally threw away my dignity. When I sacrificed my dignity and received nothing but a mutilated mess formerly known as Self-Respect in my hands, that was the start of what I am going to call a "MAJOR POOP PERIOD" of my young adult existence.

August - December: I remember having enough strength to play the strong 'Christian woman/church intern' on the outside, but constantly crying every time I met up with PW to discuss my spiritual progress. Anger eventually replaced some of the grief as I railed against the people who were making my life even more miserable by their opposition to the vision I had for my internship, for the church and for what I thought was the best I could offer to the congregation. That was a REALLY hard period of my life. I think I lost some weight then. :P The good parts: Discovering the divine joys of running, being forced to lean on nothing, no one but Christ, because I had no choice, the development of a deeper faith as I chose to believe in Christ despite the turbulence in my heart.

Jan - March: The upswing! Working hard at the internship, and starting to be less judgmental and more patient with others. I think I still suffered some bouts of insecurities and loneliness then, but it was nowhere as bad as the previous months. Praying more to God, discovering the joys of learning more about him and returning to a more consistent mode of QTs.

March - July: Promising rise. Things seemed to be falling into place. The future was uncertain, but I was excited. I enjoyed praying for others and sharing with others what I've learned. And by this point I was definitely over last August. I knew by this time what I was ready for and felt like I knew more about myself. In ministry I will always be driven, discerning, preferring to cut to the truth and sharp "like a surgical knife" as PW puts it. I probably do that to a lesser extent with my friends. And I definitely do that at work. But I know I do not want to do that in my home life. I am a psychologist and scientist in work and ministry, but at this point I know that what I am looking for in a marriage and family is an opportunity for me to just be a supportive partner that simply delights in letting the man lead and pampering him. Yes, pamper. Of course there is partnership, but I don't want to lead in a marriage, only to serve. I don't know if this is 'biblical,' but that is what I realized about myself. That there is a clear difference in what I value in ministry (in myself) and what I value in my future home life.

Now: Deja vu! Deja vu! And not in a good way. I smacked my face against the proverbial wall of reality. I was totally ignorant of it until it socked me in the gut, leaving me breathless and wondering just why I seemed to be thrust in such a similar position as I was last summer. Different, but the same. But God is so good. I don't know why things happen the way they do. I would hope this did not happen just to 'test' me. I like to think that this was going to happen anyway, but that in God's grace He allowed me this time to react differently. Classy, not crazy, as Greg Behrendt would put it. Even if you think the other person is BSing you (or BSing themselves), or if you think they have hurt you unfairly and treated you without courtesy, act classy. For me, classy = be like Christ. Humble, suffering without hysteria, compassionate, just in His criticism of flaws, but always loving. Always wanting the other person to grow, to know God and to be filled with joy. Disappointment may abound, but my dignity is intact and my soul is right with God as I strive to focus on the good, on forgiveness, and whatever is 'praiseworthy' instead of what is sad and angry. And learning to respect a person's divine ability to choose, even if I do not agree, is one of the hardest and most precious lessons I've learned thus far. I learned it last year; I practiced it this time. Instead of losing myself in that dark hole again, I'm going to hang on to the cross and lean into the dip. The more I allow myself to wrestle through disappointments and doubts, to lean into this dip, the more momentum I'll gather for the upswing. And the peak will be higher than before.

The only difference between a lump of coal and a diamond is this: A diamond becomes what it is through time + pressure. It is funny, because I heard that in a sermon I listened to on Sunday. And a month ago, PW remarked that whether I believe it or not, I am a jewel that God is refining in the fire. I have faith that he is right (but maybe a cheaper jewel, like cubic zirconia :P) That's why I've been saying, it's been one of the most disappointment times I've had recently, but probably one of the best weekend I've ever had in my whole life. I think I still struggle with what people say about my calling, about who I am, and my fears that although I'm frequently called 'unique' or 'special' (not THAT kind of 'special,' OK) that actually works against me in some areas of my life. But I just gotta have faith that I was made by God this way for a reason and that I will be loved this way. I think there are some negative aspects of me that I have to work on, but I hope I resist the temptation to change ME.

Thanks for all of my close friends who have prayed for me, who love me and have been so encouraging. I hope to talk to you face-to-face in the future and share in more detail (a semi-public blog does not encourage me to get all Oprah tell-all about some things out of respect for others.) As Pastor Tim says, "Lean in!"

P.S. So to add to my conviction that God is totally shouting "I AM HEEERRE!", as soon as I finished this post, "Everything Is Beautiful" starting playing on my iTunes. That's the song that got me through last year's MAJOR POOP PERIOD. Listen to it if you haven't already. :D

8/03/2009 06:45:00 PM

Not Afriad

I heard this song when I was driving in Vegas. Really catchy song! I think I might just start to like some Christian rock ;)

Written By: Stephanie Smith, Jamie Moore, Aaron Rice

Verse 1:
Sorry its over I think it’s the best thing for now I’m takin’ the memories Don’t wanna leave them all behind… Some were good, some were bad Some were in between But I gotta do what’s right for me

I’m not afraid to walk away Let me go for the last time Finally got it straight for the first time Not afraid cause I know He’s there to meet me So I’ll be gone, I’ll be gone, But not alone, alone

Verse 2:
I hate how it happened But it just wasn’t supposed to be Lets not talk about it Cause always lookin’ back Won’t change a thing Leave the good, leave the bad, And the in between I’m gonna do what’s right for me

It may not be easy Cause at its best, life is still hard But He is with me, And I am not alone