Thursday, November 26, 2009


I thought about saying no. But I gave up my rights after weeks of flirting with unclear boundaries. It wasn’t fair. What if he went ahead anyways? No, I didn’t want to deal with that.

I glanced down at my left hand as I had been doing for weeks now. I wore a ring made of Black Hills gold that my parents gave me on Valentine’s Day when I was 13. There were three hearts; the one in the middle was mine, and the two on either side were my parent’s. This was their way to protect me and hold me accountable until marriage.

I wore that ring for three years before laying it to rest in my cherry oak jewelry box.

The soft crackle and pop were the only sounds as all 11 of us sat on logs surrounding a monstrous bonfire at Fairgate Campgrounds. It only took a half hour to get there but you’d still never know you were only a few miles from a highway. I breathed in deeply of the delicious burnt aroma. Tiny orange sparks floated lazily into the blanket of darkness that attempted to infiltrate our circle. The logs were hard and full of splinters but I didn’t care. I could feel the tension in my muscles relax as I placed my face in my hands, scooting as close to the burning blaze as possible. We were part of a youth group with His Place Church in Post Falls, Idaho and were driving to Seattle the next morning to board a ferry for three days. Our end destination was Echo Ranch in Juneau, Alaska. Here, we would be joining the full-time staff to spend a week sharing the Gospel with middle school students from around the area. We would be living in cabins and surviving on bare minimums, only a few showers for the whole week. I wasn’t too sure what to expect since this would be my first and last mission’s trip as a high school student. We gathered together as a team on the eve of our trip to worship God and discuss spiritual things. None of us said much at first. We simply enjoyed the peace and quiet we rarely got from the hustle and bustle of school, friends and work. After a time we sang a few worship songs. We didn’t have a guitar or a bass or drums. All we had were humble hearts and a desire to please God. We lifted hushed voices into the starry night and worshiped Him in the most honest form. I’m coming back to the heart of worship. When it’s all about you, it’s all about you Jesus. To anyone close by, I’m sure they plugged their ears. But our human ears are different from God’s. He doesn’t listen to our words; He listens to the tune of our hearts. Our songs died back down to the quiet stillness of night. We could see stars now; bright specks of dust against the vast blanket of darkness. I was thankful for the warm fire as I adjusted my body to a more comfortable position.

We were especially quiet tonight, me in particular. I usually was the loud one, the one who always had something to say or some quirky mistake that could be made fun of. But not tonight. All I could think about was what had happened that morning. How could I talk to God now? How could I go on this trip and share the love of Christ with middle school students when my own life was a tangled web that I couldn’t seem to escape from? I seemed to have taken a wrong turn somewhere.

For years I have been running an endless marathon. Sometimes I lose focus. Sometimes I take a wrong turn. I just know I have to keep going because there must be an end somewhere. But I get tired, and I fall. My throat is parched, my tongue sticky and lips cracked from not enough water. How am I to rise up again when I can’t remember why I started the race? Then I look up, and a friend is kneeling beside with me. She offers me water. Another friend runs and stops at my other side. He helps me to stand. Another friend, another friend, another friend. Some of them I know well, some of them are only acquaintances. But together we gradually walk on this pathway through darkness.

Our youth pastor interrupted my thoughts as he started to speak in a soft voice, not wanting to disturb the quiet hush of our sacred huddle. His euro style glasses glinted in the flickering light as his large frame leaned forward as if talking intimately to a close friend. He asked that each of us share something God was stirring up in our hearts. His words were short and his face was thoughtful as he sat back to collect his personal thoughts. Around me, some bowed their heads in order to shut out distractions and allow God’s Spirit to reveal Himself. Others sat staring into the fire with calm serenity painted on their faces.

I once asked a mentor how to know when God was calling me to stand up and say something in this kind of situation. She said when I get a feeling like the butterflies, a queasy stomach, or a sweaty palm, that’s my flesh fighting with the Holy Spirit to keep me quiet. I suppose it’s a matter of obedience after that.

I felt the familiar pang as my heart sunk deep into my chest. I would have to speak. Yet how could I? I would not lie. At the same time I didn’t want to tell the truth. I was being eaten alive by thoughts of what had happened merely hours before. I knew I would share honestly. I didn’t have the will power to lie anymore. I was surrounded by close friends, yet no one knew the internal battle that had been ensuing in my heart for months. Now it was lost and the other side had won. However this would not be the end. I could use this loss to make me stronger for a victorious end to a long war.

My insides flipped and flopped as one by one a story was shared. I didn’t hear any particular words, only the soft murmur of voices which got lost within the chaotic inner workings of my mind. My little brother slouched three or four people away to my left. He was 22 months younger than me and we had never been very close. Old home videos portray my bossy behavior as I stole French fries from his plate and hogged as much attention as was allowed. Years later, not much had changed other than the fact I couldn’t take food from his plate anymore. Over time he started to stand up to me which led to many heated arguments about whose turn it was to clear out the dishwasher or clean the bathroom. My dad used to threaten to lock us in the garage and let us go hand and fist to work out our petty squabbles about whose turn it was to watch which TV shows. In my own way I loved my little brother very much. As I grew older I often asked God to bring us to a better place in our relationship. I asked him that one day we would be good friends, not enemies. For some reason, we just could never see eye to eye. He being a part of this youth group was new for me. My nick name was my last name, Samson. I’m not sure how or when, but someone started saying it and the name stuck. Now there were two of us Samsons which took a little of the fun away. In other words, I had to share my popular title, something I wasn’t the best at. Still, I had hoped that the mission trip to Alaska would bring my brother and me closer together. Had it not been for the morning events, I would have shared these thoughts.

My girl friend, who was sitting directly to my right, was talking now. I tried so hard to listen since she was sharing an experience that was painful for her. I looked at her and tried to focus on her pale face, blonde hair, anything that would get me involved in her story. I felt so selfish sitting right next to her and not even hearing because I was so consumed with my own thoughts. She even started to cry which on any other day would have caused tears of my own to well up behind my eyes. However I didn’t even know why she was crying. Regardless, I should have put my arm around her shoulders but they wouldn’t budge from my sides. I was frozen and it was my turn now.

I sat for a few moments looking at the warmly lit dirt at my feet. I couldn’t bear to look up at the faces of people who loved me and would be crushed to find out what I had done; the person I had let myself become. I did look up, but gazed into the high flames, grateful for their distraction. I started to speak, but no one could hear me. It felt like my insides were squeezing inward causing shallow, quick breaths. I closed my mouth as my chin quivered and tears threatened to fill my eyes. I stared into the fire as hard as I could, aware of the two girls on either side of me, my brother on my left. I couldn’t bear to let these people down. But I had to let my friends in on my secret. Otherwise, I would have had no way out of the gutter. At this point, I was covered in so much muck I could hardly recognize my own face. If true beauty really does come from the inside, well, I was not beautiful. Not desirable. Not worthy. But somewhere underneath the muck, I knew there was a God who still could see me as beautiful, desirable and worthy. I knew there could still be a way out; I just had to ask for it. And this was the first step.

“I…I…” My heart was beating hard and fast. My mouth was dry and it felt like there was a ball of lead in the pit of my stomach. My lungs strained to breathe.

The words came in such a rush that by the last word I was crying uncontrollably. “I had sex this morning.” For a moment all I could hear were my sobs as I dropped my head into my hands. Then the girl on my right put her arm around me and held me close. I allowed my body to lean against hers in an effort to soak up some of her serenity. After a few moments I sat up straight and looked around at my friends through puffy red eyes and tear stained cheeks. A few of them had tears as well. I did not look at my little brother.

“It happened this morning.” My voice sounded congested and I didn’t know what else to say. My voice then turned to a whisper that was barely audible.

“I’m so sorry and don’t know what to do.”

I looked at my brother. That was a mistake. His eyes were full of tears and he was concentrated straight ahead at the fire. A wave of realization and heart ache washed over me. My younger brother had always looked up to me. I knew I had always been the screw up, the unruly first child who had the tiring task of “breaking the parents in.” This may or may not have been realistic. I knew I had let him down before. But this time, it was different. I could see the agonizing pain etched all over his face.

Suddenly our circle was suffocating. I needed some air. In a rush I stood and stumbled away. Away from warmth. Away from safety. I wasn’t alone long, however. Two girl friends were swiftly by my side, arms wrapped tightly around me. And I cried. With everything I had, I cried. I cried till I thought I couldn’t cry anymore. I struggled to look up again. It was rather difficult because these two sets of arms were like iron rods holding me in place. They soon realized I was trying to break free and loosened their grasp. My back was still to our group as I sniffed in as much of the snot as I could that was oozing from my nose. With my sleeves I wiped the rest of the goo off my face then I used my hands to rub under my eyes. With a deep sigh and feeling slightly more composed, I turned around.

Once again I was crumbling to pieces. My little brother had also left the group and stood about 20 feet away from me. Now that I was facing him I could hear him. I could see the paper bag they had given him to breathe into. I wanted to go to him and throw my arms around his small frame. Once again, my mind and body were not in sync. The youth pastor was standing next to him with his large hand on my brother’s small shoulder. Another guy was facing my brother, nobody was saying anything. I had done something more terrible than simply having sex for the first time. I had broken a powerful trust. I didn’t even know this trust existed until that moment. I couldn’t bear to look at the obvious pain I had caused my little brother. I realized I should have told him first, when we were alone. It was not fair for him to find out with everyone else. Feeling more wretched than ever, I buried my head into the set of shoulders nearest me as more tears spilled out of what I thought was a dry well.

Every decision has consequences. Most often those consequences affect the ones we love the most. I learned this lesson that night.

The track seems dark and I am weak still. So we walk at first, then we jog, then we can run. I wonder how I got separated from this pack at all. Why would I ever choose to run this race alone? Then I remember. I had seen something off in the distance that wasn’t on our path. I had to take a trail in the woods in order to pursue it. I told myself it was a short cut and they were stupid for not coming with me. Now, as I’m running alongside my friends once again, I realize I am the stupid one. All of us have our demons that follow us around our whole lives. We must grab it by the horns and fight back with everything we have, even if it seems as if we have already lost everything. The truth is we still have a future. I have a future. Sometimes, when I think I’ve ruined everything, I look around and am reminded of the power of forgiveness and redemption given and received through Jesus Christ. All I need to do is grab a hold of it and never let go.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Curious, Isn't It?

We all have our first love, and maybe some of us fall in love again and then maybe again. Then we meet: the love of our life. The world stops. All you can see is this seemingly perfect person who can do no wrong and nothing can/will ever come between the both of you.

As many of you know, I met this person. He was my perfect match. I could not have asked for a better first date with what turned out to be an amazing relationship. I was convinced we were going to get married, as many of you know. I had never felt so convicted about a boyfriend before.

Well, God has different plans. I have spent much time talking to God about him and telling Him how much I want to marry this man. But like the song goes, "Thank God for unanswered prayer." Although I'm not sure I can say that with too much conviction yet.

We broke up barely two weeks ago and for all of you who don't really know why, here it is.

Mark always had a hard time with the fact I have a son. He liked Evan don't get me wrong. But the connection of the fact that I have a child was very hard for Mark. But we were passionately in love and worked through it.

So then we took two weeks and traveled across the country to Florida. Upon returning, I realized how much I had missed Evan and how much had changed in that short time period. I pushed it aside and continued devoting my heart to Mark.

Long story short, he became convicted of the fact that though he was in love with me, he didn't think he would ever be able to come to terms with the fact I have a baby. This may sound terrible to you. The simple truth is, God wired him a certain way. The way he was wired simply means he is not for me like I thought he was. Mark was also concerned that I would one day come to resent him for making me choose between him or Evan.

Naturally this breaks my heart. We are still friends and I love hearing about his life and how he is using it for God. But it's still painful to not hear him say "I love you." It's still painful to know that when girls ask him to hang out he will without a second thought. Now I'm getting petty. :p

Anyways after we broke up, I knew it was for the best. I knew if he hadn't done it, I would have eventually. It took time, but I realized that I would choose Evan over Mark when it came time to make hard decisions. So, better sooner than later right?

Well, that's the story in a nutshell.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I Wish, I Wish

I was only about five years old. That’s the earliest my memory can go back. We’re in my parent’s bedroom and there is a big window facing the street. The blinds are open allowing in dim daylight. However everything else is fading into darkness. One ray of light is shining from somewhere high above. It’s coming through the clouds, through the roof, through the dusty haze which lands softly on three sets of shoulders.
The first thing I seem to notice is where these three are sitting. The king size comforter is dark blue, as if trying to portray a richly deep night sky where the moon shines bright and the clouds add another depth of looming darkness over the world. But this is offset by the dancing white stars. Except when you look more closely, you will find that these white stars are not even white, nor are they stars. They are images only as large as the smallest roly-poly. The images are of vases, with maybe three flowers in them, and they are off-white in color, not pure white.
I seem to be sitting on the edge of my parent’s water bed. Perhaps one leg is hanging a few inches from the floor and the other is crossed in front of me, like half Indian Style. My head is bent and small hands folded in my lap. My eyes are squeezed shut as if I were wishing with all my might.
My mom is to my left. Her shoulders are hunched over, head down, eyes closed. But her eyes still look soft and peaceful. She must have already received her wish. The warm light sprinkles the top of her head, making her sparkle. Her hand is on my left shoulder. I can feel her nearness, her calmness washing over me. The warmth of her palm is soothing against my skin.
She always wanted to have a special relationship with me as I was growing up. Probably because I ended up being her only daughter in a house full of boys. But still, she was very disappointed for a number of years when we didn’t get along. It wasn’t until I had grown, moved out, and kept her at arm’s length for a time that I came to realize what a great friend she is.
Since she homeschooled us kids, we spent a lot of time with her while growing up. It was okay for the most part. Then came the subject of math. A subject neither of us enjoyed. There were days when we would leave the school room full of frustrated tears because we simply couldn’t figure out how to accomplish this seemingly simple task together. If my dad was home he would come down to work with me. Strangely enough, I would be doing my math problems alone within minutes. I suppose my mom and I just needed a break.
It also helps that my dad is very good at math, though I’m not sure whether or not he particularly enjoys it. I’m pretty sure you have to be amazing with numbers to be a pilot, which is what my dad does for a living. He was in and out a lot as I grew up. With age it became normal and I was able to accept it more easily.
One thing was never to be doubted about my father. And that was his love for his family. See, he had two dreams as he grew from a boy to a man. First, he wanted to fly. Second, as he left boyhood, he knew he wanted a family. He ended up achieving both dreams, but not without a price. He has missed countless plays, recitals, birthdays and holidays. He also has brought in a steady income allowing my family to live comfortably. His coming and going probably is what spurs on the importance of family vacations. It was something we did every summer. I suppose it was a chance for him to catch up with us.
So now my dad is on my right. His broad shoulders are bent forward, his head bowed down in reverence. His left hand rests on my right shoulder. His hand is large, rough, and his grip firm, holding me steady, urging me further down this unknown road. However, it’s only unknown to me. My parents have traveled it for years.
The light now shining upon us is a happy yellow. It’s the kind of yellow we love to see because that means its summer and all is well with the world. I can hear the birds singing happily outside the window. Cars drive past. My little brother must be asleep. The world is alive and moving forward. But not us. We seem to sit still in time as I am about to begin the greatest journey of my life.

When I was five years old, with my mom on one side and my dad on the other, I said something like this:
“Dear Jesus,
Please forgive me for all my sins. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. Please come into my heart.
And that’s it. I could open my eyes and start the rest of my life.
I wonder if my five-year-old mind really understood the transition that was taking place. I wonder if I would have made the same choice five, ten or twenty years down the road. I’d like to think that I would. But sometimes the more mature age tries to block out some of the most important decisions you can make.

The ray of light is quickly receding now. I imagine my parents hugged me and my mom probably cried a little. You see, my parents knew what I had done. They knew and understood the commitment I had made. They also realized their role in it. They were part of this choice, this decision I made. As parents, they knew that I had been entrusted to them by God. It was their job to raise me to be a God-fearing young woman. The first step towards that goal was to lead me to what would be the most impactful choice of my life. I was born again.

I knew from day one this guy was a bad idea. But he didn’t drink. He didn’t swear… much. He didn’t smoke or do drugs. So, obviously he was a good guy. Just not the one for me as I came to find out. But wait. I knew that from day one.
I’ve come to find out that falling away from God is not something that happens all at once. It’s a gradual process starting with a thought. Unless killed immediately without emotions, the tiniest thought blossoms into a tree that thinks she’s alive but looks dead and ugly to everything around her. This is how you know you have turned your back on God. When you can feel the implications, but look away instead. Ignorance can be deceitful bliss.
That was my life. I could feel the ugliness I had turned into by dismissing the once passionate relationship I had with my Savior. I tried to suppress the deity with what I thought was a passionate relationship with my boyfriend. But I started feeling really sick. I wanted to lie in bed all day because the world was an engaging roller coast when on my own two feet. Work was worse. There was a bombardment of aromas: ground beef, pinto beans and fried potatoes. I would try to pinch my nose, but I had to hold onto the railing to keep my balance. The stark intoxications which surrounded my small form all made my head spin and my stomach churn. I thought maybe I was hungry. But I hardly touched my food.
Two weeks and minus ten pounds later, I was getting pretty curious about my condition. A few more weeks went by and I wasn’t feeling quite so dizzy, although eating still wasn’t my strongest point. I was the thinnest that I had been in years and with that came the notion of feeling sexy and attractive. But my job was dreary, my boss annoying and co-workers plain and inconsequential. It didn’t always used to be this horrid. I knew my time at that wretched place was coming to a close.
But still, something wasn’t quite right.
No, there’s no way. I can’t have missed my period. Has it really been two months? No, this doesn’t happen to me. One time doesn’t mean anything.
I gave in to the delirium of my thoughts. It was dark outside; I had gotten off work very late. My body ached and I just wanted to sleep. I went to Wal-mart. I tried to hide the package as I walked to the register. I hoped I would never have to see this woman again as she rang up my item. Seconds, turned to minutes, minutes, to hours. Why is she going so stupidly slow?! Finally my parcel was in the plastic bag, hidden from any curious eyes. I practically ran from the store, never looking back.
It was just about midnight when I finally reached the apartment I shared with two roommates. It was dark and quiet. Perfect. I walked through the tidy living room and into my room. I silently wished a bull dozer would come in and sweep away the chaos. Thankfully the bed was clear. I sat down and carefully opened the blue box. I took out the inside package and read the directions carefully.
A calculated sigh escaped silently from my lips as I walked down the dark hallway. The bathroom was decorated like a beach. I closed the door. Sat on the toilet. My palms were sweaty. I struggled to open the wrapper. My heart sounded like a sledgehammer. I was ready. No I wasn’t. I held the stick under my bottom. I brought it back up out of the bowl. The soft end was saturated with urine. I laid this small terror on the sink. I finished peeing.
And then I sat. Seconds or minutes, it made no matter to me. Time stood still. Finally I worked up the courage to see the results. My heart was racing now. I knew I had to look. I saw the double line. I checked the directions. Two deadly pink lines. For a moment, I sat, not saying anything, doing anything, feeling anything.
It hit me. With the disgusting stick in my hand I nearly stumbled down the hallway. I had to get somewhere open. The walls were towering over me, squeezing all the air out of my lungs. I had to breathe in large, sharp breaths in order to simply stay alive. No tears came. As it turns out, you can’t cry when fighting for your life. Those were for later. When I knew I would be okay. When I knew I would survive.

It was Friday, a whole week later and I was at my parent’s house. The next day I was supposed to fly to California with my mom for the rest of the weekend. But Friday was a special day. One that would not soon be forgotten. My little brother’s high school graduation party was that day.
People started to arrive. It felt like each person was picking open an unhealed scab as I tried so hard to genuinely smile. But it wouldn’t come. I didn’t care to see any of these people that had been in my life since I was 12. I just wanted to be alone. I didn’t have to face myself as long as I kept hiding. I could read, be someone else, anyone else than the wretched person I had turned out to be.
Everyone knew I was acting different. But no one asked questions, mostly because I didn’t give the opportunity for them to do so. So there I was, in a crowded room, curled up on the corner of a couch reading. I don’t even remember what it was. Not that it mattered.
My best friend arrived, Hannah. A glimmer of hope. I thought she might want to go shopping with me. My jeans were baggy on me now. It’s a bit ironic isn’t it? You’d think I’d be gaining weight, not losing it. Well, Hannah wasn’t interested. I guess working at the mall takes away the fun of credit cards. Truth be told I just wanted to get out of the mayhem. Somewhere quiet where I could hear myself think. I longed to share my secret. The clamor of my thoughts weighed on my heart like a brick of lead. It was becoming almost too much to bear.
So I went out alone. My mom and Hannah looked at me a little funny as I left. I suppose they were very confused. Well, that all makes sense now doesn’t it. I did buy a pair of jeans, they were even on clearance. I came back home to the party wearing them and received many compliments on my weight loss. No one seemed to ask how. Or why. If they had, I’m not sure I would have known how to respond.
The party continued amid my halo of gloom. I was getting a headache and wished everyone would leave. People finally started to trickle out the door. This meant I was alone with my family. It was actually harder to hide when no one else was around. It gave me time to think, or rather, dread, the upcoming weekend.
I might have mentioned not wanting to go to California. This may have been the cause of the fight. This may have been why I left their house in a blur of tears and drove away as fast as I could. This may have been why I contemplated driving back to Moscow right then and there. Screw my mom and the stupid weekend.
However, gracious reasoning took over my unruly emotions. I drove around for hours. Took a nap in my car. It was dark by the time I got back to the house. As I walked through the door I could tell my parents were not going to let this go until they knew why I was acting so irrationally.
“You’re not being yourself, Jessica,” my mom said at the kitchen table. She sat one stool away from me. My dad was on the couch. There was only one light on, in the kitchen, which cast a melancholy mood throughout the room. I felt a little safer now. Strange as that is.
“Are you on drugs?” my dad threw out. I shook my head.
“Has something bad happened to you? Are you OK?” I simply shook my head again. My dad took a relaxed seated position in the leather couch, though his face was tense with concern. My mom, on the other hand, was not smiling, not talking, just staring. Trying to figure me out I suppose. My dad went through all the things he could think of. I could only glance over at him, shake my head, and go back to staring at the kitchen counter top. My face was etched with sadness, I could feel it. Every new item my dad checked off his list was another stab, another jolt to my system. He didn’t realize that he actually didn’t want to learn the truth. Why would he want to know about the terrible person his “Big Girl,” as he used to call me, had become? I was quickly losing control. The pit in my stomach had moved to my throat. I could hardly breathe. Finally, the punch line.
“You’re pregnant,” my dad threw his hands up in the air as if this was his last grab in the dark. I buried my face in my hands. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t look up. I could not stand to see the looks on their faces. The worst of the worst had finally happened to their daughter, the first born, the one who was always making the mistakes.
The only sounds that could be heard for the next few moments were me screeching. My body convulsing. I couldn’t hold myself still. My mom stood and left the room. My dad walked over and wrapped his arms around my shaking body.
“I love you,” he said softly in my ear. “It’s going to be ok.” I could hear the sadness in his voice. I could feel the warmth of grace suppress my convulsions, my screeching.
I was finally able to look up through blurry tears as my mom came back in the room. There were tears in everyone’s eyes as we walked to the office to discuss these startling developments.
We spent hours in there that night. It was comforting to be surrounded by pictures of airplanes and family. It was the essence of who we were as a unit. A family unit. We discussed all options: abortion, adoption, keeping it.
I learned the most important lesson of my life in that small room. There was nothing I could do to make my parents not love me. What made matters worse is that while I was at my worst stage in life, my dad told me he was proud of me. Proud. Of his little girl, pregnant to a guy who wasn’t even a Christian. It would take years for me to understand how he could say those words to me that night.
In that small room, we talked, we prayed together, I was safe. The loving grace of Jesus Christ surrounded all of us, keeping our unit intact. My mom on my right. My dad on my left. Both there as they had promised to be all those years ago.
They continue to guide me. Push me. Strengthen me. God gave my parents to me and me to them. He knew how often I would turn to my mother’s nurturing spirit for emotional support or a word of advice. As for my dad, God provided him with the steadfast love he needed to push me into being all I can be and more.

And now here she is. A young woman who, at times, still feels like a little girl in need of her parent’s hands to hold her steady. But this young woman is stronger than even she knows.

I was only about five years old. That’s my earliest memory.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Choices, Drama, More Choices

Every day is a choice. A choice to get up. A choice to attend class. A choice on where to sit in class and who to talk to.

Some choices are bigger than others. Should I write this paper due tomorrow or go to the movies with friends? Should I try to find a sitter or spend the evening with my son?

Other choices are even bigger. Should we break up today or weather it out? Should I move away or stay closer to home? Should I take a job here or there?

We don't face all these choices every day, but when the big ones come up, how do you know which choice to make? I know the church answer: rely on God, pray, read the Bible. But sometimes I need more than that. At least that's what my head tells me.

So when the day comes to make an important decision, all I can do is hope and pray that I make the right one. Who knows, these choices may take place sooner than any of us anticipated.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Love is Patient

WOW It's been way to long folks!

Love is patient, love is kind.

I Corinthians 13:4

Hannah reminded me of this verse yesterday. She said there is a reason that patience is listed first here. I never thought of it like that before.

So, patience, Jess. Patience. God will provide and His timing is perfect. All it takes is a little patience.

Easier said than done though. :)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Challenge

I have not blogged in a very long time. The most prevalent reason is that I'm just very busy. The last three weeks have been completely crazy. I moved to the apartment next door which is has a dish washer and I use it every day. :) I also had one of my good friends and her 3 yr old son staying with me from the day I moved in till last week. And yes, that was very crazy.

I've been having a lot of fun this past month. There has been some hard stuff too.

And now here is the point of tonight's rambling: I need to challenge myself. I am going to wake up in the morning and start my day off right: in the Word. Even if it's just for five minutes, I am challenging myself to spend time in the Word first thing in the morning.

Last Sunday I visited my home church in Cd'A (man I miss home) and Pastor Doug told a story of a guy who struggled with pornography. So this guy wanted to overcome this addiction. And what is it we typically do to try to fix an addiction? We try to fill that time with something else. We simply try to push it away, think about anything but the one thing you don't want to be thinking about. And how well does that tend to work out? Typically not that great. So this guy decided to start every day in the Word. His addiction went away because he allowed the Holy Spirit to be with him throughout the day.

Now I'm not saying that was an easy thing to do. We are human after all. But I think this story definitely has merit. And I definitely need to be challenged in my faith.

For those who read this feel free to hold me accountible to this challenge!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Slight Miscalculation of the Feet

I fell off the balance beam. The strange thing is that it didn't even hurt. I stood up, brushed myself off and looked around. The view down here is so different from up there! So I decided to hang out. I had some fun in this new environment. It was so strange not to feel any remorse for having fallen off, not feeling any pain from hitting the earth.

Now I can see the scrapes on my knees and the dirt is visible on my hands. I know it should hurt, even just a little bit. But since it doesn't hurt, I know that something is wrong. I realize I need to figure out how to get back on top of the balance beam to continue my dance.

That was all an analogy of the reality of what I have been going through the past few weeks. I hope it makes sense. :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Does this happen to you?

Sometimes I feel like the reason I work so hard to keep on the straight and narrow is because I will let so many around me down.

I'm just wondering if this happens to anyone else out there. Maybe I'll elaborate more later.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Cherish Every Special Moment: It's God's Gift to You

Ah, one of my favorite times of my day, nap time. This may make some of you smile or laugh thinking that I enjoy the time to myself to get things done without interruption. But no, it's the moments right before naptime that I hold dear.

As we stand up from our worn, over grown chair his body forms completely against mine. His head always finds just the right place, nestled in between my cheek and shoulder and somehow he still manages the comfort of his thumb. As we walk down the short hallway I whisper, "I love you." In these moments, everything is as it should be.

When I go to lay him in his crib I always linger a few moments. I always wish I could hold him just like that forever and always. But then I remember that in an hour my body will be stiff and we will both be sweating.

So I lay him down gently, knowing that at bed time I will enjoy these moments all over again.

This is in response to my most previous blog. There are moments throughout my day that make me happy and feel fullfilled. It's these moments I have to look forward to if nothing else.

It's not to say I have an incredibly dull life. I tend to be rather busy. However I think that with this awfully depressing winter weather, school being out, friends out of town, living alone, all these factors play into the category of depression. I would say this is normal, something that I will come out of when I can see sunshine again and wear a t shirt outside.

Until then, bear with me. :) And thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

You better get my autograph now cuz in ten years it will be worth a lot of money!

Halleluia, grace like rain falls down on me.
Halleluia, all my sins have washed away.

What a great song. It's definitely one of my favorites. We sang it this morning during worship. This is such a visual song for me. It's a spiritual baptism. Every wrong and disgusting thing I have done is gone in God's eyes. Why is not gone from mine?

Sometimes, I am so high I could be flying. Other times, my feet feel like lead and I wonder, "What is there to look forward to?" Of course there is Heaven to look forward to. Their is falling in love, getting married, watching little Evan grow up and hopefully having more kids. But what about tomorrow? What do I have to look forward to tomorrow? I work for a couple hours. There is no school. My best friends are hours away. Evan's dad is like a ghost. At least that's how I feel. A ghost that's free. And I'm a bird in a cage, wanting to be free too.

Okay, that's an exagerated version of what is going on in my heart tonight.

Dear God,

sometimes I feel so alive and on top of the world. Why does that go away?

You know God, you have the power to make anything happen or not happen. You could have not allowed my body to become pregnant. When I became pregnant, I was already in the process of turning away from my sinful life style. You could have found another way to shake me up. Pregnancy should not have been needed.

God, I know you know what you're doing up there. But sometimes I just want to scream, stomp my feet and wave my arms wildly like a little kid having a tantrum. I can't wait for ten years to go by and be able to look back and shake my head at where I am today. Or maybe I'll be able to write a best seller (hint hint).

Just get me through tomorrow, Lord. Get me through with a grateful and content heart that is seeking you in everything.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Luck? Coincidence? Prayer and Purpose?

I don't believe in luck. I don't believe in coincidence. I do believe in prayer. I do believe in God's purpose for circumstances when I walk by his side.

Sometimes it's hard to know though. I wonder often if my small, seemingly meanial daily decisions are affectecting my life for the better or worse.

Sometimes, God seems so very far away. However I do know he is always with me. "I will never leave you or abandon you." (hebrews 13:5 I believe)

Yes, this may be the shortest blog I will ever write. Then again, maybe not. :)