Friday, January 19, 2007

Here am I.

Touch my lips with live coals, Father.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Books and Coffee?

This girl and I are kindred spirits because no one else understands us. Click on the video to see why!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

1 John 3:1-3 (NIV)

Who am I, Lord, that You should love me so gently?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Moneybags Thorne?

All right, I know I just posted a blog lamenting the excesses of our society... But a girl's gotta eat.

I just checked my bank account online, and apparently I received my first direct-deposit paycheck at my new job:

01/12/07 ACH Deposit

Glad I'm rollin' in the dough.

(Instapoll: Is this the kind of thing you could get fired over for writing? Should I remove?)

Don't you deserve a diamond? (A Rant)

Sometimes I think I take things too seriously.

About an hour ago I was cleaning the kitchen while my roommate, Megan, and her boyfriend were watching TV in the living room. A McDonald’s commercial came on TV, and it rubbed me the wrong way: A mother and her five-ish-year-old son are running errands, and the mother keeps answering her cell phone. The duo stop into a McDonald’s and the phone rings yet again. As the mother reaches to answer it, the boy takes the phone away and says, “Soon you won’t even miss it,” or something like that. The mother smiles, the boy is cute, everyone’s happy. I’m lovin’ it.

Or not so much. I said out loud, “That’s bull crap. Tell that kid to give you back your phone.” Not that I oppose quality mother-child time, but when did it become okay for kids to dictate their parents’ behavior? And how does that advertise the food? That’s not really even branding, or if it is, it’s poor branding. Humanism, that’s what it is.

All these thoughts are running through my head, and then it dons on me: That was just a commercial. A commercial for fast food. Chill out.

I had a similar experience while taking a cruise with about a dozen friends last week. My kindred spirit Stephanie and I were walking through the ship, and as we passed by the main auditorium, one of the assistant cruise directors– a plump woman with a Southern accent– was standing at a mic trying to coax anyone who would listen into visiting the ship’s jewelry boutique.

“I’d like you to know, ladies and gentlemen, that we have a great selection of some of the highest quality of diamonds,” she crooned. “Now ask yourselves, ladies: Don’t you deserve a diamond? Yeah! Yeah, you do, that’s right!” The auditorium erupted into applause and several women cheered and elbowed their husbands in agreement.

I was appalled. Do I deserve a diamond? “No,” I said out loud. “I don’t deserve anything but death. That’s ridiculous.”

So okay, I may take things a little too seriously at times. But I say all of this because it speaks to a larger problem that is so rampant today: the feeling of entitlement. I recently attended a debutante ball because a little girl I babysit and love was going to be a trainbearer. The event itself was a lot of fun; music, dancing, delicious food, gorgeous gowns– but as the evening wore on, I became so jaded by all of the children and young adults who were being revered and exalted simply for having been born into privilege. I began to think of who these people will one day become: Homecoming Queens, Ivy Leaguers, Senior Vice Presidents... and some of them will have truly earned it. But others of them won’t, and they’ll think they have.

My point is, we don’t deserve anything. I know I’m being preachy right now, but I am sick to death of the symptoms of entitlement that I see everywhere in our culture. I am saved by grace and grace alone, and I have done NOTHING to earn it. My Savior is just that generous and good.

I just read a Psalm in which the psalmist decries those who amass riches, fame and status here on earth. Referencing the rampant slave trade of the time, he says that no man can buy a life or redeem it (Psalm 49:5-9). Doesn’t matter whose hands we shake, our only worth comes from the Lord and what we can contribute to His kingdom.

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 16:14

I'm laying every burden down.

Someone has already said it better than I ever could hope to:

Now I can trade these ashes in for beauty,
And wear forgiveness like a crown.
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy,
I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Doubting Kathleen

How long, oh Lord, will You forget me?
How long, oh Lord, will You hide,
Hide Your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with me
and everyday have sorrow in my heart?

I don’t like doubt. Never have.

In a way, I love an element of mystery: What was Paul's "thorn in the flesh"? Who shot JFK? What in the world is the chupacabra, and how was Stonehenge erected? It’s fun to guess. But when it comes to my own life and matters that affect me so profoundly, it’d be nice to have all the answers– Hold the mystery, thank you.

I used to be so unflinching in all of my ideas, simply because I hated admitting that I doubted something. I clung fiercely to some naive precepts without questioning them, because as soon as I began to ask questions, I opened the door to confusion. There is some security in continuing in the path you’re on if for no other reason than because changing course can be terrifying.

A recent national study showed that approximately 70 percent of college students change their majors at least once. I was a journalism major for my entire college career, in part because I told myself that I’d stay on that track unless I faced a compelling reason to switch, or a clear word from the Lord.

Well what does “compelling” mean? And “clear”? I’ve always been interested in education or child psychology. I love helping people with their problems. I spent a part of one of my best summers as a camp counselor, and I have a heart for mentoring middle school-aged girls. Does that mean I should have gone into education, counseling, or perhaps I should be working in a church? How can I know? I love French, other cultures, camping, art... Does that mean anything? Am I thinking too much?

I will wait on You,
I will wait on You,
I will wait on You.

At different points during the past several years, I have come face-to-face with situations that force me to doubt myself and what I thought I could count on. I’m now looking at one of those situations head-on. I’m in a new city, beginning a new job, making friends, losing friends, attending a new church, and frankly I have no idea what’s going on. It’s exhilarating and overwhelming.

I’ve slowly begun to accept the gray areas as part of the human condition. Uncertainty is what makes us who we are. If I knew the details of my story from the onset, what would I learn? But still, a big part of me wants to KNOW why the Lord is leading me through this time where I’m feeling hurt and confused on many levels. I begin to doubt my ability to discern my Father’s will, my choices and some of the relationships I’ve held so dear.

We’ve all heard the term “Doubting Thomas.” Poor Thomas. He’s gotten a bad rap. When the disciples refused to accompany Jesus to visit Lazarus out of fear that they would be stoned, Thomas insisted they remain faithful. "Let us also go, that we may die with him" (John 11:16). He may have eagerly asked questions, but he wasn’t always faulted for his curiosity. When Jesus was preparing his disciples to carry on without him, Thomas asked "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" In asking that, he set Jesus up for one of his most powerful statements: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:5-6)

And yet we remember Thomas because he needed to touch the wounds of Christ before believing he had truly risen from the grave. (John 20:25)

Well... right now that kind of certainty in my life would be nice as well. The Lord told Thomas that he would bless those who have believed without seeing (John 20:29). Still, I have to admit that if I could know what God is doing, why I feel like my spirit is being raked over the coals... If I could just see what’s on the other side... I’d do it. I hate that I'm confused. I feel like I'm letting people down and falling below expectations. Why is uncertainty so difficult for me?

I can only take comfort in my Father’s own words. He has promised that He will ultimately work everything out for my good because I love Him and I’m seeking Him. (Rom. 8:28)

Lord, keep me from doubting your promises. Help me not to rely on my own plans. Deafen my ears to the lies of the enemy, who tries to fill me with fear and who tells me I’m not good enough. Help me to put my hope in You alone, and lead me into belief without seeing.

For I will trust in Your unfailing love.
My heart rejoices in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

New Year's Revolution

I’ve never wanted to actually be a store as much as I want to be Anthropologie. That may not make sense, but I'll try to explain: Have you ever heard an incredible song (Like "Sergeant Pepper" by the Beatles, "Sir Duke" by Stevie Wonder or "The Blower's Daugher" by Damien Rice), and become so enraptured by it that a part of you is inexorably lost in the music? For a moment, you want to be that song.

The same is true for me and Anthropologie. I'm sure that comes across as silly and frivolous. In a way, I guess it is- but with its quirky books, whimsical dresses and chunky "curl up by a window and read a book on a rainy day" sweaters, the store personifies what my soul aspires to be.

I’m in San Antonio for the day, and since Anthropologie is only minutes away from my parents' home, I determined to lose myself for a few hours in the store. Call it "retail therapy" … minus the actual exchanging of cash for goods (I’m poor).

My mom agreed to accompany me on this soul-soothing sojourn, and in the car along the way she and I talked about a new academic policy that affects my younger brother at Texas State.

"That’s crazy," I said. "When I was in school that never would have happened." I kept on talking, but all at once I was struck by what I had just said.

"When I was in school."

I still can’t believe that I’m no longer a student. On December 9, 2006, I said goodbye to my beloved University of Texas. In the days and weeks after my graduation, I left Austin, moved to Dallas and began a paid graduate internship at an international public relations firm. It’s been a thrill so far; I’ve enjoyed exploring my predominantly Mexican neighborhood, venturing into “exotic” bodegas, panaderías, and fruterías. Work has offered its share of excitement as well. The woman who made the final decision to hire me indicated that most of their interns are hired on to full-time, salaried positions, so come May, I could be a true public relations professional.

A small part of me rejoices in that possibility. "Okay! Security! A great job in an exciting, glamorous field! I could buy cute work clothes from… Anthropologie!"

But then another part of me wilts when I think of spending every day putting on a mask, trudging into an office where I will spend each day on the phone, behind a desk, basking in the glow of my computer monitor, feeding the corporate machine. Is that the life I’m destined for? I could probably do fine in PR, hold a job in marketing, make some money as a journalist… but those things are not my passions. Why haven’t I figured out yet what sets my heart ablaze?

Some things I do know about myself: My spiritual gifts are Mercy, Pastor/Shepherding and Exhortation. I love to help and teach people in need. I always love to learn. Money is far less important to me than personal satisfaction and the knowledge that I am "making a difference." I love experiencing new things, and routine exhausts me.

As for the specifics, I’m desperately seeking the Lord to reveal His purpose for my life. I’m doing my best to offer myself as a living sacrifice to Him, and I’m looking for ministry opportunities. I’d like to go on a mission trip. I could also see myself going back to school and getting a Masters of Education or Counseling. I feel primed and ready to serve His kingdom, but I’m pleading for the Lord’s direction. To be honest, at times the lack of certainty feels discouraging and frustrating.

I’ve been reading the autobiographical account of Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch WWII-era Jew who found a ministry in the concentration camps to which she was confined. After she was released (due to a clerical error; she was supposed to have been executed the week after she was released), she traveled to the United States and stayed in a YWCA while she tried to find permanent housing. After some time, the clerk at the facility told Corrie that she would not be allowed to stay much longer, and asked where she should forward Corrie’s mail. Her response?

"I don’t know yet. God has a room for me but He has not told me where yet."

The clerk handed Corrie her mail, clearly concerned about the woman’s impending need for shelter.

Corrie opened one of the letters in the stack. It was from a woman who had heard her speak in New York, and wanted to offer her the use of her son’s room.

Bottom line: Our Father is faithful, and he provides. He has a “room” for me too, even though I don’t know where yet.

"And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19 (NLT)