Mattering to People

I can try to develop a resolve for writing, and getting written.  And I do try.  And I just make paragraphs small and regularly-spaced, “enter enter,” new thought, new thought, add silence for emphasis.

 

Eh.

 

So I’m writing.  I’m writing because there are things in my heart that have to get out.  I’m writing mainly because there are people whose writings have changed my soul, and I want to give that to the world, too.  I want to change people’s souls.  I want them to benefit from my suffering.  I want to mean something to them because of what I have contributed to their wholeness – I want to gain friends (or maybe just fans).

 

Friend or fan, I want to influence people.  I want to matter.

 

I’m not assuming anyone is reading this, and in fact I’d be a little embarrassed to find that anyone were. But just in case, and to train myself to ask questions about what I’m saying —
Who has changed your soul by their writing?  List up to three authors and which of their writings — I want to know who matters to you.

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Thoughts from Amos 5

Amos 5:4-5, 8, 14-15

“For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel:
‘Seek me and live; but do not seek Bethel,
and do not enter Gilgal or cross over to Beersheba;
for Gilgal shall surely go into exile, and Bethel shall come to nothing.
Seek the LORD and live….
     ‘He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
     and turns deep darkness into the morning,
     and darkens the day into night…,
     the LORD is his name….
‘Seek good, and not evil,
that you may live;
and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said.
Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.'”

The LORD says–seek Me and live.
But do not seek Bethel, do not seek Gilgal–
do not seek a place or a memory to find Me–
but seek Me.

And another word,
a whisper in the whirlwind around, encircling us–
a Word of Hope:

“I turn deep darkness into the morning.”

There is Hope, Frightened One.
There is Hope.

But do not forget–He urges–
I also am the God who darkens the day into night.
Trust Me.
I am still sovereign, even over this.

Seek Me.
Trust
Me.
…and you will live.

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Artists From O Brother, Where Art Thou? Get Back Together!

Oh my. What wonder.

Now this really fills my heart with joy. That old movie that brought our hearts in by its music — and threw along the old humor and good-natured crime-committin’* –O Brother, Where Art Thou? brought us into itself. And now the artists get back together… Starbucks is offering this film, here, and — well, I’m excited to pieces.

God bless you.

* as regards “good-natured crime-committin'” — It is not a general practice of mine to endorse crime. And it is not now, either. If you’ve seen the movie, I hope you understand. It’s just a good-natured movie, although acts committed in it may not be worth approval and endorsement. Thank you.

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“Help Me, Lord; I’m Feelin’ Low.”

It’s a gray day out there.

A gray, gray day and so much fog in my heart.  And in my head.  (And I’m double-tapping the spacing between my sentences because my mother told me to.)

It started off not-so-well.  I couldn’t get moving.  Woke up too late, grateful for so much sleep, reminded of my chipped tooth (and I’m secretly so afraid, so afraid that now I am someone who doesn’t work right, and my mom might have a blood clot in her lung.), then showered and took too long shaving my legs, took too long figuring out what to wear, but mostly spent a lot of time online looking for…something, probably peace (looked at http://aholyexperience.com).  Finally I found something to wear (I wanted to wear that coral braided leather belt so bad, I love it, thank you), did my makeup and hair, spent minutes, minutes, minutes — wasted too many minutes just wondering where I should go to do my homework, what I should do…

And this thing that was supposed to happen at 8 am, now it’s 3:45 and

I’m too afraid to do anything.

After lunch I went to Perry Farms to just sit with You, and I did!, and it was good — there by the water, remembering that You watch the sparrow and so You watch me.

Then Christine, lilacs, John Denver’s “Country Roads Take Me Home” on my iPod when it was on shuffle — these three little blessings You gave me all at once.  And I was encouraged.

And still I haven’t started.  First I didn’t know how–then I got that e-mail from Dr. Mellish, that horrible e-mail saying that the homework he told us we didn’t have to turn in we actually have to.

And I can’t handle this.  And tears are filling my eyes but You remind me, gently, You whisper that thing again that You said to me–“I will carry you through.”

(You will?  This is my whisper back.  Can You really?  Did You already know about this before I did?  before Dr. Mellish did?  Did You really already care–did You start caring the day I was born?  No–before I was born, before I took my first breath, before I was conceived in the womb.  Maybe as You were knitting me together, Lord, with each stitch You thought of what was to come.  “With this stitch, she will become a woman…  With this stitch, she will skin her knee.  She will run into the only lamppost in the parking lot when she learns to ride her bike without training wheels.   And this — she will realize that I have called her to preach.  And this, she’ll start–this very day she’ll begin–to see that she LOVES studying origins and original languages, and that this is an integral part of her calling to preach, to dig in and get into it and share it.  This day she’ll have her first sermon, and she’ll be glad that Billy Brackenridge came to the altar, and that she feels like she spoke the Truth, and got to use her Greek she learned from Dr. Manley.  This day — April 3, 2012 — she’ll start to realize she wants to do what she can to combat deforestation.  And one day she’ll realize why, from a theological standpoint.  And with this stitch — I am thinking of the day, that first day in May, that Tuesday, when she just got back from Valparaiso with the Olivetians, and she woke up too late and was feeling so gray, and Christine blessed her, and I gave her lilacs and the John Denver song that blesses her heart and comforts her so much, and — and she found out that she had to turn in her Hebrew homework after all.  And all of these other stitches — every single moment before this — has been preparing her for THIS MOMENT, and this moment and all the others have been preparing her for the next.  She will feel sad — and discouraged — and she will not ‘know.’  But I am with her.”)

O Lord…  Every stitch, a Knowing.  Every stitch, a Freedom — a Preparation.  With every stitch, You prepared my story (which is Your Story, Lord); You created and sewed together my heart, a gift for You, a gift from You.

And so I count some gifts You gave me today —

1. The raspberry green iced tea Christine bought for me.  (Does she even know that I’ve been struggling extra hard with money these recent days?)
2. That she came with me to Starbucks to study.  (I’m sorry I haven’t yet…  Please help me.)
3. Thank You for taking me to Perry Farms to just sit by the water and Listen, and read Your Word and look at the birds and remember that Your eye is looking straight on the sparrow, and so You watch me.  Thank You for the gifts You gave me there, Your presence and songs coming on that talked about water, and just right, and putting into practice and making connections with what I’ve been learning in every other class (water).
4. That gray makes all the colors outside be real, be shown for what they are.
5. Thank You for being the Faithful One who is right next to me, who is watching me!  The One who is comforting me up in Your arms, and blessed, and beautiful, and that even though I’m Gomer You (and Casey) are Hosea to me, the Faithful One who is kind to me, who prepares me and provides for me, who keeps marrying me and buying me back and pursuing me though I am the lost sheep who, though pitifully wandering off in confusion, sometimes willfully runs away — and still You come to me and it is good.  Oh I’m grateful.  Oh I don’t know how to love back but I am learning, please teach me.
6. For this coral braided leather belt.  How I love it.  Thank You!

Yours forever.  Now give me strength to accomplish this, what I have before me, what You have placed here and will carry me through, and maybe I won’t do all I think I will or all that’s required, but “Everything God intends to do will be done.

Thank You.

Now I keep needing Your grace.

Amen,

Amber.

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Stay.

“‘Stay’ is a charming word in a friend’s vocabulary” (Louisa May Alcott), says the cardboard attached to my door. And all around me… No one is staying.

This summer, I get to live here, on campus, as part of the PR group, and I think that part of the reason why I’m so excited to move to on-campus summer housing is that I get to stay.

Today I left a conversation I was having with another (oh, so dear, so important to me) person, and for hours afterward (I would say it still isn’t resolved) I felt unsettled. Why? He said that he didn’t have anything else to say, and I didn’t have to have anything to say, and… I walked to the restroom, he to his bed, and… It was over. And that’s just weird to me. I am always the last to leave. And, incidentally, he’s usually the first… And now the roles have switched.

I don’t want to be that person! Not only does it make me feel all kinds of uncomfortable and weird, but also — does my leaving affect the others like their leaving affects me? And, if so, I never want to do that to them!

Why is it so important to me that people stay? Why can’t I just let people (and things) go and just know that either they’ll return or they won’t and that whatever way it is, it’s right?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a packrat… The queen of free things, collecting & gathering whatever meant anything to me. And I’m also really sentimental… And real nostalgic… And always prepared for anything… So I always gather enough to provide for whatever could come.

But about being prepared for everything… I guess that’s everything but this.

Everyone on my floor is moving out. I cannot bear it! All these boxes outside doors & these pictures off walls — beds moved back to where they were for move-in & Orientation (do you remember that? wasn’t it gross?) — all this blankness and proactivity, people that have been packing up and preparing for this for weeks.

And I… I just want to stay.

Please, please, please, just let me stay. And everyone else stay too.

Please.

Lord, I am Thine. This whole leaving thing… Causes me to barely breathe. But You sustain me. I have felt at home here since before the beginning, I have loved every minute of this place, I have felt unsettled in imitations — but YOU are Home. YOU are Home, Lord.

You are all the Home I will ever need or see or feel or taste or know. You are all the Home I can and/or cannot see.

And I trust in You.

To be Home.

To me.

For ever.

Lord… I love You. And all of the unsettledness and all the things that ‘leaving’ reminds me of and all the hurt I feel… I give it to You. Thank You for every reason why I have been hurt and for all Your faithfulness in it.

Lord… I am Thine, mmhmmm. I am YOURS. Yes. I trust You.

And commit to You all the reasons I’ve been wounded…

And ask You to redeem all the echoes of that.

I love You — LMLYM ❤

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coming out of the winter…

thank You for not always giving me what i want.
thank You for knowing what is best.
thank You for always giving me what i want (‘what i really really want’).
thank You for being kind.
thank You for loving me so well.
but i don’t always see it, or know it, feel it, or believe it.

it’s like in Tangled. it’s like in real life and in Truth. — the Enemy tries to convince us that the one who loves us the most
is the one who has abandoned us.

never, never, never.
never is that true.
You never have abandoned us.
You have promised not to.

You have kept Your promises.

‘come, let us return to the LORD;
for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
after two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
that we may live before him.
let us know; let us press on to know the LORD;
his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
as the spring rains that water the earth.’
hosea 6:1-3

let us know You
and love You

(like i’ve prayed all along,
and it has gotten me into trouble —
i’ve asked to know You and to love You
and i have SUFFERED and DIED and WEPT and WEPT and WEPT and

You have healed us.
i have found, always, that it was better than it could have been without the suffering
— because we are human, because this earth is butwillnotalwaysbe unredeemed, because of fear and of darkness and temptation and wrongness and sin —

but You are faithful.
You are faithful to Your children.
You are faithful to Your Word.
You are good.
You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of all things.

You are faithful.
You are faithful.
You are faithful.

and You are making me a mountain —
a mountain that looks to You, that is built on the foundation of who You are,
that cannot be shaken and cannot be moved,
because of the Rock that is Christ.

oh, thank You for faith… it is Your faith. ever.)

always.

thank You for Your faithfulness…
thank You that i have seen it.

coming out of the winter, —
in the snow,
i was unsure of the product,
of the result of all the snowbound snowcovered snowMESS over me,
not knowing if i was in the right place or if i had been wrong or what i had done or had avoided.

and i learned — i think i learned —
i think i am learning —

that i was in the right place all along.

my many hopes
& my many fears
were meant to bring me here
all along.

He was right.

He was right.

He was right all along.

i’ll find greater comfort
if i just lay down and die
[i am seeing] what’s become of a girl who once knew sunshine
what’s become of a girl who knew sorrow but was STRONG!
hey, mr. King — You were right all along.

i am becoming
the girl
who Knows Sunshine
who Has Known Sorrow
but is Strong.
(with all the Strength & Grace of her Lover and Creator.
hallelujah.)

and the Shallow People,
the On-the-Edge People,
the People that Hold On and Don’t Know Him
don’t have to understand.
they don’t have to admire it,
they don’t have to see with the Ocean’s Eyes,
with the Eyes that see the Fire and the Truth and the LIGHT ~

{but oh, make him Yours forever, make You the affection of His Heart (oh, already You are becoming, already You are becoming, mmmmhmmmmmm) — make You his Grand Desire (oh, You are),
ensure him of Your Peace, Lord.
open his eyes to have Ocean Eyes,
eyes for seeing Hawaiian Hope (do You remember that purple notebook?)
and moon jellies and Light ~
You have shown him all the time and make it so.
Yours.}

and make me Thine forever.
i’m already feeling the bewilderment and the question of Truth & Hope.
oh – here. Christian music again.

but we are alive.
We are alive.
We are alive in You.

and YOU are alive in US.

we love You. let us love You more.

love You.
{dwelling in Your Presence the whole day long}

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