Tangents & Wanderings

The ups & downs, ins & outs, tangents & wanderings of a twenty-something, Minnesota born, book-loving, always running, loves-to-cook, forever changing girl who is simply feeling her way towards God. And..finding that He is not far at all, but very near (Acts 17:27)

Grad School or…Leave the Country?

It has definitely been an interesting couple weeks. After discovering that I will need to take an 18-credit semester and realizing how quickly May is coming, I am also beginning to understand the number of decisions graduation entails. The options, while not limitless, seem that way.

Get a job. Go to grad school. Do an internship. Do mission work. Take time off. Get extra licenses/certificates.

It’s a lot for my little brain to think about! And, the more I think about it, the more panic ensues. Over and over again, I remind myself to trust God.

“Indeed, non who wait for you (God) shall be put to shame…” Psalm 25:3

I find this hard to believe when life presses in from all corners. As the pressures around me seem to say, “Be anxious! Panic!” the Lord continually says, “Trust. Wait. Be still.”

As I look into these options today, my prayer is that of David in Psalm 25, “Make me to know your ways, Oh Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”

Nonetheless

This was the first year since I was eight that I have not made the trek up to Park Rapids with my family for deer opener. Needless to say, it was a strange experience. My dad and some of his college roommates own property just North of Park Rapids. These guys and their families have always been as close to me as family – if not closer. More than the crisp, crunchy sound of leaves beneath my feet while walking to my stand or the air-splitting sound of bullets fired, I missed the time with my “family”. Deer-opener just wasn’t the same.

Instead, I was stuck at home in Marshall…working. However, the weekend did hold many blessings.

Friday evening, I went with a few friends to the Hindi store downtown. I’d seen the shop before, but never realized that you could order a meal there. We walked in, smells of turmeric, ginger, and other spices mingled in an aromatic greeting. Laughter could be heard around the corner as a group of young men chatted away in an Arabic language. A man rose from the group. Smiling to silence his own laughter, and wiping his hands on his apron, he asked what he could do for us. My friend ordered us all gyros – and boy, were they delicious.

The store was cold, so our coats were kept on throughout dinner. As one friend picked at his gyro, our conversation trailed to “classic” American food. Mac ‘N Cheese, hotdish (or casserole – the one friend won’t eat it regardless of what you call it), and hotdogs. From there, it only got worse. What goes in a hotdog? Have you ever heard of blood sausage? What’s in blood sausage? You get the picture. Needless to say, none of us were interested in dessert. Nonetheless, the experience was priceless. The shop was a perfect reminder of why I love different cultures. The beauty of the nations is astounding.

Saturday evening, I had the opportunity to go with a few friends to Taken 2 at the theater. If you haven’t seen the original (and I highly suggest you do), you would be just as enthralled as we were. The film was fantastic – unpredictable plot, exciting ending.

Sunday morning was equally as wonderful. Church is quite often the highlight of my Sundays. The message on God’s timing was…perfectly timed. For lunch, I went with a fifth grader to El Rancho’s on East College Drive. And after work, I was able to go to the weekly worship service at the Campus Religious Center. I am so blessed by the people there and so honored to worship the Lord with them. Never do I walk away from God’s people without having seen Jesus living through them. The Holy Spirit is always active.

Although the weekend wasn’t quite the same, I was blessed in so many different ways. God is faithful.

 

Nobody’s Home

Throughout the course of the semester, my anxiety and stress levels have sky-rocketed. Every day seems to present an opportunity to panic. Whether it’s work or school – or the combination of both, something always seems to be going wrong. 

This morning, it happened to be school. An email pinged in my inbox. Upon reading it, I discovered that (once again) my DARs report shows an inconsistency. Basically, because I came to college as a PSEO student (I was a senior in high school) and then re-enrolled as a freshman, I’m on two different liberal arts core programs. My generals are screwed up and the system doesn’t know which one to follow. Oh the joys! 

Jaw clenching, muscles tightening, heart rate soaring…and then I remembered these words from Luke 10:34-35:

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. As anxiety stands at the door breathing heavily, I realize that I have two options. I can open it, or leave anxiety as a stranger out in the cold. Stress and anxiety are selfish monsters that take their hosts captive to thoughts that revolve around the impact a situation has on MY life, MY circumstances, MY comfort…When I invite stress and anxiety into my home, it’s as if I believe that God can’t and won’t help me. Jesus is not in control. To declare that He is sovereign and able, I will instead, leave the door unopened. No one’s home today…anxiousness, go away. 

Thin Spots

No..not the places where your hair is thinning out…

A good friend of mine has this theory: that our lives are so busy that in order to actually find rest – much less hear from God – we must come to the end of ourselves. To do that, we must find ourselves in a place where the mundane sounds are a symphony. And the symphony must not be interrupted by the squeaking of our voices. Or the radio. Or other people. Or the television. It’s places like this that he calls thin spots.

For him, the best place is when he’s hauling sugar beets during harvest. No radio frequencies come in on the semi’s system. There’s hardly any cell service. And it’s a four hour drive to get the beets where they belong.

Personally, I love to drive. As a busybody, driving keeps me in one place for more than half an hour. Especially in the busy seasons of my life (and I tend to make every season busy), I can barely stand to listen to any music or radio. So the radio’s off and the only sounds are tires on the pavement, wind, and my heart. And as each mile passes, I’m able to calm and quiet the racing of my heart (Psalm 131:2). My anxious thoughts are tested (Psalm 139:23). And I am comforted (Psalm 34:18).

Where is your heart stilled? Where does your spirit find rest? Seek out a thin spot…

Biowhat? Healing, huh?

As I’ve been in and out of the doctor’s office, I’ve heard countless opinions on how to treat pain. From narcotics to muscle relaxants to injections, the doctors have tried most everything, putting me in the position of guinea pig. 

The narcotics made me loopy (big surprise) – there’s a couple good stories there; one including a quick trip down a flight of stairs. The muscle relaxants slowed my heart down (I already have low blood pressure and a slow heart rate) – hello, black outs. And the injections made me nauseous. Boy, those are fun side effects! 

So this time the doctors are taking an alternative approach. Yesterday morning, I awoke to my alarm blaring at 4:15 (yes, 4:15 a.m.). Out the door by 4:45 and to the cities by 7:45. Not only was my body in pain (as is typical these days), but I was exhausted beyond belief. The specialty team was comprised of four different doctors that collaborate to develop an individualized treatment plan. Over the course of three and a half hours, I talked to each clinician and answered extensive questions. By the end, many recommendations were made. Two of the primary therapies suggested were biofeedback and healing touch. Biowhat? Whose feedback? Healing Touch? Touching who? Who’s touching me? 

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/biofeedback/MY01072

http://www.healingtouchinternational.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2&Itemid=240

So…I’ve begun to explore the options. There’s studying that back both methods. The FDA approves. My parents? They’re skeptical. Me? I may be desperate enough to be curious. And although curiosity killed the cat, satisfaction brought him back. 

I prefer satisfaction. 

Remember the Sabbath Day..

The idea of idleness scares me. From an early age, my dad impressed upon my brother and me that sitting still was only supposed to occur in dire circumstances…like sickness. Or when you absolutely have to wait for an appointment. He was a man hardly at rest himself – there was always a project, a job, an adventure. Looking back, I love the gift of a strong work ethic that he gave me. However, as I enter into the second quarter of my senior year of college, I see a blur behind me.

Over the course of the past three and a half years, I seem to have lost all site of the notion of a Sabbath. So rarely is there nothing on my agenda that I’ve forgotten what life without an appointment book is like. Granted, the years have been productive. There’s no denying that. But what I wonder is this…have a wandered so far from rest that I don’t know how anymore?

Nearly every day, I take quiet time to be before God. To pray. To read. To listen. But rarely do I devote the entire day that He requires (as listed in the fourth commandment). Never is there a day where I do not work at all. Every single moment (it seems), I’m striving. For what?

This is the thought that has stuck with me – how am I supposed to live in community and honor the Lord if time is not devoted to simply being? Simply being His daughter. Simply listening. Simply standing in adoration. Simply breathing and resting. Without slowing down..how can that be accomplished?

Whirlwind

It has been a whirlwind of a weekend. Rather, a whirlwind of a semester. This weekend alone was comprised of work, travel, a wedding, more travel, church, and more work (not to mention homework…). But that’s not out of the ordinary. I find it hard to remember a day where there wasn’t something…where the only thing on the agenda was nothing.

Over the summer, I was on a mission trip to Ukraine. Not long after I returned, I began to have intense headaches – along with a strange assortment of other symptoms. Three months later, there is still no explanation. Although many doctors have been thorough – some have even come up with the “perfect” answer – we still cannot explain my symptoms.

As a Type 1 Diabetic, I’ve become well accustomed to doctors, hospitals, tests, and shots. Not much surprises me in the healthcare field. At least when there’s answers. When there isn’t…that’s a different story. In fact, it’s been a rather desperate search for anything that might make me feel even the slightest bit better. So far, though, no such luck. Most of the medicines have made things worse. Many have wrought havoc on my blood sugars.

While the web continues to become more and more tangled, as I’ve become exhausted, I’ve struggled to understand what God’s intentions are. What His plans may be. Why there isn’t some type of explanation. In His great mercy, He answered me. Yesterday morning, I sat down to do devotions..and discovered how precious His handiwork is…

In Isaiah 18, it appears that the whole world is set to battle God’s people. Yet what is the response of the Almighty One? “I will take My rest, and I will look from My dwelling place” (v.4). His stillness may appear to have been an acceptance of the conspiracy against them. But it wasn’t. God’s response was His reminder that He acts in His timing—at just the right time according to His will.

I think of Jesus waiting 4 days while Lazarus lay in the grave (John 11:39). Was He unaware? Did He not care? Of course He cared! He was waiting for the right time to act and to teach the lessons He wanted to teach.

The Bible records God’s “delays,” many of which seem at the time to be inexplicable from our point of view. Yet every delay flows from the depths of His wisdom and love. If nothing else, delay, if we accept it, can produce the quieter virtues—humility, patience, endurance, and persistence—qualities that are often the last to be learned.

Are you in distress? Does the Lord seem distant and detached? He is not indifferent to your plight, nor is He unmoved by your pleas. He is waiting while His purposes are achieved. Then, at the right moment, He will intercede. God is never in a hurry, but He is always on time.