Not “Because,” but “So that”

“As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.  And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.  We mustwork the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”  Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud  and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.” -John 9:1-7

I read this story the other day and found it interesting the way everyone acted. Upon seeing the blind man, Jesus’ disciples, His main men, asked why this man was blind, assuming that it was a result of someone’s sin – whether his own or someone else’s. We know that all are sinners (Romans 3:23), so knowing this and knowing the logic of the disciples, everyone would have to have been born blind for this explanation to be sound. But here we are, most of the world born seeing, so we know that’s not true. But I digress. Jesus gives an intriguing answer to this inquisition, saying that it is not because someone sinned, but rather so that God would be glorified. After all, that’s what our lives are for – to glorify God. This man just had a much different opportunity to allow his life to glorify God. Most of us assume that whatever sufferings we face are because something else happened – we see it as a consequence – when we might be missing the idea that maybe it’s a so that. We may not suffer because we are sinners, but we may suffer so that God can be glorified in our escape from that suffering. Our circumstances are not, “because we did this,” but, “so God could do that.” This man was blind for the purpose of glorifying God in Jesus performing a miracle. Our suffering may be a mystery, but we can live through it with the hope that He will be glorified through it.


What are you looking for?

In a late night planning session for my Campaigners lesson, I was going through all of my old journals looking for inspiration. I took a creative writing class in high school and I used one of those journals to do our free-writing exercises, wherein we would be given a prompt and we’d have to write without putting down our pen for a few minutes. I found one of my free-writing activities and read through it. Our prompt was “What is something you are looking for?”

Quite frankly, I don’t know what I’m looking for, I’m mostly wandering aimlessly. I’ve found something that should keep me from looking for anything, but I’m afraid to admit it, I keep looking for something else anyway. I really need to stop looking and just stay with what I’ve found. When I found it, well, that’s the happiest I’ve ever been. Unfortunately, the roller coaster of happiness has gone down the first big hill and I don’t want to keep going. I keep trying to stuff all these other things into the gap of my life but they just don’t fill it. They may keep me full, if only for a moment, then they are gone and I am sent searching again. There is only one thing that can truly fill and fit into the gap, but alas, I have tossed it aside so carelessly. What I need to look for is a way to stuff that back into the gap. I need to mend what I so carelessly tossed aside and never break it again. I need the greatest super glue in the world to keep me from ever throwing it away and replacing it ever again. Now I know what that super glue is, but I’m too afraid to use it. I need to get over my fear and finally get the courage to make a lasting change. I want that lasting change. Why am I so afraid? why do I hesitate? Do I think it won’t work? Why shouldn’t it? It’s the greatest thing in the universe and I’m just too chicken to really say that I only want that and absolutely nothing else. I don’t need anything else. Absolutely nothing else. I don’t want to wander aimlessly any longer.

I still struggle with my relationship with Jesus. I still try to find other things to fill my life with. I know in my heart that He is the only thing that will last and that will do me any good, but in my mind I think there are other things that will work. I’m a teenage girl – at least for a short time more – so getting my heart and my head to agree on anything is one of the hardest things to do.

Amazing. Simply amazing.

I’m taking a child development class because I’m an education major and that’s the kind of stuff I do. Well, we’re currently learning about prenatal development and we got some background on cell division, and let me tell you, the human body is amazing. Let’s do some incredibly rough math, shall we? Alright. we have about as many trillion cells in our body as America has dollars in debt (I went there). Within each of those cells, we have 46 chromosomes each, excluding sex cells, which have 23. That’s anywhere between 80 and 100 trillion chromosomes (like I said, this is extremely rough math. I have no idea if that’s anywhere close, but it’s still outstanding). That’s incredible in itself. But it doesn’t stop there. In just one chromosome, there is enough genetic coding to take someone an entire week to read out. We have 20,000 base codes in each of those chromosomes. That’s 920,000 base codes in one cell. I don’t even want to try figuring out how long it would take to read someone’s entire genetic code. God created every single base code for each of the 7 billion people on earth. God created enough genetic coding that calculations would reach numbers that haven’t been invented yet. That is absolutely amazing. I can’t even fathom God’s glory just based on that fact. And He’s done so much more. He is truly amazing.

When the world stopped turning

Eleven years ago today, tragedy struck the nation. It’s a painful memory. Thousands of people had their lives taken and millions have suffered because of it. War has broken out and a new hatred was formed. But in that hour of darkness, hope did shine through. There is always a bright side. There is no such thing as darkness, only the absence of light. But experiencing darkness makes the light that much brighter. The society in The Giver is equal and safe, but at the cost of having any feelings or strong memories. Some may want to forget this day, but we remember because it makes us who we are as a nation. We share the memory of that fateful day and feel the pain just like we share the happiness and pride when our country dominates at the Olympics. “The way I see it, life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant,” as the Doctor so brilliantly puts it. Remember this day and remember the anguish, but don’t let it spoil your life; let it instead make you grateful for what you have now and who you are today. Be that much more thankful for all the good things in your life.

Men in my life

I’ve expressed this thought before, but today it has a bit more meaning. I have a lot of men in my life, and to none of them do I have a romantic attachment. I have three older brothers, I have my dad, I have the male portion of my Young Life community – including my co-leader, who is an awful lot like a brother – I have all my guy friends at home, and most importantly, I have Jesus. The last one is the only man I really need, but I have certainly been blessed with plenty more. Now, I’m a 19 year-old girl, so I watch more than my fair share of romantic comedies and I expect a lot out of my non-existent love life. I want prince charming to whisk me away; I want the adorable nerd to prove his love to me; I want to marry most of the fictional men I encounter, but I don’t need any of that. God has the perfect man lined up for me and someday we’ll find each other, but not just yet. For now, all I need to do is focus on who I am as a woman in Christ.

A few of my dear friends explained to me that they’re taking a dating fast. When they first mentioned it, I thought, I’ve been on a date fast since sophomore year of high school. But it’s so much more than just not dating anyone for six months. It’s taking six months to keep my mind focused completely on God. It’s taking six months of accepting romance with no one but Jesus. Using the time that I would take on tending to my non-existent love life, I can focus on my intimacy with Christ and my identity in Him. It’s taking six months to grow as a woman with my female fellowship and teach myself to let the right man pursue me. And let me tell you, when that day comes, that poor boy has got an awful lot of approval to seek.

Journey through my life in music

The other day I was trying to avoid studying (what else is new) and I decided to put my entire iTunes library on shuffle. I realized that my taste in music has greatly evolved through time. So let’s start in 3rd grade.

The first CD I ever bought was the story of Little Red Riding Hood told in the perspective of the wolf. I have absolutely no idea why, but this song was on it and I legitimately listened to it every day.

When I was in 5th grade, I went through a very brief dark period. I’m talking incredibly brief. For about a two week span, I wore all black, asked my mom to get me this CD, and I sat in a corner and listened to it over and over again. Then I realized that I liked being happy and excited about things. So I took these songs as girl power and jumped on my bed and sang them at the top of my lungs like normal 10 year-olds do.

In sixth grade, I listened almost exclusively to Relient K. Then I got sick of it, and I actually kind of like it again upon listening to it again on this little journey.

My friend Natalie and I were punk skater kids without skateboards when a local teen hangout had concerts with mediocre high school bands who played music like these. We went every weekend and sometimes got to watch Natalie’s boyfriend play with his band (now, by the way, he is a sophomore at Harvard. No big deal, whatever). We thought we were awesome. That phase lasted longer than I care to admit. Although you can guess if you do some math here.

Working at the pool started to convince me that I liked country music for a short time. So there that is.

iTunes came up with this thing called Genius that suggested music to you, and the Genius on my account suggested a whole bunch of chill, singer-songwriters that nobody’s ever heard of. My iPod was very easy-listening for a while. Go ahead and watch that incredibly creepy music video.

Then my brother went to college and was introduced to good music. He gave me sort of the highlights and I absolutely loved them.

For a graduation present, the same brother who introduced me to Mumford and Sons got me tickets to see The Avett Brothers. I hardly knew any of their stuff, but I knew it had to be good, so I listened to only them for the month prior and a few months after the concert. I don’t really have a favorite band, but if it ever comes up, they are my go-to answer.

This brings us to today. For some reason, I absolutely love hipster music that appears in commercials, especially those of the Apple variety. This includes the Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men and… that’s all I can think of at the moment because I took some cold medicine. Because you all needed to know that.

I have all of this music on my current iTunes library, and going through all of it was quite a journey. I’m glad I got to share it with you, internet.

The gospel according to fandom

If you’ve read any of my past posts, you know that I’m a fan of a lot of things. I’m a huge nerd and when I love something, I love it. I watched all eight Harry Potter movies in a day and a half. I watch entire seasons of TV shows in a day and I’ve watched the entirety of the Doctor Who continuation three times. I own every season of The Office, Friends, and Community. I have a Pinterest account and 80% of the things I pin are about something that I seriously nerd out about (the other 20% is recipes for desserts with a lot of chocolate). And that nerdiness has begun to seep into my relationships. I’ve convinced many a person to watch Community and I recently got one of my friends to enter into the Doctor Who fandom (ok, so she’s just going to watch it, but nine times out of ten that results in fandom). Some may say I’m suffering from a nerd addiction, but I’m loving every minute of it.

But here’s the thing, I wish it were as easy to convince someone of the gospel as it is to convince them to watch a television show or read a book series. Maybe it is, but I just don’t put as much effort into it, which is an awful thought. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve recommended a TV show, movie, band, or book to someone. It happens at least once on most days. It comes so naturally to me, and I’m sure many others, to share the things they love with the people they love. So why is it so hard to tell someone about Jesus? I mean, He’s so much better than any story I could recommend to someone, but I find myself telling people about Him less and less. The gospel is something that I love immensely, so why am I so hesitant to share it with the people I love?

As we go on, we remember

List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for

  1. Exemplary faith in Jesus Christ
  2. Happiness
  3. Humor
  4. Being the person God made me to be
  5. Love for others
  6. Seeing Jesus in me
  7. Optimism (I’ve clearly run out of ideas and I’m now repeating)
  8. Knowledge of pop culture (to be honest I really don’t care about this one)
  9. Love of eating and baking all things chocolate
  10. How incredibly awesome and obviously modest I am

And that’s it for 30 things! Thanks for following on this strange journey of awkward introspection 🙂

Comfortable Silence

What do you think people misunderstand most about you?

I’m awkward and I like people and talking to people, but I’m comfortable with silence. If I’m quiet around you, I’m comfortable. Unless I’m making a face at your or giving actual signs that I’m upset, I’m usually not upset when I’m quiet. I enjoy just sitting in a room or in the car with someone I like. Sometimes, it is actually an awkward silence, but both parties are usually incredibly aware of that fact. Most of the time, it’s comfortable silence. Don’t ruin it. Especially with chewing.

La Langue D’Amour

What is your love language?

I don’t know what this means.

I looked it up on the internet and still don’t really understand it, but I took The 5 Love Languages test and it said my love language is quality time. Apparently I like the people I love to spend time with me and pay attention to me. I do not speak the language of physical touch. I got an incredibly low score in that area.

For those of you who don’t know, I will educate you on the very little I know about the 5 love languages. They are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. And that is the extent of my knowledge on the subject.