Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Well, one good thing about being unemployed - when I'm sick I don't have to go to work and be miserable! I can just be miserable at home. Hmmm on second thought, not sure if that is a good thing or not.
Okay, just made up my mind, it is a good thing.
Monday, September 27, 2010
So I had a dream the other night (well, morning actually). I was sitting on a bus, flirting outrageously with a cute guy, when all of a sudden the end of what could have been some type of uzi/automatic weapon sticks in the bus window, pointing right at me! The 'bad guys' were demanding for a particular person to get off the bus. But all I can remember is praying out loud "Oh God, Oh God, Oh God" over and over again. Then I woke up.
Pretty dramatic, eh? Yeah I think so, too. However, it does make sense, in a way. I've never been much of a flirt, and actually think it can be a dangerous practice. There have been times when I've found myself flirting - doing that thing with my eyes - felt immediately bad and stopped. And for some reason, I have always been that way.
Oh yeah, speaking of eyes, check out Proverbs 6:25
Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes,
(I'll get to that comma in a minute).
Funny enough, before that dream I was prompted to read Proverbs 7, after seeing Facebook posts from True Woman Movement & Girls Gone Wise during the True Woman Conference. One of those posts said "The book of the Bible that talks most extensively about 'the wild thing' is Proverbs- specifically Proverbs 7." -Mary Kassian.
Yes, the famous "flirting" passage. One I had read before and took to heart. But for some reason or other I kept putting it off this time, then BAM, the dream! So tonight I sat down with Proverbs and did some investigating.
I read chapter 7, then decided to read the first 6 chapters, too. Some things that stood out to me:
1:10 - sinners entice.
3:13 - blessed is the man who finds wisdom.
- compare with 18:22 He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.
3:15 - wisdom is more precious than rubies.
- compare with 31:10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
Or go ahead and take all of 3:13-18 and compare with Proverbs 3:10-31.
4:9 - wisdom will present you with a crown of splendor.
- compare with 12:4 A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
4:5-9 again, read these verses in light of Proverbs 31:10-31
5:3 - her speech is smoother than oil - then read Proverbs 7 - then think about 1:10.
6:25 - do not lust after her beauty.
- compare with 31:30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Thinking through this, I noticed - Wisdom sounds a lot like the wife of noble character! And the temptress is seen as someone that a wise man should avoid at all costs - someone that will lead him to the grave. As a woman, which should I desire to be like? Attempting, by God's grace, to be wise? Or deceiving with flashing eyes and smooth speech? Which do you think the Proverbs 31 woman would choose?
And I almost forgot - the comma! Here is verse 26
for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life.
Pretty harsh words, don't you think? But considering the rest of the Bible, and the images of Israel being an unfaithful wife, I think it is something to be taken seriously. Israel as an adulteress indicated the people's distrust in God, which was demonstrated with their alliances with other nations - all in the face of the God who saved her time and again - and told her to trust in Him and not to ally with any other nation. Do I want to be a woman who shows signs of distrusting God - who reduces men to a loaf of bread and preys upon their very lives? And if you're a woman reading this, do you want to be this kind of woman? Or if you are a man, do you want to marry this type of woman?
Dear Lord, Please make me a woman who trusts in You alone - not in my eyes or my speech - but in Your work in my life. Please continue to let me trust in Your plans for me, for Your plans never fail - and let's face it, are far better than what I would create if given the chance. Please don't let me be foolish in thinking that I can create anything for my life, but live and delight in the knowledge that You have already done that work; planned my ways, ordained my steps, that You are refining me as gold, and all for Your glory. And that through the sacrifice of Your Son, I am Your daughter - and what would You not give me? You've already given me everything - in Christ. For that I praise You and I thank You. In Your precious son's name I pray. Amen.
AND Oh My Goodness, I just realized it's almost midnight. I should be asleep! Eeek!
So another good way to "not waste my unemployment" - extended quiet times!
There are days that I have hours - and I mean HOURS - to read. And oh how I love to read! And as far as time spent in the Word, I've decided to re-read the Bible all the way through, from beginning to end. I have stuck in Genesis for awhile now. And I mean delightfully stuck. Think I spent about a week and a half in the first two chapters alone. It was so great to meditate on the creation account. Amazing.
And then the Fall, are you kidding me?!? Why wouldn't I spend a lot of time on that? The implications for our world and in my life... Yeah...
Then in Genesis 6, specifically verse 4 "The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown."- I mean, what is that about? Who are they? So curious!!
The lives of Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Hagar and Ishmael, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Esau, Leah and Rachel, the 12 sons, and now I'm reading about Joseph. Whew! Fascinating to see how God worked in their lives - and amazing to know that that same God is working in my life!
Speaking of the 12 sons, there is the 1 daughter that doesn't get much play time in the Bible. However, I spent another good chunk of time, maybe a week, on the account of Dinah. Yes, the whole sordid affair. I will give you a hint as to why - the last sentence, verse 31 "But they replied, "Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?"
So, if you ever find yourself unemployed, and thinking "what will I do with all this time?" just consider how much you can spend in God's Word!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
... make banana bread!
Yep, that's what I did today. When my morning plans fell through, I put my two slightly-mushy-bananas to good use and made some banana bread. Again, I used a recipe from The Pioneer Woman. Here is the recipe. It's a pretty simple recipe, so I added some nutmeg. Not enough to make a difference though...
And here's a fun fact about me: I often refuse to use an electric beater, preferring to mix things by hand (or really, with a spoon). I got that way from reading the Little House on the Prairie series, reasoning that if Laura could beat egg whites with a spoon, then by gosh I can mix cookie dough with one, too. Yes, if you were wondering if I am weird, now you know.
One thing I've learned during this 'season' of being unemployed is how to recognize when God is working. It reminds me of that quote from the Narnia series (was it The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe?) "Aslan is on the move." Well, God is always on the move. Never tiring. Never ceasing. Amazing.
Just a little background on me. My first experience with DC was for an internship at The Smithsonian Associates. How that internship came about is still crazy to me. I had never once in my life thought about living in DC, but applying for internships at the Smithsonian just sounded so cool! Plus my Dad was being considered for a job in DC (he was working in Baghdad at the time). I figured, why not apply for internships, just in case my Dad gets a job. That would be free rent, which would be GREAT for an unpaid internship (not to mention the relief it would have been to have him back stateside). Well, by the time the job fell through, I had already asked my professors for recommendation letters, and they had already sent them. I felt I should at least apply for the internships I had chosen, since they had done that part of the work. So I filled out the applications, although I did skip writing the essay they wanted! How lazy!!! Imagine my surprise when one of them contacted me about a phone interview - and then told me the next day that I had been chosen for the job!
Whoa! I had never been to DC in my life, and I was about to move there. Which is very much like my grad school experience, but that's another story. I found a place to live and moved here for 10 weeks. And what a cool experience! I really got to see the inner workings of the Smithsonian, plus they treat their interns really well, lots of perks - as I mentioned before their internships are unpaid most of the time, so they try really hard to make it fun. :)
After my internship, I moved back to Texas to finish my last year of grad school. I worked for a summer at the Dr Pepper Museum, but moved home after not finding a job that could pay my bills.
After visiting my old DC roommates, I learned that one of the rooms was coming open. Since I couldn't find any type of job in Arkansas, I moved back, all the while thinking I would find a museum job. Never would I have guessed I would have found instead my way back to God + a great church!
All this time in DC (4.5 years) I haven't had much luck with the museum business. It's something that I've definitely put on the back-burner; and I have just now realized that I had convinced myself that it's something God just didn't want for me, something that He had chosen not to give me. I basically gave it up.
Well, back to present time. Through a friend at church who works at the Air & Space Museum, I now have the opportunity to volunteer at the story time hour! Tomorrow I will be observing a program and speaking with one of the education specialists. Probably the coolest thing about all of this is that it's something I didn't seek out. I knew she worked at this museum, and had been considering emailing her, but just never got around to it. I sat next to her one Sunday night, and we started talking after the service, and this all came up. So I definitely know this came about from God, not my own strength. As my friend Ronna would say, Yay God!
And let me be clear, I'm not expecting or putting my hope in a job coming out of this. But I'm still really excited, because God has already taught me a lesson with this! Wanna know what it is?
So as I mentioned above, I had pretty much convinced myself that God didn't want this type of career for me. And now I can see that I thought this way because I felt as though He was punishing me. I thought - why would I deserve a job like this, something I even went to school for, when the whole reason I chose this type of career is because I wasn't trusting that He would provide for me. That I had to do it all myself. In that and other ways I hadn't honored Him, so of course I wouldn't be given this desire.
But as He has been teaching me, He's my Father! My Heavenly Father who loves me perfectly. Not only that, but He doesn't punish me for any of my mistrust of Him in my past. And how do I know this? Because I know His son. I know that He sent Jesus to die for all of my sins. That any punishment I deserve was dealt with on the cross. That work is completed, finished. And through Christ's life, death, resurrection and ascension I have been adopted as His daughter. When He looks at me, He sees Christ's righteousness:
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Because of Christ, I've been adopted in God's family. When God looks at me, He sees Jesus - who is holy and blameless; that's what it means to be His child. Now that is amazing!
So yeah, me going in tomorrow and meeting with this woman could lead to volunteering, which would be another way to not 'waste my unemployment.' And it could be a great way for me to 'get my foot in the door' which would be great for me considering my educational background. But I know that this doesn't guarantee a job in a museum. However, God has already taught me in a real way, that is unique to me, how there is no more condemnation. Christ has ALREADY done that work on the cross. How could I not trust in this God?
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Last week I attempted to make scones for the very first time. They turned out pretty good! Since they were of the glazed variety, someone called them "donut scones." I'm pretty sure it was a compliment. ;)
Yesterday I tried baking bread for the first time. No, not simple banana or chocolate bread, but REAL bread. The kind you use yeast in. The kind you have to knead and let rise. Thankfully I got some great tips from my friend Connie on how to knead bread. Here are some pics of the result. (sorry for the bad lighting). This is Cinnamon Bread, another Pioneer Woman recipe, which can be found here.
Friday, September 10, 2010
I made scones for the very first time! It was pretty fun listening to Johnny Cash and baking - I highly recommend it. They turned out pretty yummy. I used the Pioneer Woman's recipe, which can be found here. I substituted vanilla extract instead of using vanilla beans, because hey, it's cheaper!
I finally got a DC library card - yay! I checked out Romeo and Juliet. Just thought it might be a fun read.
And I finished watching the BBC miniseries North and South. So good! My favorite part by far is the train station. If you've seen it, then you know exactly what I mean. I watched Wives and Daughters this week, too. They are both books by Elizabeth Gaskell, who I had never heard of. I am tempted to read North and South, but it will be competing against all of the other books I'm reading right now. Will probably have to wait until after I finish: Jesus and His Friends, Pilgrims Progress, Knowing God,, and A Call to Spiritual Reformation. What can I say, I'm a book juggler!
And can I just end by how good God has been to me? He has given me rest when I need it, friends when I've needed them, and has provided interesting and fun work when I've needed it - all because He knows exactly what I need, when I need it, and provides it out of His love for me in Christ. :) One big thing He's been teaching me lately is how He provides for me intentionally, carefully, and fully. In little and big ways. It's pretty awesome that the Creator of the universe wants to teach me and chooses to do so in the way He sees fit - for me. :)
I was going for a walk last night (which, by the way, I got too comfortable doing so late this summer, need to go earlier!), and had a thought. I was reflecting on how God answers prayers.
I noticed that the prayers God has answered over the last 3 years - and I mean prayers that He obviously answered - have been for things that would lead to spiritual growth. !
I noticed that the prayers God has answered over the last 3 years - and I mean prayers that He obviously answered - have been for things that would lead to spiritual growth. !
Exhibit A: I prayed that God would show me sins that I didn't know were there, you know, the one's that aren't so glaringly obvious. Then I started reading my Bible from beginning to end. I prayed that He would show me my sin there. And He did! In Exodus! He taught me how I wasn't trusting in Him, but in other things, that that is idolatry which is a sin. He taught me about my pride.
Exhibit B: I prayed for Christian friends and a good church. I found my current church on Google (searched "Capitol Hill DC Baptist Church," because I wanted to find a Baptist church on Capitol Hill - whoa). And from visiting and joining Capitol Hill Baptist Church, I have made many great friends and have godly counselors. I have learned sound doctrine, and have a deeper understanding of the Gospel.
Exhibit C: After finding my current church, but before I met many people, I prayed that the Lord would send someone to reach out to me. Although it may not seem obvious, I'm a pretty shy person, and it was difficult for me to meet well, anyone. One morning while I was getting ready to go to church, I prayed this prayer, and that very morning I met someone who reached out to me! Funny how this feels like an instance where God was saying "I was just waiting for you to ask Me!"
Exhibit D: When I found out I was losing my second job in the span of 6 months, I prayed that the Lord would allow me to be not only content in my circumstances, but joyful. Because I was not like that during/after the first lay off. At all. And I wanted to do a better job of being a witness to Christ, as someone who trusts in His promises. And He has definitely answered that prayer! It's amazing how the Lord, in His great kindness, has given me such peace - because that certainly doesn't come naturally to me.
And I am confident that He has answered countless other little prayers along the way that have lead to spiritual growth for me. And I am even more confident that He will continue to do so. Because He loves me, and His works ultimately glorify Him.
To HIM be the glory forever and ever, Amen.