prayer for tomorrow

prayer for restful sleep tonight.

prayer for renewed energy for aaro 9 tomorrow.

prayer for strength to give my best for these students, their families, my co-workers, my employers, SMU.

prayer for wisdom and discernment, compassion and understanding when interacting with the first-year students.

prayer for me to see the students in my small group through Your eyes. to see how precious each one of these students is. how infinitely valuable they are to You.

prayer for me to answer their questions thoroughly, for me to help equip them to live their college years to the fullest potential.

prayer for me to be honest, open, vulnerable. professional yet understanding.

prayer for me to love my neighbor as myself.

prayer for me to be filled with Your Spirit all day long. for me to listen for Your still, small voice. for me to believe You are near me even when it is hard for me to have faith that You are sovereign, You are in control.

prayer for me to walk in freedom. live life without limits.

prayer for You to tear down strongholds in my life, one by one.

prayer for You to teach me how to trust You again.

Lord I want to love like Jesus. I want to these students to know You. I want them to feel valued, to feel like they belong here, to feel that someone here cares about them – cares about the things that make them unique and special. Teach me how to love like You already love them.

Lord teach my heart to dance with Yours. Take my heart just as it is now – weak, confused, weary, fearful, selfish, stubborn – and allow me to experience the freedom I have when i dance with You. I need to, I want to feel Your heart beat. I want to see like You see. I want to hurt like You hurt. I want to cry like You cry. I want to rejoice with You. I want to be in this world, but not of it because the only thing that can define my existence is the fact that I am Yours. Give me a heart that serves not for my own gain but because I can’t not share Your goodness to others.

My Princess Bride

May I invite you to let your heart dance with Me today? Only I can turn your mourning into dancing. I will give you the beauty and grace needed for the world to see that you are My Beautiful Bride. When you dance with Me, you will feel yourself move to the beat of My heart. It is time, My Bride, to put on your dancing shoes. Now allow Me, your Prince, to play a song, a song for your soul. A song that will make your heart beat with Mine now and throughout all eternity.

[Sheri Rose Shepherd]

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.

You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.

O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!

Psalm 30:11-12

Cry on My Shoulder

You are never alone, My beloved.

When you hurt, I hurt, and it breaks My heart to watch you cry without me.

I am here with you, desiring to be the shoulder your tears fall on.

I too walked the world broken, My love.

We will work through any and all things together, heart.

Call out My name, Jesus, in your dark hours, and I will hold you.

Will you give Me a chance to love you back to life again?

I promise that you will see the light of a new day and joy will come again.

Love,

Your Prince who will wipe away your tears

[Sheri Rose Shepherd]


 

He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. [Job 8:21]

open door

Dear God, what does that mean? open door. two out of the many words you gave me yesterday.

two things usually hold me back from going to the altar after the sermon: fear of what people will think of me and fear of surrender. when i went yesterday, i received the words “open door”.

then twiggie met up with me for lunch. everything you’ve done in my life leading up to this point in time has been to open a door for me. i feel as if there is nothing much left to do on your part; all that is left is for me to respond. to let go of bitterness, pain, hurt, fear, insecurities, pride, control. to let go of numbing my pain by not dealing with it. to let go of blaming others for where i stand in my relationship with God.

dear m. i’m angry at you. i’ve been angry at you for most of my life. first,  it was just confusion. why did you lash out at me when i tried my best? why did you not tell me you loved me when you should have? why did your insecurities have to cut me, too? why did you have to hurt me so much that it made me wish you dead? why did you reject me when i gave you my heart?

why have you never apologized to me. why do you always justify the wrongs you did to me.

aveline, for years now you have been equating your healing with m’s change in response toward you. but my breakthrough is completely between God and me. it has nothing to do with m. oh, what i would give to see m understand me, my pain, my heart. yes, what an experience it would be. but there’s something bigger and greater in God wanting me to surrender my mess to him.

stepping stones. i can choose to use my mess to grow or i can choose to be bitter and use it against myself.

i am a daughter of God. my mess – the pain numbing, the pride, the impatience, the bitterness, the insecurities, the anger – are opportunities to step closer to you. i can choose to linger in the messiness or i can ask God to not let it hold me.

“I will come soon to carry you over the threshold into eternity. My desire is to lift the veil from your eyes that you might see who you really are, My Princess, My Bride…I long to get close enough to give you a glimpse of My eternal love for you…I will give you a new hope in your heart that you will change your view of Me, of yourself, and of the world around you forever.” [Sheri Rose Shepherd]

The Lord All-Powerful,

the Holy God of Israel,

rules all the earth.

He is your Creator and husband, and he will rescue you.

Isaiah 54:5

 

dear Lord, please change my view of You, myself, and the world around me tomorrow. tomorrow is the first AARO.

 

spring 2015. wow. it’s over.

what a whirlwind.

today, i realized that all of wanna’s blog post notifications had been going straight to my spam. oh dear me. dear aveline.

i really stopped journaling shortly after this semester began. i didn’t even write a physical journal like i usually do. not even in church during Pastor Brad’s sermons. i just felt asleep a lot. but last sunday, i stayed awake for the entire service and i never once felt the urge to sleep. twiggie and her boy disagree, but God and i know the truth.

my movie fast (nyuck nyuck nyuck) did not last. i broke it once after two weeks had passed but then exercised a pretty decent amount of self-control for just about the entire rest of the semester. but then i got mad at God and stayed mad and didn’t care anymore. good news is that the fast, even though i didn’t really complete it, curbed my winter break movie addiction.

i dropped some things and i picked up other things.

i took a break from going to community groups.

i started going to the brand-new iv women’s small group but i still wasn’t very consistent.

i half-way fixed my virus but still need to re-partition my computer so the storage is evenly split between the mac and windows sides.

i felt intensely homesick a lot. it got better near the end.

i signed my first lease for next year’s apartment and spent the next few weeks daydreaming about how i wanted to decorate it.

i got a baby succulent cactus plant from wanna for no real reason. she gave it to me during the intermission of my last choir concert.

oh yeah – i was in choir this semester. two more semesters to go. wheeeeeeee (not).

i went on an AB tip to atlanta to explore the issue of human trafficking. i hope that my desire to help will never fade.

i found a new nightgown: one of daddy’s big t-shirts.

i watched the imitation game at mama murray’s house and it made me sad.

i also watched the theory of everything and that made me sad.

i went to the reunion tower for the first time for suebee’s 21st. wanna, kris jie jie, suebee, and hanna C. it was fun and reminded me of sitting on a wobbly cruise ship. wanna wanted to go clubbing afterwards but suebee had to go home and sleep. the poor child. she woke up in time to work DU at 6am every Monday and Friday this semester.

speaking of which, wanna took kris jie jie, suebee, and me to our first club. my feet hurt afterwards but it was cathartic.

i discovered that the i pig boutique has incredible warehouse sales.

i stopped pretending my relationship with SW was okay or normal. because it’s not. perhaps this is taking the first step to healing our broken relationship.

atilal and i stumbled upon the cutest plant sale just two minutes away from our house. we bought lamb’s ears for SW and i bought a vine that doesn’t need much sunshine or water. the lady told me to water every 10 days.

i stopped taking my allergy shots because i was too lazy to walk to the health center and my skin is going crazy. i need these allergy shots more than i thought i did.

eelasor taught the chanblings how to play settlers of cataan and now i like it much more than monopoly. i feel like a cool hipster when i play it. i just wish i didn’t always get so many sheep.

i took a class from the first professor i’ve hated so far at this school. he deserves to get his bootay kicked.

i put a vineyard vines sticker on my laptop cover because suebee didn’t know what it was and i thought that was cute.

i started giving my first adult student private piano lessons and she cuts my hair in return! sweet deal. bonus: best student i’ve ever had. her practice habits are out of this world good.

i stayed up late talking to kris jie jie a few times.

i tried spinning with suebee every Tues morning at 7:15. we were always late and missed a good one too many classes. the instructor reminded me of erin waller.

i bought eelasor macarons from the farmer’s market for valentine’s day. she screamed a lot. i don’t even understand why those are so popular. they’re not even tasty. do you know what’s yummier? baby food.

i took an OLI class and learned about the four frames in an organization.

i discovered i can’t stand the smell of 6-month-old kimchi. thanks dear roomies for ruining kimchi for me. not that i was ever crazy about it in the first place.

i developed a new fear of cockroaches. they are nasty creatures. suebee is a warrior and gets rid of them for me. she is a brave child. i am not that brave. i am afraid. i will sleep on the couch if there is one cozied up in my room.

i hugged the famous cassey ho when she came to dallas last month. going to see her in southlake was a really fun experience. plus, atilal is a great buddy.

i practiced after midnight on a friday night and got kicked out of my practice room by the campus police. not pleased. this needs to change.

i didn’t study very much but i think the professors liked my piano jury.

 

 

 

The mark of a true believer is not sinlessness.

“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

“Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

The mark of a true believer is that you fight against sin and you turn against sin.

If there is no fight, there is no light.

-Matt Carter, Fighting Sin Through Identity

Streams of Living Water.

This is the funniest video I’ve seen in forever. WHY IS THE CHINESE UNCLE SO FUNNY? and super duper wooper looper drooper good at basketball? and adorable, to boot. Especially when he wipes his face with a hand towel and walks off at the end.

I’ve needed to blog or at least journal for the past three weeks. So much has happened in less than one month and I kept telling myself to record everything that’s going on in my life and write it down or else I’ll forget. But I procrastinated. I’m not proud of procrastinating. It’s weird how it seems like most procrastinators I know are loud and proud of being procrastinators. But really, why would that be something you like to boast about? Beats me. Beets. Ronny wears beets. He wears purple beets to the rec center.

A little over three weeks ago, Hannah P introduced me (and the rest of women’s small group) to SheReadsTruth. It’s pretty addicting. Not only do I appreciate the beautiful, BEAUTIFUL layout, daily devotionals, and gorgeous lock screens, but God’s truth — ahh — was like water to my thirsty, thirsty soul. God, what did you inside of me that changed the way I viewed Your Word? While I had not been wanting to go near You for so long (a.k.a. 7-8 months…maybe even a year?), You were slowly and lovingly and faithfully turning me towards You. You are water to my thirsty, parched, hungry soul.

Finished the Hymns II series and was halfway through the Open Your Bible devos when Litzpitz and Mia jumped on board so I restarted Open Your Bible so that we could all be on the same page. But now Lent has started, so we might work through SheReadsTruth’s Lent devotional and pick up Open Your Bible again after Easter.

Open Your Bible Day 1 shook me.

“We encounter the living God today. We can meet Him now in His Word. Oh, gift among gifts!

You can open His Word just as you are.

“The Bible is the story of God’s redeeming love for His children. It is your story. You are not merely welcome to explore its pages, like a student explores a textbook–you are meant to read it, to react to it, and interact with it.”

“Move forward to Day 2 of this study knowing you are not disqualified. Nothing you are doing, have done, or will do renders the Gospel useless for you. All the things you’ve imagined you’ve done wrong when it comes to Bible study or “quiet times”, or the lostness you feel when you think of opening The Book of All Books for the very first time? Let it go. Understand here and now that yes, this Book is holy and it is sacred and good. But this Book exists for this very moment–the moment you lay it open and look for Him.”

“This Book is yours. Take it, read it. Let it change you. Open your Bible. You will never be the same.”

I meant to insert only my favorite lines from the Day 1 study but ended up pasting almost the entire devo because it’s just so good.I especially love the encouragement Amanda Bible Williams gives when she says that nothing I’ve done “wrong” when it comes to reading scripture in the past and the present disqualifies me. The Bible was not written for me to feel shame (“There is therefore now no condemnation…”) but was given to me so that I might come alive.

“No, I can’t make the Bible come alive for anyone. The Bible is already alive. It makes me come alive.”-RC Sproul

Switching gears now: King Spa date with Twiggie and DreaBaby. Thinking about those 12 hours makes my insides feel relaxed and at peace. The Holy Spirit must have been present during our conversations last weekend because I felt You shaking me up. I felt Your encouragement and it wasn’t just any kind of encouragement. You were speaking directly to me and healing me. I felt You reaching down to my ugly places and washing me as white as snow.

You made me face the sin I had been hiding from myself. That I judge people when they complain about being busy and tired as if by being busy and tired, they achieved a new status, a new level of cool. That I play mind games with myself so I don’t think I’m busy and when others ask me if I’m busy, I always deny it. That I pretend that I don’t care about the “busy” status, but I actually do. I want it as badly as anyone else. What does that make me? A hypocrite.

Ouch. That H word. How it stings.

The week before King Spa, I went to prayer meeting and Women’s Embrace Connect. Angela led the session and there were some pretty delicious vegan carrot muffin bites at the snack table. I ate 6 or 7. When Eelasor came to pick me up for our haircut appointment, I grabbed 2 more for her. She is trying to go gluten-free again and didn’t eat them. So I got to eat two more! Weehee.

But I digress. I saved my notes from Women’s Embrace Connect. They’re a bunch of random phrases scribbled all over, but I don’t want to lose what I wrote down.

reading forward to God’s Goal

My Target for 2015:

-get away from the mindset of choosing people/org/activities/careers/majors based on appearances (get out of the SMU culture)

-focus on Jesus

be myself, be content, just be

-trust and focus

-flipping the switch

-keep my eyes focused on You, set on hitting the mark

What baggage is weighing me down and keeping me from pressing on and hitting the target? What is standing in the way of letting me be who I’m supposed to be?

-Fear that God (couldn’t figure out what to put here)

-Fear of Man

-My value is not inherent

-I need to prove myself

What do I need to leave behind so that I reach forward?

-comparison

-discontentment

-walls I put up to protect myself instead of letting God be my shield?

Phillipians 3:12

i wanna know Your heart

“closer” <–I think that’s a song we sang that I liked so I wrote the name down.

One more thing to type up before I finish blogging for the night and go back to school to practice. It was actually pretty awesome hearing all these thoughts flow through my head while practicing earlier today. But I think I’m pretty pooped and I’ll save what I want to say for tomorrow.

did the neighbor get a new dog?

I hardly slept last night so my head throbs.

I usually don’t hear or am bothered by the dog who lives next door but I think a) its bark suddenly became four octaves higher overnight or b) our neighbors bought a new dog who is not trained. Regardless, a dog has been barking the same high-pitched, shrill scream ever since I got home five hours ago.

The walls that separate our room from the neighbors’ are not good sound insulators. They are so thin, they could as well be made of cardboard.

This dog barking actually hurts my head–as in, I feel literal pain in my temples--and my attempts to try to think, read, or sleep today have been absolutely useless.

Never in my life have I been angry at or because of a dog. Who knew that a dog’s bark could upset me so much?

I suppose there’s always a first time for everything.

Hope & Kindness

today is Sunday.

it is 1:13 pm.

i went to church today.

taylor gave me a ride there and back.

i am sitting here eating Costco meatballs and Costco spinach which i stir-fried with garlic. it should taste good but i accidentally put too much oil in the spinach and now i can’t finish my lunch. i wonder if i should find some rice or pasta or some kind of carb to add to my overly greasy spinach. i wonder i wonder i wonder.

today was a good day at church.

i wanted to listen to Pastor Brad.

i wanted to surrender.

like suebee said in her breakthrough post and like Pastor Brad said today, it’s all about the baby steps. i think so often i want God to tap me with his magic wand and transform me completely in an instant, but today i realize that i should not be discouraged by slow and steady growth.

i should not discount God’s power working through me even if it seems like sanctification is taking longer than i want it to.

today, i wanted to surrender because i felt hope.

i felt kindness.

Rosemary told me Jesus loved me. Twiggie overwhelmed me with love as usual and Camille sat next to me and hugged me as the congregation sang Come as You Are. It made me cry, being held.

was this the sign i was asking for a few days ago? perhaps.

hope & kindness

“earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal” [Thomas Moore]

“your kindness leads me to repentance” [Romans 2:4]

so lay down your burdens

lay down your shame

all who are broken

lift up your face

for the first time in a long time, i think i want to lift up my face. i think i want to come home.

because You’ve given me hope when there should be none, because You are good to me and you hold me when i ask You to.

because You are Hope and You are Kindness.