Thursday, October 11, 2007

From Nate to you siestas, miestas, and all of the in betweens

My dearest blog moms, sis' and select men of extreme bravery! Please forgive me for taking so long to post. I have to admit that this is one of the more intimidating things that I've been honored to do knowing that I am quite literally blogging to ' a cloud of witnesses' that would most likely have no problem taking me to the woodshed if need be! I am profoundly grateful for you all!
It seems that often the things that most alter the course of our lives happen without warning! Looking back on these last few months, I'm certain that somewhere there was some kind of epic drum role or mighty blast of music that had something very particular to do with the collision of my life with hers. I don't know, perhaps it did happen right there in that arena in Boon, North Carolina and I was just too distracted to notice! To this day, there seems to be a little confusion as to how I ended up with Shelly E's number, but I do remember trying desperately to think up something very business like and official sounding so that I wouldn't have to explain further my desperate desire to get this beautiful girl's number. Well, at any rate by the grace of God my business partner and I ended up having lunch with Shelly and Abby. I remember being ecstatic at the fact that this little tiny southern bell wasn't even a little bit afraid of diving into some fried green tomatoes (Thank you Jesus!) I think we even ordered a second round! Through out the course of our conversation I remember trying very hard to figure out if this girl was actually for real! My life is inundated with people who are, in one way or another, involved in ministry and who have the church culture and spiritual lingo down to a science! This woman was clearly special!
Well, I have to confess that I had no problem finding repeated and very excellent excuses to 'do business' in Atlanta over the next couple of months!I found that the most thrilling thing about this woman is that she truly is in love with Jesus! I think that as a man one of the most terrifying things to face is that of the prospect of a failure of any kind really! As much as I would love to always be Shelly's hero, I have no illusion as to the permanence of my many frailties. I'm so thankful for a woman who allows herself to be adored by me while consistently running first to her Heavenly Father for the validation and fulfillment that only He can provide! Knowing this, I am so free to seek the Lord first as well! I have so much to learn about leading and in some areas haven't the faintest idea what on earth I'm supposed to do, but the deepest desire of my heart is to keep us both free to be everything that our Lord always intended us to be. I take such comfort in Psalms 118:13 - I was pushed hard , so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me! James 1:4 is such a challenge to me! 'And let steadfastness have it's full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.' My precious friends, what a joy it is to know that our Lord is so much less concerned with our own ability to grow our faith than He is in our simply choosing to reside in the certainty of the giant portion of His never ending faithfulness to us!
I guess that what I'm trying to say is that in spite of, in the midst of, all of my many failures and much frailty my Lord somehow has seen fit to show me His unreserved love in the most extraordinary of ways! Knowing this my deepest desire is to protect this woman and serve her in every way I know how.
I can't thank all of you enough for the love and support that you show Shelly! Thank you so much for your faithfulness to her!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

In the midst of it all...

Dear siestas and miestas,

(If you don't know what that means, I'll have to get back to you on another day). For some time now, I have had a hunger to sit down in this blog world with you and share a word I received out of 1 Samuel. I'm itching to get the beatings of my heart to translate themselves to the rhythmic pounding noise of the keys on my laptop. But as you can see, I have yet to do so. You have all been so gracious and patient with me in my lack of typing anything serious in blog world as I have adjusted to Boston, seminary, and relationships.

I think sometime soon in these next few days, I may actually type something about my Beloved Jesus again :) But you see, I am receiving that for which my heart yearned here in seminary: some good holy beatings, some major humbling, and the grateful awareness of the poverty of my spirit. I have said it in the initial days of my blog, and for those who are newcomers, I'll say it again: I want to handle the Word with accuracy and Truth. I have a BIG God who I adore more than anything on this earth, and a BIG God who is so holy and powerful that His Word causes us to tremble. So, out of both love and a holy fear, I do not want to speak of something which I know nothing about, or have not already been taught and brought through by my Greatest Teacher. Otherwise, I receive a holy beating straight from Him :)

If I were to walk in my flesh and all of its insecurities, I am sure that I would probably never open my mouth again to share with you the things His Words speaks to me (Our insecurities can be so self-absorbing and prideful can't they girlfriends?) But dependent upon His resurrection power, I assure you I will not keep me mouth closed upon the things which He has asked me to declare from one generation to the speak of His praises, to declare who He is, to boast in Him.

By His sweet grace alone, I have fallen more in love with my Jesus. Somewhere in the midst of parsing new Greek words, somewhere in the midst of pronouncing Greek with a southern accent, somewhere in the midst of taking so many notes in a New Testament class that my hand hurts, somewhere in the midst of going to Starbucks at 6:30 am on MWF to study Greek with my roomie, and somewhere in the midst of many of my paradigms being shattered by more defined interpretation and application teachings, He has captured me - again. His life-giving Word catapults my heart upon the spiritual floor of always-necessary- humility. The more I seek to know Him, the more I realize how much I do not know. Apart from a few other thoughts, I am not sure that I could ask for anything better while here at seminary. For it has been an absolute joy to see that somewhere in the midst of this new craziness, He Himself is in my midst. Again, and again, I ask Him to balance the passions of our hearts with the passions of our minds for Him. So my God has quite the job on His hands with me: I'm an undeniable nerd, and a passionate extremist! :)

The One who is ever More, invites us to know Him. The One who is unsearchable, invites us to discover Him. And to the One who alone can satisfy, I beg that He may grant us a holy dissatisfaction with our current state, only to be given the passion to know and love Him more. He is all that your hearts could long for sweet friends. I am so jealous for you to have more of Him. Not because you do not have Him now, but because He is so much more.

On a lighter note, I invite you to a few recent quotes that have occurred in my life lately here as a seminarian:
1) My roomie (Teal) about 6 am one morning getting ready for our last minute cramming session for Greek before a big quiz: "Uhm...Girl...Do you think they'll drop the lowest quiz grade? (Pause) Or is that just the undergraduate in me?!" (Me = bent over laughing...)
2) Our Greek teaching assistant to one of my hysterical girlfriends in class: "What do you suggest we do with these multiple prepositional phrases here in the translation of this sentence?" (My friend's response) "Girl! I say just get rid of those things!" (My thoughts exactly...that would be less to translate for my confused mind!).
3) Same friend mentioned in #2 in reference to her viewpoint upon the women's role in leading, teaching, etc. We had just had a very intense, unbiased, and wonderful discussion about this in class. (Note: if you're not feeling a bit humorous today, maybe skip this one. OR if you think I'm going to present my stance - theologically - here - there's no need to look for that either).
I'll paraphrase: "Giiirrrrrrll. I mean, I do not have a problem with my soon-to-be husband taking the lead and responsibility to be the pastor of a church. I'm okay not being an ordained pastor. 'Cuz you know girl ... Eve, she went and got all messed up in the Garden. I know myself, and as soon as somebody come bringing me some fake Prada, I'll be all deceived thinking its real, and bring everybody else with me." (Have you ever heard the mention of Prada in the same sentence of defining the role of a woman in the church?! lol)

I love you each and miss you dearly. Nate has a post coming soon, so stay tuned (And for clarification: He's still not allowed on my blog - it is too much of my heart. But I have agreed to let him post a blog back to all of you sweet and hysterical spiritual sisters and mama's that posted on the last one. He will email it to me, and I will post it.)
Hugs ... and so much more