Thursday, December 18, 2008
My name is Mandy.
On behalf of Shelly, I want to apologize for her lack of attention to this blog... Let's just say that her energy has been well-focused ELSEWHERE: Wedding plans, classes, world-traveling fiance', etc etc. I'm sure you ladies understand!
I just said goodbye to my BFF. This time a boy has stolen her, and I have a feeling he's not gonna give her back.
Yes. Today is moving day.
They packed up.
Headed south for the winter... and the rest of their lives!
The past few days have been a whirlwind for her... Nate (still worn out from his most recent bout with Malaria - long story) arrived on Saturday, and slept while Shelly finished her last exegesis paper. (I'm not sure what an exegesis paper is. You can ask my husband. He's a student at this seminary as well. All I know is that they are HARD to write.. So, yes, 20 pages in 8 hours is nothing short of a miracle!)
(And we properly gave Him praise for getting her through the paper so quickly.)
The rest of her time this week has been spent saying goodbyes. LOTS of goodbyes. Complete with tears and hugs and more tears. Last night at dinner, Shelly recounted that Nate even cried. He agreed, saying he cried because all her friends took so stinking long to say goodbye!
(Nate's a funny one, yes he is. And, bless him, he's wrapped around her little finger.)
The packing and leaving part has been rather... tense. But, she only yelled at him once. Good thing he knows a stressed bride when he sees one!
(Speaking of. Y'all should see the way he adores her, even when she's a little, um, moody. The man is ruined for life. He needs prayer. Lots of it.)
There's no room for the iPod in this car. My best guess is that Shelly is gonna have to sit in his lap all the way home. We can't have that, now can we? ;)
Over the next few days they'll be wandering all over the eastern seaboard, eventually landing in Nashville, unpacking the car, and heading south for Christmas.
So, that's the latest - with more to come.
I can't make any promises about this blog once they tie the knot, but I can promise you, as Matron-of-Honor extraordinaire, that I'll give you a handful of updates AND a chance to bless Shelly over the next two months.
Well, according to Shelly: SEVEN weeks and two days, to be exact.
Monday, July 21, 2008
--> finishing up Hebrew I (loved it - even more than
--> can't wait to see my man visit on Friday
Character man and his circumstances --> haven't seen his woman in 2 months
--> whirlwind travel schedule
--> can't wait to come visit woman in Boston
--> couldn't find those
--> spends a lot of quality time on the carpet with her Jesus
--> sad heart; in-love heart aches much
Character man --> does his best to support and encourage and understand slightly hormonal woman in the far away land of Boston
Character me --> tells him not even those would help...she misses her man (Character man gasps in shock at the severity of the situation!)
Character woman --> receives an email from a fellow GTech sorority sister Thursday evening making it possible for character man to receive a Delta buddy pass
Both characters - can't believe their friends...wonder if they will ever know how their obedience unto the Lord to give blessed our hearts. Surely not...
--> marvels at a God of such mercy
--> humbled at the blessings He as a Heavenly Father longs to lavish when
we walk obediently to the difficult things to which He calls us
--> supposed to be studying for her Hebrew final she has the next morning
--> can't concentrate to study hardly because she's too excited
--> can't sleep because she's still in awe of her God and anxious to see a
--> recognizes the blessing of the presence of the Body even more
Sunday, June 29, 2008
I know that at this point in my blogworld, it is most appropriate for me to give some kind of life update, and I assure you it will come soon. But for this moment, I need to speak about my Jesus.
Just here lately, I have been pleading with Him over a particular situation. And when I say 'plead,' I am meaning full-on childlike faith, given by Him, to believe and ask for the impossible. I know He is able. However, the answer He gave me was a "No." So, I pleaded some more. And some more. And my pleads turned into full-on childlike tantrums. Still, a "No." Then, I got angry at Him; and I even reverently told Him so. Still, in the same gentle voice as before, He whispered, "No Shelly."
In the midst of my fighting Him, I've been honest enough to acknowledge my rebellion; I've told Him that I would love more than anything if He could give me a new heart (Ezekiel 11:19), united with His (Psalm 86:11), delighting to do His will (Psalm 40:8), and submissive to it. But still, I've resembled the ridiculous kid in the grocery store screaming and doing a dance on the floor in outrage towards her Mom because she can't have the sugary cereal with the must-have toy in the box!
I want my 'toy' in this situation and I have been ceaselessly letting our El Roi know it.
Praise God. He answers even our warped half-hearted pleas coming from sinful rebellious hearts. He pressed my heart to submission this morning under the trustworthy nail-scarred hands of a God who is always my "Yes." He changed my heart's desires from an ill-knowledge based 'want' to the all consuming, all demanding, satisfying 'must-have' love of my God.
I still have my 'No' over this particular area, and I'm pretty sure no ounce of His Heavenly Throne was shaken by my tantrums. I'm also pretty sure every ounce of my Heavenly Father's heart was though. Today, He spoke a whisper in my spirit loud enough to bring back life into these dead bones of mine. He reminded me that He is granting me a beautiful Yes. My 'Yes' is in Him.
And that my dear friend is enough for me. He may give me a 'Yes' to this situation in a different season. He may give me a 'Yes' to this situation in a bigger way than I could have imagined, and that's why it has a temporary 'No.' Or He may not. He may be trying to grant us all the true longings of our hearts to have more of Him. He may be inviting us into the privilege and blessing of knowing Him, which is eternal life. He may be extending a gracious Father's hand in protection from a harmless plea because He is trying to give us a greater gift. As in this case, He is extending the greatest gift I ultimately yearn for - that of Him.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
And I can't begin it all here, but I want you to know that I miss you as much as miss my salsa down south - which is an unspeakable amount if you know me :) I'm really hoping to fight back for some time here in blogworld, especially before the Siesta Fiesta in San Antonio in August, so here is my first minute attempt. I will refrain from personal-update bombardments and Jesus loving until I gather some courage (and pick each of you off the floor from shock at my being back here in blogworld).
For now, I am posting my current song-obsession that has my heart bowed on the floor. I believe that it speaks to whatever your circumstances, be it the tragic or the mundane, the joyful or the sorrowful, the ever-changing and the monotonous. His Spirit beckons our hearts to be still, and know that He is God. Psalm 131 says it better than I could, so I will close with it.
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul
Are we concerning ourselves with matters too great for us? Are our thoughts spewing in every angle but a pretty one out of distrust and worry? Oh! Be still, and know that He IS God!
Thursday, February 28, 2008
I just wanted you to know why I'm pitiful as of lately! It's 8 degrees outside right now. And really, according to my southern genetic make-up, that alone is reason for me to be validly pitiful. (Not that I'm saying God isn't bigger than that! :) ).
Anyway, I want you to know that I think of you each throughout the week. I'm pretty sure the Lord calls nearly all of your crazy and fun blog names to my heart and mind as the days past, and I lift your sweet spirits before the Lord while He impresses a specific burden on my heart for you on occasion. I miss you like crazy. But you'll have to bear with me for a little while longer.
I'm taking 5 classes right now, and working nearly 20 hours a week. In case you haven't been to graduate school, four classes is a nice maximum without loosing your insanity. I've also finally been able to get back to the gym for some healthy exercise these days. (I say 'finally' because I broke my toe about 4 weeks ago. Yep - broke my toe. I've been so busy that I haven't even been able to give that one the blog it is so worthy of receiving. Oh but it is. Me, in a black opened-toe cast boot hobbling in the snow....picture it, and I am sure I don't need to say anything more! Don't even get me started on how it never matched any of my outfits). Throw in the fact that I have a long-distance phone-only relationship with my man, and try to throw in some good eating and sleeping during these times, I suppose you can conclude as to why my blog world is sadly empty these days.
Know that my heart is full to boast with you and hear your day to day stories. I am sure one day soon if I don't get to type what my heart is bursting forth to proclaim, some poor victim that I run into on campus one day is going to have to hear it all in one sitting. You are all so dear to me. In 3 more weeks, I'll be down to only 4 classes - so maybe I'll celebrate by posting a blog? :)
Press on...and don't give up girlfriends. He is our exceedingly great reward.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
I'm at home tonight...er....I mean the library, trying to familiarize myself (translation - study right up until the point where I fall asleep at the desk like the poor guy next to me did last night) with my NT Greek Bible. I'm taking an 'Interpretation of the NT' class this semester, which I could not be more pumped about. It's basically the background course for all my future exegesis classes, and teaches me how to write an exegesis paper, with the hopeful anticipation of my submitting one at the end of the semester.
Anyway...I'm getting my Greek on in Jesus' merciful Name...and going through an extremely technical book that explains some of the apparatuses of this Greek text (i.e. - notes in the inner margin, outer margin, abbreviations, parallel references, and signs for other various texts). They were so sweet to let me know that they included a small light blue card for me to keep in my new Greek Bible as a reference for all of those handy-dandy codes and abbreviations that I hadn't committed to memory yet.
Y'all...I've been staring at it wondering why I was struggling recognizing some things that I'd just spent over 4 hours reading about in detail. The 'handy-dandy' reference card is in GERMAN y'all! IT'S IN G-E-R-M-A-N. Y - to the stinkin' - ES! It is! The authors of the 400+ page book that are telling me how to read this NT Greek Bible are German, so in their translation of that book to English, they must've thought I'd be competent to handle the small card in their original language.
Two for the price of one...I get German and Greek all at the same time. Did I mention I didn't register for a course in the German language? Apparently, I'm to learn Greek through the German language (Okay...I'll quit being so dramatic, but seriously.) Y'all...I need some mercy! Mercy, mercy, mercy!
And PS - Any one of you siestas, miestas, and lurkers can learn Greek! It is amazing...I'm the clueless one that just keeps pushing through until the Lord decides to have mercy on me and hit me with his faithful Teaching skills ;)
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
To give glory where glory is due, I thought you'd all love to join me in a little praise dancing (closed doors are allowed) for tomorrow (Wednesday) because...
Vern Vip - my boy Vernie as I shall call him - is the host of the show Deserving Design. Have y'all ever seen it? To summarize a little about what he does, and I quote, "Designer Vern Yip hosts a new feel-good design show that gives a break to the people who really need it the most." So there you go.
So guess who is going to be on the show featured tomorrow Wednesday, at 9PM on HGTV??? My Georgia Tech sorority girls - Alpha Delta Chi!!! Yes...yes...yes. We were actually selected this past Spring semester, but the show will air tomorrow evening. Now hold on to your remote control before you completely stereotype my sorority, m'kay? They are an anointed group of young women whose lives I considered it a privilege to be able to walk beside during my years at Tech. It remains, and acts on biblical principles...so we stick out like a sore thumb in the Greek community, which I love. We're rubbing shoulders with that often-times dark world, communing where we've been planted, yet not forsaking the call to holiness. And yes - we did all the cheesy things that go along with being in a sorority. Anyway, I don't think any of the girls will be in the scenes at all..maybe? And it's not about us or the sorority. But I wanted to rejoice in the graciousness of God - that He would allow our small, often-overlooked, going against the tide of the Greek community, to be swept up in His overwhelming favor, and have the privilege to be able to continue to reflect Him, as in a mirror.
We surely were not deserving of anything...and the girls' least concern was a renovated room. But may He receive all the glory, honor, and praise...He'll take center stage if you let Him - and a television show too :)
PS - I have some 'Jesus' mumblings below if you were thinking I still hadn't. But you'd be much more fulfilled going to read your Bible again and hearing the voice of the Living God instead of mine, m'kay? :) Love y'all!
Saturday, January 26, 2008
I walk with a limp. You may not see me hobble all the time, but I do. No. There are no outer bandages and the crutches were disposed of after a while. They seemed to hurt me more than help.
There is no need to pity me for my walk. I am privileged to limp. I know that seems contradictory to the status quo of superwoman these days who flies through life with her one arm of faith held out in battle against any enemy. But it was God-ordained. It was God purposed. And it was God caused.
Jacob, son of Isaac, is dear to my heart. He was touched by God. God’s touch brought all of the things one normally thinks of when we hear those tender, yet unfortunately, sometimes, clichéd words – ‘touched by God.’ It brought life, wholeness, vitality, promise, and closeness. However, it also brought a breaking. A hip breaking to be more exact. Jacob has the holy limps of all holy limps; the first, but by no means the last. God has likely called you to one as well…
Jacob was returning to his home
Despite this, Jacob continued as God had commanded him. He prays: “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O LORD, who said to me, “Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you,’ … deliver me I pray from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children” Genesis 32:9-12. Jacob then sends all of his children and wives across the stream ahead of him, leaving him all alone.
It’s night. It’s dark. Jacob is alone. His loved ones are not with him. The circumstances demand fear. Will he die? Will his wives and children die? Will his possessions be stolen? Will he reach
The clock on the kingdom calendar has ticked towards the dramatic circumstances. Against the darkness of Jacob’s soul, against the doubt of what would come in the morning after this lonely night, and against fear and solitude, God steps in.
He does not step in with a vision. He does not step in through the winds, or the stillness of the night. He does not step in by a word. He does not step in to allow Jacob to feel His soft comforting presence of peace. He instead, steps in to battle. He steps in to wrestle with this child of the covenant. He steps in to get dusty with the son who claims Him as the ‘God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac,’ yet remains clearly distant in his lack to claim Him as my God.
Scripture tells us that Jacob wrestles with him until daybreak. When He (God) saw that he had not prevailed against him (Jacob), he touched the socket of his thigh; so that the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled. Upon the breaking of dawn, He asked Jacob to let him go. Jacob said that he would not let him go unless He blessed him first.
A name change and a blessing later, the wrestling ceases and Jacob is left alone again. The sun rose, and the match ended. Jacob has seen the face of God, his soul was preserved and he crosses the river, limping from the holy touch.
Jacob wrestled all night - and he got a ‘hip-breaking’ in the process. But don’t miss it dear one. Do you see it? Does your heart resonate with emotional familiarity? Jacob, whose name meant “heel-grabber” because he heel-grabbed Esau in the womb, grabbed onto Someone greater this time. And he wrestled his way through, still demanding that he receive a blessing. (Some things don’t change do they!?) God, in response, gave him a blessing, and probably more resounding, changed his name. No longer will he be called Jacob, but he will be called Israel, in Hebrew “God will prevail’.
Seemingly contradictory? God gives him a name that meant ‘God will prevail,’ yet Jacob ‘prevailed’ in the wrestling match that night per se. Not in the least is God contradicting Himself, nor on some ego trip of denial. Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham, has the promise of the covenant to him. The blessing he asked for was given by God that night; but what Jacob may not have realized was that he’d already had the blessing. God had already given him the blessing through the established covenant of Abraham. In addition, Jacob had the earthly blessing of his father Isaac. What more blessing could he have needed when the God, Elohoim of the Universe, made covenant that He would be with him, multiply his descendants, and more? Jacob had the blessing unquestionably. God gave him more than a ‘blessing’ – He changed his name.
‘Jacob’ to ‘
Jacob prevailed that night. But God will prevail through Jacob’s heart, establishing Himself to the nation of
Jacob got the victory because God prevails. Face to face, no longer called a heel-holder, Jacob’s soul is transformed. It is not necessarily that the future doubts had been resolved; Jacob received no answer about Esau’s coming, no peace about the safety of his family, no conjured up internal strength, and certainly no extraordinary physical strength at this point – an all night wrestling match and a broken hip leaves even the strongest of self-wills weary. But he trusted God.
It was a victory over Jacob’s mind and soul. He had wrestled with God about his doubts, fears, and darkness. He did not wrestle against God.
We have all been there; however, I fear that some of us have missed the blessing of the wrestle. Many times, we will decide to embrace the darkness of our nights, the aloneness, the fear, the unbelief, and fight hard. Unfortunately, we fight against God. We really have not wrestled at all, but hide our innermost thoughts and emotions from God. We may even tearfully pour out a confession and a prayer, such as that of Jacob’s, but place our hands over our hearts in the process, not allowing God to look at the darkness inside. The inevitable happens in these circumstances: when I refuse to jump in the ring of my Almighty and let him deal with me, there is no victory and no glory for my God. I am still a heel-holder…and I grab onto whatever thing or person is nearest me to get my empty blessing and pretentious victory. I lose…
I beg you to wrestle with God. Let your heart and soul fight with God, and the limp of the darkness becomes a holy limp of wholeness and light. Let God get you face to face, dusty in the ground, as He whispers ‘Work with me child! Do you see me? Do you see my heart for you?’ I am for you, not against you. I am your shield and strong tower. I will bless you and make you prosperous. I am God, your God, and I will prevail!
Take courage beloved, and get dusty. Do you feel alone in the emotions of your soul? Is there an area of darkness to look upon? Is there uncertainty of fear over the future? Is there an area of brokenness in your heart over the past? He has called you near. He has called you to battle. He has called you to battle against yourself, and with Him. We lay down our lives, and live. We take up our cross, and follow Him. We grieve for the night, but are promised that joy comes in the morning.
We wrestle with the dissonance of our souls, and what we receive is a blessing of unbroken fellowship, power, and a new name. We are overcomers, victorious in Christ, and no weapon forged against us shall prosper – for this is the inheritance of the saints. We march on across our rivers, gather our friends and family, and embrace our ‘Esau’s.’ We do not draw attention to our limp. But we cannot hide it either. It is a reminder of who God is to us, what He has done for us, and what He has promised to us. God is not just one who has spoken to us, nor the God of our fathers and grandfathers. In the intimacy of battle, He has become our God, and we are His people.
We limp a limp given by the touch of God, visible to the doubting Thomases in us, and around us, who need to know that we have been in the dark lonely nights, and have come through. A reminder of our absolute dependence upon Him, a reminder that He is victory, a reminder that He is for us, a reminder that we have to be for ourselves, a reminder that there is no fear in Him, and no darkness is in Him - for He is light, a reminder that He has given us a new name, a reminder that He is all sufficient and all knowing.
Don’t miss the wrestle sweet sisters. Cease heel-grabbing onto false gods, temporary fixes, idols, or things of this world. God has called you into deep fellowship – deep communion – He’s called you alone with Him to look Him in the face, speak, and work out your salvation with fear, trembling, and a little wrestling match. Has God allowed some solitude in your life? Turn your eyes off of your friends, family, and other loved ones who we need as the Body of Christ, but are not meant to walk thru this valley of your soul with you. They are across the river cheering you on in prayer and encouragement. The Creator of the Universe has called you to Himself. What a divine privilege of grace. What a blessing of His goodness. What a powerful chance to commune.
Don’t miss the chance to get with God over the areas of your heart. He arrives with greatness for you. He gets close, your face in His hands, heart pounding, eyes of love asking you to work this one through with Him, and a new name over an area of former darkness.
Are you ready for the holy limp of wholeness and blessing from God? He is…..
Micah 7:8 “Rejoice not over me my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me!”
Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”
Monday, January 21, 2008
Anyway! I'm not going to type much here since I've been out of commission for over a month. A post that would adequately cover such a time period would bore me to tears and surely send you to the store to buy a gallon of ice cream as a means of comf0rt to get through it. BUT, I will just insert some pictures from the past month and a half, and you can catch up with me that way, m'kay? I love you all! And am working on a post to deliver to you in the next few days - thank you for being patient with me. And thank you for your encouragement. Y'all are such a blessing. I love you dearly.
Wedding #1 back at home upon leaving school: me, Ashley, and Wendi (I've known these dear girls since I was 5 years old. It was a precious blessing to get to be in a wedding together with them for one of our friends.) Nate and I attended another wedding that same day, but I was too tired to even take pictures in that one (which means I'm WAY tired.). Location: Jekyll Island, GA
Tina-Marie (Nate's sister-in-law), me, and Anna (Nate's sister) around the days of Christmas. I met his entire family for the first time, and look...I'm still smiling and functioning. No seriously - they're amazing and wonderful. Explains him very well. Location: Panama City, FL
Luke (Nate's brother), Ivan (his Dad), Nathanael (which they call him, and I tease him about), and his brother-in-law Todd. This picture just makes me laugh b/c he and his Dad are both wearing zipped hooded navy blue jackets. He's already become his Dad huh? :) . Location: Panama City, FL
My other boyfriend - Mac - and I kissing over New Year's Eve :) Location: Greenville, SC
Me and my man over New Year's. Location: Greenville, SC (And yes all my much-needed spiritual mama's out there - we are wonderful. He is wonderful. And I still have the stupid-love face on. He's leaving Sunday to be in Thailand for 3 weeks, so I'd cherish your prayers for him. And me - so that I don't go get that gallon of ice-cream I mentioned earlier.)
All the boys, and me, during the days of duck-hunting after New Year's. Clarification: They got up at 5 am each day to go, and returned home as I was waking up :) I didn't feel left-out at all: I had several good books, chocolate-covered nuts, my pajamas, and my Jesus with whom to bond. Location: Wynne, Arkansas.
My favorite view on campus. This is what Boston welcomed me back with upon return. Apparently, it thought I would miss the cold. It's 4 degrees here today - don't even get me started.
My birthday was this past Sunday. So, Saturday night a big group of us went cosmic candlepin bowling. Translation: cosmic = black light, disco balls, and all oldies music. I was loving it, and didn't care if it felt a bit middle-school'ish. Candlepin bowling = They use bowling balls about the size of a grapefruit, and skinny taller pins that they expect you to be able to hit with the small bowl. Riiiight! lol. Mandy treated me to a quality chick-flick the next day (long overdue), Nate sent me flowers and chocolate-covered strawberries (my favorite...he's a good man), and the girls celebrated over me to such a foolish extent, that I was left outright embarrassed. I just had to get under it, and receive it as straight from my Father's hand (which is what I believe it was). Because y'all know how I don't like receiving any attention for crying out loud.
Okay, you survived. That's it! Finals, 2 weddings, snow storms, a new family, 25 years of age, and 4 states later, you're up to date :) I love y'all