A Countdown

13 days – that’s the time I have left here in the states before I embark on my euro-journey.  13 days to make sure I have everything together, 13 days to say my “see-you-laters” and cry my eyes out, 13 days to live with my sweet Texans, 13 days to go to Fairfield whenever I want, 13 days to eat Orange Leaf (fro-yo…please…Agnes…?).

And then, in 13 days, I will board a plane to London with my hilarious maternal grandmother to spend some time on those drizzly streets before hopping on another plane to Athens, and then a boat to Paros.  I’ve been on my school’s website for the past hour and my soul is literally wrenching out of my body at the beauty of this place.  Take a look:

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Seriously!?  Can you believe this?!  My brain/heart is exploding!  I get to paint and write and pray and rejoice here, people!

But my heart is heavy to leave sweet little Oxford, my home and my life.  It’s such an interesting thing, going on a trip.  I think I would go on more if going someplace didn’t mean leaving another.  If only the latter could come with me.  But I suppose what I bring back is more precious (and more willed by God) than my remaining here in O-H… (anyone?)

As I look and pray forward in the next days and hours and moments, my spirit and my body are tired from the push and pull of worry and excitement.  My eyes and heart are heavy, and yet I’m eagerly making lists and eyeballing my wardrobe, deciding which shoes are absolutely necessary.  I’m feeling conflicted and it’s exhausting, but I’m finding peace in the constant and unchanging gospel of Jesus.  Without it, I fear I might go mad – but it’s here, and it’s there, and in me and in Paros and I believe it fully and rejoice fully and expect fully.

So here we go.  13 more days!

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Conflicts and a Mustache.

Another dawn, another Monday.  Whether this excites or horrifies you, it’s here.  I sit behind the student desk at work with eyes swollen by sneaky night-ninja allergies, reflecting upon the last three days, wondering what the heck is going on.

I’ve always felt a little conflicted, and I think that’s good.  Not necessarily over any specific subject.  I mean generally conflicted, in everything. As a christian who realizes the sin and pain of the world alongside the joy and celebration of eternity with my Jesus, I don’t really see anything wrong with feeling joy in sorrow, or feeling a little down during celebration. This weekend, I think, demonstrated vividly just how hand-in-hand joy and sorrow really are in the life of someone longing for Jesus to return.

Here are a few conflicts I wrestled with this weekend:

1) Fellowship and disappointment (both within the Body and in ministry)

2) The fact that I think I like Fantastic Mr. Fox the movie better than the book – that never happens.

3) Catcher in the Rye

4) Death and celebration of ETERNAL LIFE

5) Flesh vs Spirit

6) Exhaustion and excitement

So here I am, battling to understand why, and wishing Jesus would just come back right now, but not wanting to leave just yet, and feeling so absolutely inadequate of His grace but trying to live within and through it, and trying to share it with others who so desperately need it, and wondering how the heck to love someone you care so deeply about when they are experiencing pain so profoundly horrifying that you have no chance of genuine sympathy.

O, Lord, how long must the battle rage before You return? You, O Victorious King, are the answer, I know that full well.  But the present evil is blinding. Burst forth in Your brilliant light and truth, Father! Put to rest the transgressions of our flesh and soothe the aching hearts of Your beloved children.  Though the horrors of this world seem monumental in comparison to our feeble bodies, we celebrate the victory of Your Son, Jesus on the Cross.  We sing and dance in expectant jubilation, though we do so with weary bodies. Restore us, Father.

And there’s my weekend.

But today, ladies and gentlemen, is most definitely a day to be thankful.  Why?  Because 22 years ago, the one and only David ‘mustache maniak’ Noble was born.

Praise Jesus for this young man.  Really.  Now, I may be biased, as he is, in fact, my boyfriend, but I really think that he is one of the most wonderful people in the world.  Here are some reasons why:

1) He loves Jesus.  A lot.  I mean it.

2) Because he loves Jesus so much, he loves other people really well and he loves them a lot.  “Other people” includes me, and I’m really thankful for that.

3) He’s hilarious – if you haven’t had a chance to experience his humor, make one.

4) He has a lot of really nice character traits that are a bit cliche but really genuine and awesome.  A few examples: he’s loyal, trustworthy, honest, humble, consistent, responsible, hard-working, gentle, talented, driven, etc.

5) He is super handsome. I mean, super crazy handsome. (See photo above.  Stay back, ladies)

6) Did I mention that he loves me really well?  He does.

7) He’s brilliant, really he is.  He would say otherwise, but that’s just because he’s humble.  He’s so smart.  I really like that about him.

8) He puts up with all of my crap, my sin, my sob-sessions and speaks so much truth to me, even when I hate hearing it.

9) He keeps me grounded.  But he still lets me be a dreamer.  He’s a dreamer, too. I’m getting sappy.  It’s hard not to.  He’s so wonderful.  I could probably write a book about how cool he is.  He’s a rapper, for pete’s sake! Gosh.  I am a lucky girl.

All this being said, happy birthday, David.  We’re glad you’re here.  I’m glad you’re here.