Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Wild Rumpus

Maurice Sendak died today. He was 83. 

Who is Maurice Sendak, you may ask? First off, shame on you. Secondly, he was one of the greatest children's literature authors of the past three generations. Sendak was most well known for the Caldecott Medal-winning Where the Wild Things Arepublished in 1963. This book has been winning the hearts of children and adults alike for nearly fifty years. Some of you may know that I am a big-time lover of children's literature. If you've read any of my other posts, you can see that. 
Oh, I'm back by the way. Didn't fall off the face of the earth, just of the face of the blogging earth for a bit. But have no fear, I have returned :) 

This morning, as I discovered the passing of Sendak and began to read some articles about his life and legacy, I came upon one that gave mention to an interesting parallel in Where the Wild Things Are. Lucky for you, I'm going to spend some time relaying this parallel. 

Let the wild rumpus start. 

Where the Wild Things Are is a story about a boy named Max. Max was misbehaving, so his mother called him a "wild thing" and sent him to bed without dinner. As an independent, stubborn child, Max decides to set off on a journey, away from the rule of his mother to where the wild things are. Upon his arrival, Max proves himself as the wildest thing of all and becomes king of the wild things. Eventually, however, Max becomes lonely and wants "to be where someone loved him best of all." He leaves the wild things and makes the long journey back home where his dinner is waiting in his room. And it's still hot. 

Cute story, right? (It's way better if you read the real thing, by the way.) Well..I think that this can go beyond just a piece of great children's literature. I think, if we look closely, we can see a whole lot of ourselves in Max. Don't we do this all the time against God? We misbehave, he disciplines us, and we run from him. Our anger in thinking "I don't deserve this treatment" or "I can make my own decisions" leads us to a rebellion that runs from the Lord and to our own place where the wild things are. At first, this rebellion is fun. We delight in the attention and freedom that we feel. As with all sin, though, the glory is short-lived. It doesn't take long to feel lonely and empty. We realize that we have done the exact opposite of what David describes in Psalm 103 when he says "Praise the Lord, O, my soul, and forget not all his benefits." Daily we forget the readily available benefits of the Most High as we seek to find our own way. 

Luckily, this is not where the story ends! Just like Max, we turn around. We can leave our wild things. It isn't easy. Sin is tricky, our flesh wants us to believe it is where we belong. The wild things begged Max to stay with them. They cried "Oh, please don't go -- we'll eat you up -- we love you so!" Just like Max, we know that we cannot listen to the begging and the pleading of the wild things, of our flesh. We must make the journey back to where we belong. There is hope in this. Hope of eternal joy. This is when we can say:

"I remember my affliction and my wondering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.'" Lamentations 3:19-24

This passage from Lamentations is our own Where the Wild Things Are. As we return to the Lord, we see that he is where we belong. Over and over again, we repeat Max's story with our lives. Over and over again, the Lord delivers us from our mistakes. 

And over and over again, just like Max we are able to run from our rebellion into the arms of the one who loves us most of all.  Dinner is waiting in your room. And it's still hot. 

Much love,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Long-awaited Return, Mental Breakdowns, and Where I am Now.

I know, I know...I'm terrible at keeping up with a blog, you don't have to remind me. But alas, I have returned to you my blog-reading friends and have come to share my profound (or maybe not so profound) thoughts.
I am currently about halfway through the first semester of my junior year of college and am on the downhill slide of a mental breakdown. Yes..I was losing my mind for a while. I think I've gained most of my composure back, but I can't make any promises. What caused this period of dilemma in my life, you ask? Well..mostly just me being..me. Allow me to explain.
As those of you know that have read my blog from the beginning (you know, those whopping four posts before this one), last semester I decided that I really want to be a children's librarian. My major is elementary education and I had decided to stay an education major and just get librarian certification later. Well for some reason, about 2 or 3 weeks ago, I started freaking out about what I'm doing with my life. I then started thinking that I wanted to change my major to English and not be an education major at all. So for about 2 weeks, I was overwhelmed with those thoughts and constantly worried about what I was doing with my life. After periods of being sure I wanted to change my major as well as periods of feeling fairly certain that I would just drop out of college and be a hobo with my roommate Aspen for the rest of my life, I finally regained focus.
Many of you may be thinking that by regaining focus I figured out exactly what I'm doing with my life and have a well thought-out 5 year plan of how to achieve those goals, but that is not the case. You see, my uncertainty about the future was never the problem. The problem was where my eyes had become fixed. They were fixed on the need I felt to be able to perfectly map out the upcoming years of my life. They were fixed on the need  I felt to be comfortable and qualified. They were fixed on my desire to accomplish the things that seem important right now. And mostly, they were fixed on when and how I was going to accomplish these things. Did you catch that? The biggest problem? Maybe you didn't. It isn't that noticeable. Look closely, though. The biggest problem with this is the word "I." I had taken my eyes off of the Cross, off of God's unfailing love and power, and I had put all of that pressure upon myself.
Hebrews 12:1-3 says "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter or our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
Light bulb moment.
Finally, I get it! The place I am supposed to be fixing my eyes is JESUS. You see, my race has already been marked out for me, all I'm called to do is run. In my time of confusion and uncertainty, I had become so entangled in my desire to create my own clarity that I had essentially started standing still. I stopped running. The thing I really love about this passage is the analogy to running. I'm currently training for a half marathon, so I've been running..a lot. One thing that is very frequent to my runs is fatigue. Its natural, its human..we get tired. Running makes us tired. But did you see what is said in the last verse of this passage? Look at it again: "Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Wait, did they just say I will NOT grow weary? Whoa baby, they did! That sounds incredible to me. Running and not growing weary. We can have that, but we must fix our eyes on Jesus. Remember those burdens I had placed on myself? Jesus takes those. He gladly takes them upon himself. Remember in Matthew 11 when Jesus tells us to come to him when we are weary and heavy burdened and he says he will give us rest? We get to take his yoke, take his light burden. Jesus wasn't just saying that to sound cool, he meant it. Our God is a God who keeps his word.
I hope that wasn't too much rambling for you. I just have a couple questions for you. Where are your eyes fixed? Are they on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, the one who promises to give you rest? Or are they are yourself and your immediate desires and felt needs? Don't let yourself get entangled.
Your race is marked out. All you have to do is run.

Much Love,

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What's your Treasure?

Oh hello dear friends :)
Well...here we are at the end of Week 2. I feel like I've been here forever and only a second at the same time. I know, I know...it makes no sense. Sometimes I like to throw philosophical things like that out there to make myself sound smart. Hahaha.
Ok..real talk...life is good. God is continually showing me his faithfulness and mercy. My girls are amazing and I'm absolutely loving getting to know them better. I can already see God working in their lives, and let me tell you...that gets me PUMPED. I think that I'm seeing more and more every day how capable God is and how incapable I am. It actually works out amazingly because the more I see that I cannot do it on my own, the more I'm willing to give it all up to the Lord and let him work his magic. Well..its not magic, its just the sheer incredible power of God.
This week's theme was "The Treasure of a Disciple." Our memory verse for the week was Matthew 13:44 which says "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field." The basis of the week has been learning how to treasure Christ alone. I know that this is something I struggle with a lot so God has shown me a lot about that this week. Its so easy to find our treasure in our possessions or family and friends, rather than the Most High. I would like to challenge you all (and myself of course) to treasure the Creator rather than the created. Find your complete joy in the Lord. Praise him for who he is and his glory, rather than the gifts he blesses you with. Honor the Lord with your lives give him your hearts. Be willing to be used, to be poured out for him. That's my ambition, and I hope it would be yours too.

Ok, ok...enough jabbering Amy...time for prayer requests:
--Please pray that I would consider all loss for the sake of knowing Christ (Philippians 3:7-11)
-- That I would put my full hope and full trust in the Lord, especially in leading Megan, Belle, and Mica.
-- That Megan, Belle, Mica, and the rest of project would daily be growing closer to the Lord and increasing in zeal and passion for him.
-- That God would use the Tampa Project to impact the city of Tampa and Busch Gardens for his glory.
-- For the CCP team in Brazil (finding strength in the Lord, building relationships with Brazilians, that Brazilians would come to Christ).

Alright, well that's all I have time to update for now. I love you miss you all!!!

Much Love,

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tampa, Tampa, TAMPA

Oh hellooooo blog...
I know, I've been pretty absent for oh, the last month and a half. It helps me seem cool and mysterious. Ok or maybe life has just been crazy..
As many of you may know, I am spending the summer in Tampa, FL on a 10 week missions training project with Campus Outreach called the Tampa Project. This is my second summer on the project and I am SO excited to be back! I arrived Friday afternoon and immediately felt at home, like I never left. Its been great so far :)
This summer I have been presented with the opportunity to serve and be a disciple leader on the project. This means that I have three girls that I will be discipling and kind of mentoring for the summer. The first two days were some leaders trainings, and finally the rest of the project arrived yesterday. I was so excited and nervous to meet the girls in my room. As soon as I found out one of them was arriving, I would literally sprint across the parking lot like a mad-man to meet them and introduce myself as their leader. The girls in my rooms' names are Belle, Mica, and Megan. I like them a lot already. They seem to like me so far...but I'm sure pretty soon they'll see how much of a lunatic I am so we'll see what happens then. Ha :)
I'm soooo excited to see what God is going to do this summer. I cannot wait to see the growth happen in my life, in my girls' lives, and how the city of Tampa is impacted by these 100 college students  committed to glorifying the Lord with their summer and ultimately, their lives. The theme for the summer is "Undivided" with our theme verse being Psalm 86:11 which says "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name."
Please pray that this verse would be a reality in my life, in Belle, Mica, and Megan's lives, and in the lives of everyone on project. Also, please pray that God would do big things in Tampa this summer and that he would grow each and every student on project in their faith. I can't wait to see God working and can't wait to share with you!

Much Love,


Monday, March 28, 2011

I'm so indecisive I couldn't even choose a title for this post

So.. for basically as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a teacher.. Specifically, an elementary teacher. I cannot pinpoint the moment in my life when I made this decision, but I'm pretty sure I was still in elementary school myself. Nearly ten years after stating my hopes and dreams for the future, I have finally put some thought into it. My thoughts, you ask? I don't know. I don't know if I want to be a teacher. Quite honestly, I don't really know what I want to do with my life at all.
The big issue here is the fact that I am extremely indecisive.. I may be the most indecisive person I know. I'm not really sure though, I couldn't decide.. Some days I change my t-shirt three or four times before deciding which one to wear. Yes...t-shirt. I work at Outback Steakhouse and often order food after my shift. I'm a server, so I have basically the entire menu memorized. It generally takes me about ten minutes of staring at the menu before I decide what to order..and it always ends up the same: grilled chicken and green beans. Every time.. I guess you could say I'm a creature of habit, or maybe just scared of branching out. For this reason also, I tend to act on impulse.. If I don't put too much thought into something, I can avoid the endless argument between my brain and...well..my brain.
Impulse is fine when it comes to a t-shirt or dinner, but this is my future we're talking about here.. The rest of my life weighs on the decisions I make right now. Are you overwhelmed reading this? Because I am.
Honestly..I just want to be a children's librarian. An ideal career for me would be introducing literature to young students. Many people develop either their passion for books or their avoidance of books in the elementary years. I want to help kids to be passionate about books, just as I am.  I would be perfectly content with reading "Where the Wild Things Are" and "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" and all of Eric Carle's classics aloud to children for the rest of my life..
So what am I supposed to do? Well..your guess is as good as mine.. Thankfully, I have a much better source of comfort and direction than myself, or even you.
In Jeremiah 29, a letter is shared in which Jeremiah is delivering a message from the Lord to those who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. In verse 11, the Lord says "For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.."
God promises a future to the exiles. He promises a future to me.. Sometimes..a lot of times actually..this is hard for me to believe.. Its hard for me to rest in the promises God has given me. I want control. I want answers. I rush around and around, trying to gain all the knowledge and improve my self and my circumstances instead of sitting and gazing at the one, true and holy God, asking him to give me vision for my life and my future..
Above all, I just want to glorify God with my life. Right now...I have no idea what that will look like and essentially have no plan for the future.. Call it indecisiveness, slacking, careless..whatever you want. Those things may be true.. I am fully aware of the fact that this attitude looks naive and stupid to the world, but I am also fully aware of my sovereign Lord who has a flawless plan for me and for my future.. While this does require me to work at seeking God and discerning his will...I think the biggest task for me right now is to give up control. To break free from my life-plan I've had since elementary school and just...follow God. We'll see what happens, right? :)
"You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:24-26

Much love,

Monday, March 14, 2011

Oh hey...I have a blog.

Well...here we are..
I have been wanting to start a blog for a while for some reason. I've always wished I were thoughtful and talented enough to be a writer...I suppose this will suffice.. I essentially have no plan or no organization for this..much like my everyday life.. Ha. This could definitely turn into a crazy compilation of the weirdo things that run through my mind on a daily basis. We'll see what happens. I feel like the fact that I started it at 1am on a Monday night may be a sign of what is to come.
I don't exactly know what is expected of me here.. Do I tell you about my day? And who are you, anyway? In all reality...you may not exist. These may merely be typed words that remain my thoughts and my thoughts alone..but that's the exciting thing about this whole blogging deal.
Well..now that I've tried to make myself sound thoughtful...
I'm really just a 20 year-old small town kid trying to figure out what the heck I'm supposed to be doing with my life and how to know and love God in the process.
Stay tuned for...life...in the fullest :)

Much love,