Saturday, August 1, 2015

Jesus and Kindness

Jesus and I have had a tumultuous relationship in the last five months. When the break-up happened, I was angry at him. "Why did you bring home for nothing??" was my constant question.

But it wasn't for nothing.

I have made some really great friends here in Jax. I've gotten to watch my niece grow up and become a person she gets excited to see. I've gotten involved in a Bible study. I've gotten to see my best friend several times because we are so much closer in distance now. And I'm pretty sure all that prepared me to get a job right here in Jacksonville teaching Drama :)

So for about a week I was reveling in joy and then I found out that my ex had moved on and my heart felt broken all over again. Except this time, instead of asking Jesus "why?" I let him sit in the pain and hurt and rejection with me. I let him comfort me with kindness and remind me that He is in the business of pruning and molding me for what is to come.

Today, I was at boot camp and as I ran in the heat, I started thinking about how much life had changed but changed for the good. And I realized I'm not the person I was when I was with the ex. I'm different now and for all good reasons. I'm reveling in the kindness of Jesus because it is in that kindness that I want him to join me in the suffering.

I'm ready for a new start in this city that I have just discovered that I love. I'm so thankful for my new friends here and the fact that I have started to put down roots. He never does anything without good reason. And while I may not ever understand why He chose the path He chose for me to come back, it's not for me to look back and wonder. Instead, I look ahead to great and awesome things.

Monday, June 22, 2015

An Open Letter to Pastor Tullian

It was revealed yesterday that Tullian Tchividjian, the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian in Ft. Lauderdale, had to step down because of an affair. Tullian was my pastor from 2009-2010 while I lived in Boca Raton. It was through his preaching that I came to understand what grace really was and that we are all broken sinners in need of the Gospel. You can criticize all you want, but Tullian's sin is no different from your own or mine. Unfortunately, he's just in the public eye and because of that, he is assumed to be untouchable.

A lot of people criticized him for breaking ties with the Gospel Coalition. I have nothing to say on that except that I'm glad he did.

I support Pastor Tullian and stand with him as he walks through most likely the darkest valley he's ever had to walk through. I'm pretty sure he doesn't read my blog, but in case he does, the following is to him:

Dear Pastor Tullian,
I want you to know that I am heartbroken over the events of what happened and caused you to step down from the pulpit. However, I also want you to know that it doesn't surprise me. It doesn't surprise me because you aren't a superhuman Christian. If anything, we all put you on a pedestal and expected you to never fall.

God only uses these things in our lives as part of our story. I can only imagine that He is using this to work in you for whatever purpose. The story of Joseph comes to mind, particularly towards the end of Genesis. "What man meant for evil, God meant for good." Your sin is no different from mine or from the people who sit in church and heard you preach every Sunday. When God exposes us, He does it for a reason and a purpose.

Just know that you are loved by many, prayed for by many, and that I along with others feel that God can only work good in this situation.

Praying for you.
Allison

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I Wait.

I'm sitting in a beachside cafe in Jax Beach and trying not to think about it. "It" being the interview yesterday. It went really well and I was told I'd hear something by this afternoon. A "yes" or a "no." I try to remember that if it's a "no" it's just His protection from something in order to save me for another opportunity. Or perhaps He wants me to wait more.

The waiting is almost unbearable.

Trying to see the forest through the trees is difficult. I just see trees. Massive, large, trees.

The other day I was babysitting my niece who is now a very active almost-9-month-old. She crawls EVERYWHERE and wants to put EVERYTHING in her mouth. On this particular day, she was headed for a cord next to her baby swing. She's a fast little thing and the minute I turned my back, she was headed for it once more.

"No, no." I told her in a gentle voice. I don't think she knows what "no" means but I say it to her anyway. She'll be two before I know it  and she'll be telling me "no" soon enough.

Lauren looked at me, then back at the cord. I watched her crawl towards it again, a smile spreading on her face as she reached out for it.

"No, Lauren." I moved her away from the swing and tried to distract her with another toy. She grabbed at the toy, then threw it on the ground, turning again once more to the cord.

Interesting what babies find fascinating. It's a cord for crying out loud. The thousands of toys she has that make music and talk are much more worthy of her attention.

But no, she wanted the cord.

This time, I gently pulled her away and stood up, deciding it best to go into another room. She got frustrated really fast and let out a wail of dissatisfaction.

"Sorry, kiddo. That would hurt you if you put it in your mouth." I kissed her chubby cheek and tried to get her to smile at me. She does and by the time we're in the living room, she's moved on to Sophie the Giraffe, one of her favorites.

I stopped to think about that for a minute. So many times I've been heading for something that ultimately could hurt me in the end. The jobs I've applied for have all had potential but when I get a response (or not as most of them have not let me know either way) I immediately resort to thinking I'm a loser and am not good enough.

I don't think about the fact that there could be something I'm being preserved from. God has me in a holding pattern for a reason.

I'm thinking of the analogy of  Lauren and the cord. "No, don't go towards the cord. I promise there's something better."

So I'm waiting. Still waiting. Unsure of what is going on, uncertain of where I'll end up, everyday anticipating something will come. Like today. A "yes" or a "no."

Please, Jesus, let me hear a "yes" soon.










Friday, June 12, 2015

Sad.

Today was rough. I knew from the moment I left BFA that grad day would be hard for me. It's even harder now because I've been feeling all day that I left for nothing. I didn't get to see my kiddos get their diplomas, I still don't have a job, and the whole reason I thought I was coming back doesn't even exist anymore.

I haven't thought in "German time" in a long while, at least a good two months. But today, my heart and mind was on my small group girls, my choir kiddos, and my theatre kiddos all day long.

As the day in America draws to an end, I wonder how many of them are still awake across the pond celebrating. I wonder if they've said their last goodbyes and my heart aches for those who won't see each other for a long time.

I know my time in Germany ended for a reason I might not ever understand. But today of all days, I wish it hadn't.

If anyone from the c/o 15 at BFA reads this just know I love you and miss you greatly.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

South Carolina Part 2 - Magical Monday

On Sunday evening, we went to church so Brie could speak to the youth group about her upcoming venture in Germany. Since it was Memorial Day weekend, there was only one kid who showed up but he just happened to be someone who was interested in missions. It was also a time to get to know others that David and Lyndsay worked with at the church. Afterwards, we headed back to their house for some grilled chicken and another episode of Naked and Afraid (this show is addicting, y'all!)

Monday is what I like to refer to as "Magical Monday." All of us are history buffs and being that we are also seminarians, the thought of getting to go to an actual monastery was pretty sweet. We got a behind the scenes tour of the monastery which also happened to be Henry Laurens (the guy Mel Gibson portrayed in The Patriot) former plantation. We saw a slave cemetery and talked to three monks. Yes, that's right. THREE MONKS.





What did you do on Memorial Day? Bet you didn't talk to three monks ;)

So after our tour, we were invited to the farm of the man who gave us the tour. His family goes to David and Lyndsay's church and they were absolutely precious. First, we picked strawberries



Then, we were invited back into the farmhouse for some delicious homemade zucchini pickles, zucchini muffins, and homemade organic strawberry ice cream. To quote Brie, "What is this day?!"



All good things must come to an end and after we left the farm, we grabbed lunch (Bojangles...I'm telling you, dieting was completely thrown out the window) and watched one last episode of Naked and Afraid (#addicting) and I had to drive back to Jax.

This trip was just what I needed  in so many ways. It was good to see friends I hadn't seen in a long time. It was bittersweet to tell Brie goodbye, but just knowing what awaits her excites me. I fell in love with Charleston and so wish a job had worked out there. Who knows. Maybe one day.

All in all, I'm thankful for the blessing of friends who come alongside you when you need it the most.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Refreshed in South Carolina

Last weekend, I met up with three of my dear seminarian friends from Gordon-Conwell in a little town outside Charleston. I was going to say goodbye to my friend, Brie, who is leaving for Germany in a few months to do ministry there. The bonus was getting to hang out with Lyndsay and David at their new home and see David preach at their church.

Upon arriving, I was exhausted after having worked all day and being on my feet. However, the exhaustion quickly faded when I saw my friends. We ordered in pizza and watched an episode of Naked and Afraid. I have to say that when I'm with Brie, laughter is never an issue. We laughed a lot.

On Sunday, we went to church and David preached a simple, but wonderful sermon on the Gospel and what we're making our gospel. Afterwards, we hung out while David preached at the 2nd service and then headed into Charleston for brunch and walking around the city. Stay tuned for Part II....

Brie, Lyndsay, and me after church

Love my sweet Brie Brie!

BRUNCH!!

Writer's Block, Bloody Mary, and Water (Lyndsay is preggo)

Southern Breakfast Sandwich (bacon, pimento cheese, fried green tomato, fried egg...yeah, no dieting on this trip)

Southerners love our RC

Southern Belle through and through

City Market

First Presbyterian Moncks Corner


Saturday, May 16, 2015

It Still Hurts

You know how you think you're finally over something and then....well, you discover you're really not. Three months ago, my heart was broken into a million pieces. It was much worse than any heartache I'd ever experienced, mainly because the person who did it was a person I thought I'd be spending the rest of my life with. I'd never experienced anything like it before. I left a whole world and entered a new one for something I thought was going to be forever.

When you want to believe the best in someone, you will do whatever it takes to prove they are being honest with you. And when you leave something behind that you loved and cherished more than anything else, you will do the same.

I'm still trying to make sense of it all. I don't know if I ever will or if I'm supposed to.

In the midst of my hurt, I've started to take account for things that have happened that might not have happened had all of that ever occurred.

- I get to see my niece as much as I want
- I've made new friends in Jax that I could've never met
- I've seen old friends more often than I think I would have
- I've lost 21 lbs

And I would say I've grown closer to God, but if I'm completely honest, I've been frustrated with Him. Angry is probably a better word. And as someone once told me - "You might as well tell God you're mad at him because he already knows."

So I'm sitting in this. All of it. The hurt with a person who deeply wounded me. The anger and frustration at God and wondering why He had to use such a drastic move to do whatever He's going to do next in my life. The huge hole in my heart that misses my kiddos and my friends in Germany.

If you're a regular reader, please pray for me. I'm just really sad right now and feeling a lot of emotions that I'm trying to work through. I know it won't all go away in a day, but perhaps soon I'll start to see a small glimmer of light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel.