Ice Skating

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Ice skating is not my thing. Give me roller blades over ice skate any day. Maybe I don’t like ice skating because I’ve only been three times, and consequently don’t know how to, but whatever the reason is, I simply don’t like ice skating.

Yesterday, my family decided we were going to go ice skating. It was a glorious day! Sunny, and cold enough to freeze the ice without freezing us. We hiked to the pond, laced up our skates, put on the Little Women soundtrack, and were ready to go. Or should I say they were ready to go.

For the first twenty minutes they zoomed around the pond while I stood firmly in the middle with my hockey stick, aka the only thing keeping me upright. I was trying to stay positive, but to be frank, I was failing miserable. I alternated between being frustrated with my family for dragging me out there, and being frustrated with myself for not just going for it.

Let Go

You see, I’m a very awkward ice skater. While I don’t sit on the sidelines and refuse to even try, I also never truly embrace the experience. I shuffle my feet, and move just enough to not be accused of standing still. I know I would greatly improve if I just went for it, but the truth is, I’m afraid. What if I make a fool of myself, what if I fall and break my wrist, what if, what if, what if? The fears play in my head like a broken record.

Yesterday, however, I got tired of being miserable and afraid, and I made the bold decision to let go and truly try to ice skate. So I put down the hockey stick and started skating in little circles, that grew and grew until I was actually enjoying myself. It was still scary, but so worth it.

Looking back, I can see that my inability to ice skate didn’t come from a lack of experience, but from an unwillingness to just go for it. How often do I respond in the same way to situations in my life? How much life am I missing because of my fears? When I am presented with welcoming a foster girl with my family, finding a job for the spring, liking a boy, picking the right classes, knowing which friendships to pour into, or going to Romania, am I letting fear or faith guide my decisions? I’m done with the awkward ice skating. It’s time to find my mustard seed faith!

Unknown Future Known God

Lux: A Reflection

For my literature class final we did a creative response to one of the many selections we read this semester, and this is what I wrote.

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This world is full of pain, darkness, hopelessness, injustice, sickness, loneliness, and despair. We are broken, broken people. Our brokenness is present in the things we say and the things we do, the things we see and the things we hear, the things we read and the things we write.

Literature especially tends to focus on the darkness of humanity. Requiem by Anna Akhmatova is one such dark poem. Requiem is set in Russia during World War II, a time when terror and darkness reigned supreme. The Russian people suffered deeply. “That was when the ones who smiled were the dead, glad to be at rest. And like a useless appendage, Leningrad swung from its prisons. And when, senseless from torment, regiments of convicts marched, and the short songs of farewell were sung by locomotive whistles. The stars of death stood above us.” (Requiem) It appeared that darkness had won.

Although the oppressive reign of Stalin ended sixty years ago, darkness has not lost its grip on the world. I am reminded of the powers of darkness every single day. When I hear about the evil deeds of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, when I see the homeless huddled under bridges in below freezing temperatures, when I read blogs about the rampant sex trafficking business in Thailand, when I helplessly wait with my family while the child welfare system heaps injustice on two precious little girls, I remember. Darkness is alive and well. Every day people die of cancer, get in car crashes, try to take their own lives. It’s not hard to feel completely and utterly hopeless.

And yet, even amidst this oppressive darkness, there is a light. What started as a tiny speck has slowly crept across the earth and brought us hope. The movement is growing, it’s gaining momentum, The darkness will fight us, but it cannot win. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:6-7) Oh come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

Silent Night

Gratitude

I awoke this morning to a light dusting of beautiful snow.

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From the moment I opened my eyes I knew the light coming in the window had that special snow hue. I jumped out of bed, and it took all my strength to not throw open the blinds and crank up the Christmas music (my roommate was still asleep.) I felt an invigorating excitement that made me want to dance! The atmosphere was magical, and I felt profound gratitude for the beautiful life I’m living.

How often am I consumed with the negative? Burdens triumph over blessings. I complain more than I celebrate. Distress overpowers delight. So often I let the hard things get me down, but for whatever reason the snow this morning reminded me of something profound: We serve a good God who gives good gifts. I have so much to be thankful for! So today I am making a renewed effort to give thanks for my many blessings.

So without further ado…

I am thankful for the many deep, bellyaching, laugh-till-we-cry moments that I’ve had with my floormates this week.

1238307_10153255481610277_1245277046_nWednesday night we had the entire cafeteria staring at us because we were laughing so hard!

I am thankful for siblings who love me so well.

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They have a countdown of the amount of time till I come home for Christmas.

I am thankful for Christmas lights.

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They make me so happy!

I am thankful for the opportunity to go to Romania and Moldova in May!

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More on this to come soon!

I am thankful for good Christmas memories.

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Christmas Caroling!

And above all else, I am thankful for a God who loves me more than I can comprehend!

What are you thankful for?