Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Heart to Heart: Do You Have A Shadow?

A shadow. Do you have one? I did, for a long, long time.

A shadow is something that casts a darkness upon the whole of your life, and wherever you go, you cannot escape it. Sometimes, you can ignore and stifle its existence so well that it lingers forever on unbeknownst to you.

My shadow began brewing as a little girl when I slowly came to realize that I was not like the others. I was bigger, not as dainty, and preferred to run and pick flowers than sit around and talk about boring things. And then I began to see that I was not treated like the other girls. The old women I knew would give my friends nicknames, and kiss their cheeks, and talk about how sweet they were, and give them gifts like cookies and tea sets and dolls.
They ignored me.

And the harder I tried to please impress, the harder was the rejection. I was excluded. So I returned to my natural timidity. I retreated deeper into it.

You can imagine the loneliness only got worse as I became a teenager. I was continually excluded, or befriended only to be left behind. But the icing on the cake was when a best friend abandoned me for a cooler crowd, and a boy pretended to like me only to weasel his way into my small group of friends and get close to a cleverer, prettier friend of mine. To be treated like my heart and time and love were things to be crumpled up and thrown away...

And the hurt burst into bloom as a ferocious hatred for the whole world. Because it had no place for me, and no person with room in their heart for me.

My shadow was simply a broken heart.

Perhaps you know that shadow too. Perhaps you have another shadow. Maybe it's sorrow, maybe it's bitterness, maybe it's envy. And years have passed, and perhaps you've managed to ignore it. But as I came to see one startling day- it remains.

When I decided that I had to get rid of this I picked up a pen and poured my heart out to God with tears, every detail, every time I was excluded and forgotten, every time that left me feeling worthless, ugly and heartbroken. I let Him deal with every single instance.

*I got a different perspective on things.

*I forgave others.

*I got forgiveness myself.

*I was shown unconditional love, a love that freed me to love others, selfless.

Don't ignore your shadow. Pick up the broken pieces of your heart and use them as ammunition. Do battle with the dark, unleashing His light and life, forgiveness and truth upon it.And that colossal cloud can be a thing crumpled up. And thrown away.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Princess Lessons- For Fun: A Princess Book

I have followed Katie's blog for a long time. Even though she doesn't know that I exist, she is my elder sister in the Lord, a kindred spirit, and my hero. Reading her blog was one of the first times I came face-to-face with the sort of Christianity that I saw in the Bible- being lived out in our day and age.
One thing Katie has made me realize though, is that we are not all necessarily called to places like Uganda, but we as princesses ARE all called to Jesus Christ. And we can live that calling out anywhere, and in any amazing ways he may have for us. We just have to follow.

This book is Katie's amazing story in a volume that I've already been through several times (I got my library to purchase it!), and am sure to wear out with much love and reading. I love the sections that are Katie's personal journal entries, with a quaint border and script.

Towards the end of the book there are pictures of her life in Uganda that will make her all the more real to you.
Katie is a friend who will inspire you, encourage you, and give you a vision of happy and adventurous life lived in love of Him, wherever in the world you are.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Princess Skills- Perspective Change

I wrote this yesterday...

I've been seeing it this way: Stress. Too many tests. Half-crazy professors with unrealistic expectations. Trillions of papers due. Family drama I don't need. Not enough time to clean. Not enough time to write. Not enough time for anything but algebra. Evil algebra. The devil's handiwork. Hours and hours a day. Algebra. Consuming my life with pointy fangs of death that looked a lot like X and Y.

I've been dreading today, as a horridly busy day. Exams. Papers due. Amounts of homework that no dog could eat without erupting- and I sill have to prepare that lesson for Bible Study. But, I felt challenged to take this "Big Day," and start it with truly focused truly meaningful time with Him, and give this day to Him, my life a life to use, my story, a story to script. And He scripts the best of stories.

When focus is lost, the waves consume.

When focusing...

I remembered why I was here in the first place. I, who never wanted to set foot on a college campus, spontaneously received a scholarship, and fell in love with higher education, and learned the wonderful life of being a "missionary" anywhere, and it was all because of Him. I was here for Him. And when I make him first- suddenly life works. And suddenly, I see the beauty. And suddenly, I go from Rachel the Haggard to Rachel the Happy.

Now, I see it this way: Boundlessly blessed to have books and tuition paid for. A test, a chance to work hard, learn preperation skills, and grow in knowledge, a thing commited to prayer, a chance to take His hand. A paper due- a chance to display excellence. Homework, a chance to hone my skills or knowledge. Lunch, a time to spend alone with Him staring at the beautiful scenery. Eccentric hilarious professors that I love. A warm home to go to, not an empty home, but full of life and laughs and family. Algebra is even a magical display of God's wisdom, order and design.

Today, I challenge you to take a minute or two out for a perspective change. Pray, "Lord, let me see my life in light of eternal love and eternal life."