It’s all about waiting

Ever since I was very small, I’ve had a powerful aversion to waiting. Always. As long as I can remember, impatience has been my biggest stumbling block and barrier, especially in my walk with Christ. When I was a little girl, I struggled in the depths of my soul when my parents made me wait to go somewhere, when I wanted to buy a new toy, or when we were going to buy a new puppy. I didn’t want to wait for school to start, or to go visit Grandma, or to see my best friends. As a child, on a car trip, I would always be the one to ask my parents, “When are we going to be there?” and be supremely disgruntled when they answered, “2 hours” or even “thirty minutes”! So much in life seemed to take forever to reach, and even now, at age 21, I still struggle with my frustration over simply waiting.

And now, I’m praying to God about His will for my life, asking him where I’m going, and why I can’t just find out what will happen already? I worry and ask God repeatedly, “When are you going to give me the desires of my heart? When will you say yes? Or could you just go ahead and say no if that’s the answer?” My mom has spoken one truth over this struggle of mine as often as I’ve prayed to God for the green light or a yes to my wishes. My mom told me, “You think of God as a genie. That’s not how He works, you know.”

“But He’s God! He knows everything in my future, and with God, nothing is impossible! I just don’t get why he can’t do this one thing for me!” I sighed. I know God can move mountains. He is the director of our lives, He directs our steps, He is omniscient and omnipotent, and since going to college, as I try to spend more time praying to Him, I’ve been torn between my desire to trust in Him, and my desire to know, to see God in action in my life. Perhaps this intense need to see God answering a prayer comes from my teenage years wherein I simply balked and tried to be Miss Independent.

But in the last couple of years, with the grace of God, my mindset is changing. Of course, I would still love it if God sent me a little letter detailing exactly when he intends to give the green light or the red light, if something is meant to be or not, what my future looks like, et cetera. But this summer especially, in a daily wrestling match with my Lord, I’ve come to see His mercies in the small, daily things. My love and devotion for the Lord should not hinge on whether or not He says yes or no, whether or not He informs me of His will directly and when I’d like. No. God’s ways are not my own. And coming to realize that alone has been so incredibly freeing.

I’m a long ways from being completely still in the Lord. In these hectic years as a college student, it can be a challenge to simply rest in His presence and wait on Him. So, incredibly challenging! I’m still learning, and looking to Him to be my all in all. My heart is ever the butterfly, difficult to settle and seemingly impossible to keep from flying ahead as my daydreams color my days with that rose-tinted hue that confuses things quite a lot.

I wish I had all the answers. As a writer I yearn to know the plot of my story. But God reminds me, quietly and gently, to be still and rest in Him.

Whenever you’re tempted to doubt or rail against the Lord whenever He is silent, or simply says, wait, don’t slam the door on Him (I’ve done that too many times, honestly). It’s hard to steady oneself and reflect on all the good He’s done. All the prayers He has answers, all the blessings, both small and large, He’s given you. I’m alive today because of Him. There are many times I nearly lost my faith, but God pulled me through. He’ll pull me through this season of waiting.

In Christ alone, my hope is found.

 

 

Summer 2017 playlist

I decided to share some of the songs that set the mood of this summer (so far). Everything still seems a bit surreal after studying abroad for four months of this year, and nothing’s quite the same after returning to Flower Mound, Texas after such an adventure abroad! Sometimes I still wake up and think for a second that I’m back at Due Santi, the UD Rome campus. Very strange.
 

This song is especially meaningful as the lyrics become more true over time. Sometimes, in my daydreams, it’s easy to stray into my own little world that I fancy is my own, and I think I could be quite happy writing my own life story. But in the end, all I need, all I rely on, is God, not myself.

“I will wait” is an original Valley Creek Church worship song and probably one of my favorites, since it is a prayer for the strength to wait on the Lord and His timing in everything. As difficult as that might be for somebody like me (patience has never been a strength of mine :D)

And now for some less spiritual songs, here are some that I’ve been listening to a LOT

(Africa by Toto) basically the only 80’s pop song I’ve ever listened to, but I really really like it, so who knows? Maybe I’ll discover others that I like

(Thunderstruck by Owl City) a lot of people dislike Owl City because of Adam Young’s more whimsical sound, but that’s exactly why I enjoy his music so much! This song particularly is beautiful and sweet, sort of romantic and I love the male and female vocals together.

(Lost in my Bedroom by Sky Ferreira) I just like how it captures the mind of a daydreamer. “Lost in my bedroom . . . it’s just what I imagined . . .” as someone who gets lost in my head a lot, without needing to go anywhere, this song sort of speaks to me.

(Blew my Mind by Dresses) “Because most of the time, the thoughts in my mind get to me”

(Galway Girl by Ed Sheeran) I really wish I’d made it to Ireland this semester, but it wasn’t to be, alas. Still, listening to this song is amazing and I listen to it a lot driving on the Texas highways, daydreaming of the future when I DO make it to Ireland to find my grandmother’s family.

Now, I will not be moved

The other day I turned 21. I look back on these 21 years of my life and reflect on how many great and terrible things have happened, how many memories I have with my family, my friends, and especially in how God has tested me beyond measure. And in these 21 years He has made me His own. When I was fifteen I struggled with doubt and questioned God’s sovereignty. It’s taken a long time to fully grasp what He has done for the world, what happened on the cross 2000+ years ago, and how it has changed history, all of creation. One of the most precious things to me is how God has protected me in the midst of life’s natural turmoil. For instance, the boat accident when I was six.

Now, that day on Grapevine Lake (which we now call God’s Lake), is all a blur. I only remember bits and pieces. I don’t remember any pain, but worse than that is the fear and panic in the voices of my family and loved ones there on the boat that August afternoon. I believe it was worst for them, to see the damage inflicted by that coiling rope as it pulled my best friend Megan and I off the boat into the water. My mother had to hold my arm together, as the rope had nearly severed it in half. And my Dad and Megan’s Dad had to get the boat back to the marina for the paramedics. My older sister called 911, and my younger sister and Megan’s sister watched everyone fall apart. Now we can all look back and tell this story from a safe distance. But that day is one that defines my life. There’s always Before the Boat Accident and After the Boat Accident.

But now I have full use of my right arm! Our church prayed for its healing and for the complete recovery of Megan and I. God and His angels were watching over us that day, and I’m sure they guided the hands of our surgeons in the following reparation surgeries. Megan and I now sport scars, which are stories to tell of God’s care and faithfulness. I have the one around my right arm and on my back, from the rope lashing against me in the water. Megan has them on her thigh and ankle.

All of this to say…I can see God over the course of my 21 years. He gave me exactly the parents I needed, the family and friends who teach me and push me to become a better person. We came through the time of the boat accident, stronger than ever. God lead me through a time of spiritual darkness, when doubts and frustration plagued me constantly. Now I hope to glorify Him in everything I do, whether it be academics or relationships, or my passions for writing and drawing.

This past Spring semester I studied abroad in Europe, and there as I stared up in awe at the intricate majesty of St. Peter’s Cathedral, Notre Dame, and countless other churches that have stood for centuries. The beauty in those sacred places, and the centuries old history that abounds in Rome, where the early Christians worshipped underground, drew me closer to God. How strange and wonderful it was to kneel and pray in a beautiful Dominican church in Florence. The peace of those moments will stay with me forever, and throughout the course of that semester we read of the Church fathers and patriarchs. For the first time, this Spring 2017, I completely surrendered to God. It was slow, gradual, but undeniable like gravity, pulling me back to Him and His will. In April I attended a Catholic silent retreat, near the Rome campus of Due Santi. Mass was held multiple times over the weekend and each time I found myself increasingly drawn to the solemn reverence in the quiet environment. I cannot begin to express how glad I am that I chose to go that weekend. Bottom line, this retreat made me more excited to pursue further knowledge about the Catholic church, and it taught me to find God in the silence. It taught me to be still, and know that He is God.

God bless and Happy Fourth of July,

Rebecca

 

 

Memories from Sophomore Year at University of Dallas (Part I: Fall 2016)

In honor of finishing Sophomore Year, and Junior Year at UD beginning in the Fall, I thought it would be fun to write another post like I did for Freshman Year, with highlights and favorite memories. This time, however, I decided to make a part I for Fall 2016 and part II for Spring 2017, since so much happened over the last few months. The memories I created during the Rome semester deserve their own post! 🙂

The Fall Semester:

  • Moving into Clark Hall was an experience! I was pretty much over the moon at the thought of having my own room in a triple suite—my own room for the first time in my life!
  • Suite life was pretty great! My two roommates and I each had our own space, our bedrooms, to retreat to whenever, and a common room to socialize and watch movies together.
  • Although, we did miss the Freshman dorms because we saw people a lot more than we did in Clark…
  • Discovering I am actually an extrovert was a big part of my second semester in Rome! For the longest time (probably because of my more solitary lifestyle during high-school as a homeschooler), I considered myself a shy and introverted person. But now I find it easy to start and maintain conversations, and be unafraid of being openly bubbly and enthusiastic.
  • I got to take Intro to Digital Media which involved a lot of Photoshop and photography. Thus, I acquired the skills necessary to create the family Christmas card. I love the Mac lab and feeling very much like a graphic designer when I’m there
  • I also got to create an online art portfolio and resume
  • Taking Basic Drawing I meant spending a lot of time on these still life drawings that frustrated me to no end. I learned how to be a perfectionistic artist over the course of that class, and the importance of drawing every day was stressed a lot by our professor.
  • Overall I learned that the art professors at UD seriously expect you to put hours of work into the projects and it certainly shows when you don’t.
  • My friends and I took lots of trips to a Frozen Yogurt shop near campus
  • I got well-acquainted with the Irving area and available shopping/restaurants 😉
  • College Republicans came into existence and it was fun helping to plan the Debate Watching Parties
  • Said debate-watch parties proved extremely entertaining this presidential election
  • I watched the Hollow Crown BBC with Shakespeare-loving friends in the media room
  • We also watched In the Heart of the Sea, apparently the story on which Melville’s Moby Dick was based
  • Perfect timing to watch this movie since I was about to read Moby Dick for Literary Tradition IV
  • My friend and I explored campus together late at night and it was pretty surreal
  • I took a Fiction writing course in this obscure, dimly lit classroom on the opposite side of campus…it always took quite a while to get there
  • My older brother visited me a lot this semester and gave me a professional lesson on budgeting 😉
  • The day after Thanksgiving my family, and one of my roommates and her family, and several other friends, met at Heritage Farms, a Mennonite community outside of Waco, Texas.
  • Although it ended up raining a lot that day we thoroughly enjoyed our time there with friends and family, petting farm animals, drinking apple cider and hot chocolate, and listening to gospel music sung by little Mennonite children

Some songs that remind me of Sophomore Year (Fall 2016 semester):

“Blew My Mind” by Dresses

All along, I try to live but then I think too much
Because most of the time all the thoughts in my mind get to me

“Through Your Eyes” by Britt Nicole

‘Cause you stood right there
And then you broke apart the lies
You told me I had something beautiful inside
You brought to life the part of me I thought had died

“Still” by Seinabo Sey

So as I wake up this bright morning
Nothing’s gonna bring me down
Waves are singing, wind is warm and
Summer’s here to stick around

“Trustful Hands” The Dø

chaos is my second home
i don’t mind
where i land
as long as i’m in trustful hands

“Sun Shy” by Dresses

I make my days my nights that’s when my heart gets pumpin
I’ll take you for a ride, my nights only just started
Show me some place I’d like, make me feel like I’m dreamin

“Bird Set Free” by Sia

I find myself in my melodies
I sing for love, I sing for me
I shout it out like a bird set free
No, I don’t care if I sing off key
I find myself in my melodies
I sing for love, I sing for me

“The Greatest” by Sia

I transform with pressure – I’m hands-on with effort
I fell twice before, my bounce back was special
Letdowns’ll get you, and the critics will test you
But the strong’ll survive, another scar may bless you

 

Our hearts are restless until they rest in You

It’s been quite a while since the last time I posted here, but lately I’ve been feeling the pressing need to share this season of life, however chaotic and overwhelming and rushed it feels. Because honestly, in the middle of this chaos, I’ve found peace. Peace. I don’t know if you have read earlier blog posts, but I’ve been wrestling with God for months, even years. I feel like I’ve been in a tug of war, at least a one sided battle, where I’m constantly pushing back against my Lord and Savior, shaking my head when he reaches out to me, whether through the beautiful religious art in a cathedral, a Bible verse that stands out to me when one of my friends reads scripture aloud for our suite, or something our theology professor says during a lecture. I can feel God pressing on my heart, knocking on the door of my soul, and so often the past year, even first month on this study abroad adventure, I’ve tried to cover my ears, because I wanted to be “independent.”

*Rolls eyes*

But that gets exhausting. There comes times when you are sitting on a bench overlooking the beautiful Italian countryside, and the weariness just hits you like a metro train 😉

Suddenly, you just stop, and you let God catch you in His arms. Finally, the long chase is over. You get so tired of missing out on the wondrous beauty and majesty of our Savior. You’ve spent so much time standing in those massive cathedrals, staring at frescoes and paintings of men and women who gave their whole lives to Christ, who gave themselves to honor Him and completely surrender to Him.

That moment came sometime, I’m not sure when, but when it came, it was like everything fit together perfectly. Maybe to read St. Augustine’s Confessions was to read of the miracle of God’s love and mercy for those who wander and stubbornly refuse to return to the loving Father.

The past year has been rough. It’s been painful sometimes, and I wonder why God shut a door that I, in my limited knowledge, believed should stay open. I’ve become frustrated over and over again, and over and over again, God reaches out to me, in this continual pursuit of my heart, and it doesn’t matter if it’s in my church at home, with Hillsong music blasting out around me, or if it’s in a majestic cathedral with a priest giving a homily. It’s been a slow thing, it’s been gradual and fraught with my stubborn excuses and impatience. It’s been a human thing. A human slowly learning to trust in Christ alone, to look to Him alone for all the answers and true fulfillment.

I’m going to learn how to pray a rosary, I’m going to learn new ways to honor my Lord, to worship him. He is wooing me, slowly but surely, and I’m falling in love with Him. I am learning to rest in Him.

I would love to hear of how you, whoever you are reading this, find rest in Christ. Those are the sorts of stories that will inspire the rest of us, no matter where we are in life.