Tuesday, April 15, 2008

He will rejoice over you with singing

"Sing, O Daughter of Zion;

shout aloud, O Israel!

Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,

O Daughter of Jerusalem!
The LORD has taken away your punishment,

he has turned back your enemy.

The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you;

never again will you fear any harm.

On that day they will say to Jerusalem,

'Do not fear, O Zion;

do not let your hands hang limp.
The LORD your God is with you,

he is mighty to save.

He will take great delight in you,

he will quiet you with his love,

he will rejoice over you with singing.' "

Zephaniah 3:14-17

Monday at a women's meeting with my church, those words were poured out over my friend Natalie. She described feeling oppressed by shame and fear, by lies that her family had told her, that were keeping her from experiencing God's love and affection from others. Praying over her, praying for freedom, praying against this oppression, was a truly beautiful experience. We prayed, we cried, we laughed, words of truth were spoken, metaphors were described, images were imagined, scripture was read, song lyrics were quoted. There's really no way to describe it. Just imagine, one small blonde girl sitting on her knees, crying, blowing her nose, and at least 20 other women, Arwens, unwilling to let our friend, our sister, be bound by darkness, as we prayed and spoke over Natalie about 20 minutes.

Through this experience of speaking healing and freedom into Natalie's life, I also found that freedom and life is being given to me as well. I suppose it's true, as one part suffers, all parts suffer, and as one part rejoices, all parts rejoice. I imagine that I wasn't the only one suffering, and the only one who left that meeting rejoicing. I woke Tuesday morning truly happy and full of life. This was the first day since the breakup that I was actually excited to wake up. I'd had pleasant dreams, dreams that were hopeful, and Andrew was in them, but I didn't miss him. He was there, but he didn't matter, and I woke up feeling like that could be possible, that exciting things are in store for me and that I will be free from missing him and feeling lonely.

Tuesday continued to be a great day. My classmate and I went down to Austin to see Feist in concert. The concert was incredible, and the whole afternoon/evening was a great escape. Even though it was a Tuesday night, it felt like a weekend, like a true vacation, and we were able to escape our school obligations for a few hours and really relax and enjoy ourselves.

My classmate also recently went through a breakup, and we dreamed about places we wanted to travel too and things that we wanted to do, and it got me really excited. I hadn't dreamed that way since I'd been dating Andrew. I had lots of dreams and excitement, but they all centered around him and how he could fit into my future. A lady at the women's meeting described how before she was married, she imagined taking all of her dreams and goals and placing them in a box and wrapping them as a gift. She knew that when she was married that she wouldn't have to throw away this box, but it would a gift that she could trust to her husband. She knew that God would provide her with someone who would take care of her dreams and goals. I really like that imagery. It's easy for me to be extreme and get caught up in the idea of being single and doing only what I want or of being married and surrendered to a husband and possibly giving up dreams, but I trust that God has someone for me who will cherish my dreams and help me fulfill them, and I don't have to fear giving them up because I'll be giving them over to someone I can trust.

In addition to the great concert and good time with friends, I came home from Austin with a bike! A couple of years ago, my mom gave me her old bike, but it was stolen. Lately, I've been thinking that I wanted a bike again, to ride for fun, and also I'm hoping to live closer to campus next year so I could possibly commute with it. My birthday's coming up, and I had even thought about asking for a bike for my birthday. My classmate and I picked up her friend Emily for the concert. Emily started talking about how she was getting a new bike, I mentioned wanting a bike, and she offered me her old one! It's a Hercules, made in England, and it's purple! It's such a girly bike - I absolutely love it! It needs some work, but I asked the men in my church small group about it, and there's a guy who really loves working on bikes, so he's excited to work on it! I'm really thrilled about it, it'll be great to start riding again. And did I mention it's purple? Remind me to post some pictures when we get it into shape.

Overall, it's been a really incredible week, but I've still had some hard times. I've been trying to figure out where to live and who to live with. I was considering buying a house, but a couple of weeks ago I decided against that. Last week, talking with a woman from my church about the breakup, I also started talking about housing, and we decided that it would be really good for me to live with some fellow church members. My roommates right now are ok, but we just don't connect, and I've never felt completely at home living where I live now. Like I've mentioned, I really want to connect with more women from my church and build female friendships, and I want to live somewhere that feels like a home. I think this would be really good for me, and I think it's what I need right now. I've talked with a couple of different sets of girls about it, but I'm still waiting for things to work out. Today, I got really frustrated, because things didn't work out with the first group of girls, and it may not work out with this second group. Both times, I got really emotional about it. I realize that I'm probably over reacting, but I'm hurt and lonely and I want so desperately for connect with others and I want something really good to look forward to! I've also realized that these feel a little like rejections. I just got a big rejection from Andrew, and then I felt rejected again when things didn't work out with the first group of girls. But they've assured me that it really just came down to the logistics and they want to continue to get to know me better and stay connected. I believe them, but I still have fear. I fear that because I'm no longer dating Andrew, that I'm going to lose these friendships I've started to build these past few months and just become distanced from these people. I know this isn't true, and people keep approaching me and telling me how they want to hang out, they want to stay connected to me, but I still have that fear. I fear being rejected again.

So, please pray for me about all of this. Pray that things will work out for me to live with some girls from church, pray that I'll really feel at home in my next place. Pray that I'll feel peace about this and be able to trust it to God without getting so emotional about it and without putting such high stakes on everything. Pray that I'll be free from these fears, pray that I'll continue to connect with others, and trust them. Pray that I won't be lonely, but that I will find good women to connect with during this time. And I have so much school work to do in the next three weeks, pray that I won't be distracted from that, but that I'll be diligent and get a lot done soon! My mom came to visit last weekend and that was really good, but I'm worried about this weekend. I have dinner plans on Friday and Saturday night, but most of the time I need to work on a big paper. I'm afraid that I'm going to get lonely, that I'm going to start thinking about Andrew and wondering what he's doing. Pray that I'll be free from that, that I'll just get absorbed in my paper and not worry about those things. I really am dreading this weekend, but I know that I shouldn't. It'll be a good time for me to be productive and to spend some time with the people here who I care about.

I started writing this post a couple of days ago, and there was more that I wanted to say, but I think this is enough for now.


if walled in climb up said...

It's so good to hear you're doing so much better!

Housing situations are so tricky. I recently had to turn down a girl who wanted to live here. I felt bad turning her down, and I'm pretty sure she took it at least a little personally, but in the end I had to turn down someone, and all I could judge on was first impressions. So, with all that said, I would say I know you're feeling vulnerable and especially prone to feeling rejected right now. But I would try very hard to not let that living situation issue with the girls taint your view of them. They could end up becoming awesome friends. Housing situations are so tricky and complex, and it is very likely that you don't know the whole story. So it's best to just let stuff like that slide off you like you're doing, and just focus on being happy in this moment. Over and over lately I've been finding myself obsessing over things that have bothered me in the past or things that might bother me in the future. What I'm really doing by obsessing over these things is stealing the joy from now, from this moment. When I realize this, I am able to see that in this moment I am at least a little happy and don't really have anything to worry or stew about.

Hope all that didn't sound too lecturing. It was mostly written for me and to express my experiences. Hope something resonates with you.

And I hope you find a lovely place and people to live with, and find the happiness that comes with being productive and living out your life dream (which you're doing!), and just being fun, lovely, fabulous, quirky, awesome YOU. You deserve to be happy every moment of every day, and I wish that in the darker moments I could take you to the park to simply sit and make cranes and laugh and hug and cry together. :) And if you get lonely this weekend, I'll be free to listen! *hug*

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