Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Another Day

Some days it is hard to find something really interesting to say. Sometimes you wake up, go through the motions, and go to bed. Today was kind of like that. However, even on ordinary days, there is always something EXTRAordinary, even if you have to search a little for it. Here are some special things about my day today.

First of all, I woke up with a big cold sore, a sore gland, but no stuffy nose! That was a blessing in itself. I felt just fine all day long, except for maybe a little tired.

Secondly, I found time to eat today, and even to relax a little! That's a REAL miracle when you consider I also had 2 classes, 5 piano students, and practicing to do today.

Thirdly, my jeans started to feel a little looser!!! This could also be just because I've worn them 3 days in a row now but HEY! I'm going to look on the bright side..They ARE bigger! :)

Fourth, I got to talk to a good friend on the phone today. Between her busy life as a mom, and my busy life with school, it really was a miracle that we had 5 minutes to talk!! It's always great to have a friend like that.

Fifth, I didn't sleep through my teaching!! You're probably thinking, "And you do on other days?" Well, lets just say Tuesdays are tough for me and I need a power nap between 5 and 6, but I often find myself waking up after 6...which is very bad, cause I teach AT 6!! Part of the reason I didn't sleep through was a combo. of my phone alarm, AND having my mom call me and give me a "wake up" call....which I barely even remember picking up the phone!!

Sixth, I'm sitting here, having some "me" time and everything is quiet. I'm learning to relax a little more around my roomates, be friendly with them, but am still paranoid (and rightly so) about crossing that line between "friend" and compromising my morals for the sake of a good laugh......I can use more prayer in this area.

Seventh, I got a 97% on my first music history exam!! YEY!! :)

Eighth, I have a patient counterpoint teacher, who also has a sense of humor...good thing cause I was about ready to rip my hair out at the end of class today!!!

Ninth (I'm trying to make it to ten :), I had a nice afternoon sit-down at chick-fil-a and still a bunch left-over for tomorrow!

Tenth, no matter how busy my day gets, God gives me an incredible sense of optisim. Sometimes it's the smile on a student's face. Other times it's something like realizing what a blessing it is to be doing something I love with my life.

And I have to add one more thing. Considering the long and hard struggle I had getting over my losses and/or separations of two extremely close friends, I thank God every day for the amazing friends He has put in my life. He has filled that whole in my heart, healed the hurt, and restored in me a heart that's not afraid to love. Somedays are harder than others, but I am continually reminded that life is filled with seasons, and the more I can let go of the past, the more I can be aware of what God is doing RIGHT NOW in my life.

I guess that's it. It's after midnight....time to shower and hit the sack. GOOD NIGHT!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

When Saying "It's Going to Be OK" Isn't Enough

How many times do you run into a person in a day and the following exchange occurs. You can tell the other person looks tired, stressed, worried, upset, etc. You ask them if they are "ok" and they say "yes" or "I'll be fine" or something like that. If they tell you they are tired you respond with something like "I know how you feel" (A phrase many of us LOVE to use more often than we'd like to admit). Or, maybe the wheel is turned. YOU are the one having the bad day, and someone else responds to you in a similar way.

Well, this post isn't really about how we should respond to others when they seem upset or stressed, it's more about a testimony of how I am learning to deal with these day-to-day troubles, without SOLELY depending on the reassurance of others.

Let me first start by saying that God has blessed me with some AMAZING friends and family. I am never really at a loss of someone who will pray for me, listen, give a word of encouragement, etc. But, sometimes hearing "It's going to be ok" from a friend isn't enough.

Tonight I had such a moment. It was one of those moments when you are all alone, and you have time to "let out" all of your feelings. I found myself losing it. Crying for quiet a while, without an exact understanding of why. As some of you who are close to me know, I've been under quite a load of stress lately, on top of classes and teaching and work, with my living situation. Just when I thought I FINALLY found a quiet place of solitude, it turns out to be another case of "bad roomate-itis" :)

On top of all that, there are a lot of questions I'm still searching for answers to. Is school really the best place for me right now? Why am I STILL not in a relationship? Is teaching the best thing for me? Is there another way that is better? All of these questions seem to creep into my mind, demanding my attention, which destracts me from things that need to be done day-to-day.

Well, tonight, I think there was a serious "GOD" moment. As I sat at home, I realized first of all, it's OK to cry. Even when things aren't ok, or when things are ok...either way, human emotion is perfectly normal, and sometimes, we girls just need a "good cry". So, I did. And, with no one around to be embarassed by, I kept crying, until I started to feel the gentle Spirit whispering to me. I heard Him telling me that it's ok. That I don't need all the answers. I don't even need some of the answers. All I need is HIM. As I sat on my bed, with my thoughts and with God, I opened my Bible and read Psalm 118

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever......skip to verse 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

Finally, I felt like I had had a "break-through" Moving wasn't the solution to my problems. Talking to people wasn't either. Neither was trying to avoid them. All these things were my way of trying to solve the problem on my own. Instead, I now realize that the only way we can truly say "It's going to be ok" when our lives are chaotic, is when we know the God who runs the show. He's the one that allows us to be in these difficult situations, and because of them, we draw closer to Him.

Next time you have a hard day, pause for a moment. If you are like me, your first reaction is to find a near-by friend/family member and call them, or talk to them. Before you do that, try something. Find a place that is quiet. Sit in silence for a while, and don't say anything at all. God already knows your thoughts, worries, frustrations, and questions. Ask Him to speak to you in the quiet and to give you peace. Then, when you're done having your alone moment with God, go to that person you were going to go to, or do what you need to do. But remember that God is by your side, and that nothing you face in life EVER has to be on your own.

And that's my novel/sermon/word of encouragment/ whatever you want to call it!! Take it or leave it for whatever it's worth. Just remember,

GOD LOVES YOU and He's always there to let you know "It's going to be ok"

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Where Did the Time Go?

Yes friends, I am still alive!!! I feel like such an un-devoted blogger, seeing that is has been almost a month since my last post! I will say, in my defense, that I love reading friend's blogs. I just don't seem to have much time these days for my own stories.

Here is a brief overview of what my life has been like since I started my doctoral program about 4 weeks ago:

1) Going to bed around 1-3 a.m. and waking up loooong after "the roosters crow" (although there are no roosters within ear shot of where I live :)

2) Morning and bedtime prayers for peace and quiet, first of all, for the time to sit and rest or sleep, and secondly, for actual SILENCE when I get to my apartment...there are lots of loud college students near where I live.

3)Student after student after student.......after student!!! Lots of washing my hands too. I've had a few sick students already, and am amazed, especially with the lack of sleep I've had lately, that they haven't shared their diseases with me yet!! (KNOCK ON WOOD!!!)

4) Hours upon hours at the Evansdale Library...some spent studying, just as many or more spent thinking "I should just go to bed and try again tomorrow"

5) Occasional bursts of practice efforts, followed by short vacations from the piano, while I struggle to balance all of my course work and teaching and other work

6) A new appreciation for SUNDAY. Not just for the day of rest, but for the loving, caring Christian family that meets me each week. If only I lived with such a strong group of believers....how different my home away from home-life would be!

7) More frequent devotions..they say that adversity makes one stronger. This must be true because of all the years I've struggled with regular Bible Devotions and prayer time, I seem to be getting it down better than ever with my hectic schedule. I truly CRAVE that morning quiet time. And on the days I trick myself into thinking it can wait until the afternoon or evening...you guessed it, there goes my quiet time until the next morning....isn't it great though to know that God loves us no matter how much we fail?

8) An unfinished bib for a baby who will soon be too big for it.....friend, you know who you are, I promise I'll TRY to get it finished this weekend!!!! :)

9) Another friend who is anxiously awaiting baby #3 around Christmas.....this gives me something to truly look forward to at the end of this semester which has just begun

10) A new understanding of the word "surrender" and the phrase "BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD" Practical application #1. I dropped out of my plans to compete in MTNA again this year. I realized I needed to focus on doing well in my classes, and preparing my new program for DMA recital #1, plus my prospectus. On top of all that, one needs time to eat, sleep, worship, exercise, rest, socialize now and then with other two-legged beings :)

I'm not even going to try and make new promises to post pictures, at borders, or links, or anything else cool that I would love to add to my blog. For now, I will be content with this bit of time I took at 1am, to simply write (or rather type) and share my events with others. I ask that you would please keep me in my prayers, that God would grant me success in all that I do, as long as it is pleasing to Him, and in line with His will for my life. I also ask for prayers for my apartment/roomate life, that God would continue to give me a gentle heart, and a mouth that is slow to criticize, and quick to encourage.

God Bless and I hope everyone enjoys the Fall weather which seems to already be upon us!