Monday, January 26, 2015

Older and Wiser? Gee, I Hope So.

In August, it will be three years to the date since my last published post.  I have drafts of other posts tucked away in the drafts folder, but no eyes but mine have seen them.  It has been a long period of online silence.  And in the gap, the world spun.  I see that people read some of my posts, and I'm genuinely humbled by all the generous responses.  It's really those responses that make me feel inclined to continue - hopefully not as piecemeal as it has been over the last several months and months.

When I started this blog, I wrote a mission statement in that top text bubble to our left.  When I came up with that paragraph, I never realized how high I was setting the bar for myself.  Particularly the part where I say that I will share my inner workings, the good with the bad!  It is a hard thing to do, especially over a lifetime.  I'm not perfect.  I know that you know that, but I so shy away from truly baring it all and sharing it all.  But, again and again, even though it goes against the actual make up of my personality, I remember the idea that started it all.  "What if one of the greats of history kept a record of his or her journey, a truly honest record (as honest as anyone can be about his or herself) starting from years and years before anyone could perceive anything special about him or her."

Yes, I started writing this blog like some day I'll change the world in some huge and inescapable way.  Pretty ballsy and shmucky, I know. 

(This has been my apology, because I know how it sounds.  >_<)

Well, it has been almost three years, and looking at this blog, I realize I am at a crossroad.  If I am to continue sharing, I can continue to pursue the heart of my mission statement, or I can post well written, encouraging, thought provoking articles.  Nothing wrong with the latter - except that this blog would cease to be the blog I'd intended it to be.

In the past, I shared bits and pieces, certain things I hinted at - others I gave veiled reference to.  While I want to share some of my insides, I don't want to embarrass the people close to me or cause anyone to feel betrayed or ashamed.  Plus there is the fact that if there were a physical representation of me, it would be a house with clear glass as the outer walls.  Onlookers can see into many of the rooms, but there are a few that aren't open to the public.  Duh.  (Plus, the few doors in are only accessible to a few.)  Transparency without 100% accessibility.

If I'm to move forward with the honesty that started this public journal, the blog will need a bit of an alignment.

Sheesh.  Who am I today?

I'm still Samantha, the same secretive, overly flowery, passionate writer.  I still love God.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Quiet Season

I'm pretty broken right now.  Filtering through old hurts and wounds, trying to recover from the last six months - it's funny to me how strange I feel now on a daily basis.  My brain just runs and runs and runs, trying vainly to make sense of the weird, hotpot of chaotic emotion under my ribs.

Blatantly, I can't fix me. 

(I'd actually hate to see myself try!  Shaky handed and idealistic, I'm certain my attempt at self guided surgery would go entirely awry.) 

No, God keeps control of all ultimate healing.  Surgeons cut and sponge and stitch, but at the end of the day, they can only draw the skin together, and wait for nature/God to work that cellular, knitting magic for which the human body SHOULD be famous.  I like to think about how He's involved in all things medical, no matter what we believe or who we think He is.  We can't heal the psyche.  We can't make broken bones whole.  We can only make things comfortable, draw flesh together, and encourage the patient to lie still.

And so, I can't fix me, but I can cooperate with the healing process.  I can sit outside in the sunshine and just listen, just rest.  I can make time to write and write and write, and listen to as much music as I possibly can.  I can sleep when I'm exhausted, careful to choose only the most snugly soft blankets for my bedding.  I can spend time watching the stars, letting the reality of vulnerability wash over me.  I can go for long walks with friends and share the random thoughts that have surfaced in the last weeks.  I can let people in.  I can ask for help.

I can give myself permission to be broken for a while.  I don't have to change the world.  I don't have to live a vivid, grandiose life.  I don't have to be perfect.  I don't even have to be particularly good! 

And as I allow myself the understanding to experience different phases and display different faces, life begins to feel warm again.  Thank God life happens so slowly.  If the world spun any faster, I doubt any of us could survive it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sometimes I Think - We All Need SOMEBODY Sometimes

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate your being 'round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please, help me?

When I was younger, so much younger than today
I never needed anybody's help in anyway
But now those days are gone and I'm not so self assured
And now I've found I changed my mind and opened up the doors
"Help!" by The Beatles All Rights Reserved

I've been roaming around, I was looking down at all I see
Painted faces fill the places I can't reach
You know that I could use somebody
You know that I could use somebody
"Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon All Rights Reserved

Dude, the world is a lonely, lonely place! Zowie. Facebook, Twitter, World of Warcraft, 2nd Life - all places where people can have a form of intimacy without any commitment, and honestly without any lasting fulfillment. I remember when I was young my dad told me this awful story (my dad had a penchant for horror stories) about some people who were shipwrecked on an island. They found some plants on the island that they began to eat just fill their stomachs and stay alive, but unfortunately for them, the plant they consumed had no nutritional value whatsoever. They starved to death on the island with full stomachs.

Shiver me timbers, right? >_< I feel like that is a parallel to what is happening today in day to day life. Everyone is stuffing themselves on interactions that don't challenge, have no lasting value to their soul, and aren't truly vulnerable with anyone.

Does anyone know the worst thing you've ever done? Is it someone you respect? Someone who loves you anyway? Do you have anyone in your life who knows everything about you, whose opinion really matters to you? Is there anyone in your world you trust more than yourself?

These were really hard questions for me. Difficult on so many levels. I was raised to keep myself to myself, to make sure that I didn't air any dirty laundry in public. Unfortunately the "public" was anyone outside of our immediate family. (My parents have since amended their opinion on this topic - my parents are great; always looking for the healthier path.) I wandered around feeling very lonely, very segregated, and I didn't know why.

I wish I could say that "POOF!", as soon as I got in a relationship with someone healthy and mature it was easy for me to share, and it felt great - but that is SOOOO NOT THE CASE! At first, it felt so incredibly awkward. I struggled with immense feelings of being a bother, a nuisance, a cry baby, a drama queen, and had a million and one reasons why the moment wasn't ideal for being vulnerable.

It was all lies, of course. My comfort zone was being challenged. My belief about my worth was being challenged. It was a very scary time, but also one of great growth and great breakthrough.

What if we all took the time to truly listen to at least one person today? What if we asked that someone who has stood out to us all this time, "How are you really doing?" and actually listened? Sometimes I think we want to make loving God and serving people into this big melodramatic thing that can't happen until we're in another country working with the starving and the dying. But guess what? People are starving and dying right here! You can save a life today by just being present with someone. But it will take risk, and it will take a willingness to be uncomfortable, even in familiar circumstances. Sometimes I think, it's these "small" things that mean the most.

"What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled, " and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself." James 2:14-17

Friday, January 21, 2011

Not To Forget You...

I went home for Christmas. Had a lot of fun, ate a lot of food, saw a lot of snow. =) But while I was there I realized, good grief I have CHANGED.

I left because I wanted change in environment, perspective, and the atmosphere of my soul. (In other words, just a few tiny alterations! Haha!) In the past, I've tried to change and discovered that change is difficult. We are strange creatures of dirt and the breath of God; stiff, pliant, and squishy, everything oozes back to sea level if "change" is effected without His tools.

The first night, I went upstairs to my bedroom, and right off the bat, out came my bible and my heart. In that moment, as I opened up to His Presence (kind of like a sanctified heroin addict), I realized how far I'd come. I wasn't spending time with God to cross Him off the list of "disciplines". I was embracing Him because He is real and He is wonderful. He's way better than anything anyone has ever described before.

Crazy right? But so reassuring - I'd always hoped that actually knowing Him would take the effort away. You all know how huge that is for me; time with God was always such a guilt trip for me. I really sucked at it. Now, I realize He probably hated it way more than I ever did! Haha, it is possible to bore God! Hahaha! But, I've discovered Him.

I have to warn you, it is dangerous. It is literally addictive. If you're going to church or some other religious building and feeling condemned because you don't put in the hours - you haven't found God. When you find Him, you discover He needs to come with a warning label. Literally. My roommate has accidentally woken me and I've had to take a few breaths before talking to her for fear of biting her head off - THAT'S how good the dream was. I've had His Presence come so close, I've had trouble breathing.

It has nothing to do with religion. He is risky and wild, He is creativity and sound. And, just a warning, He's been known to burst in on people who weren't even thinking about Him.

Ahh. Yep. He's beautiful. =) Anyway, I thought that was fun. I couldn't change me, but He could, and easy-peasy. He just had to show me His face.

Would you like to know God? Not that bummer everyone feels so guilty about, but the Guy who hung out with prostitutes, crooked political employees, and drunks - so much so that the religious people thought HE was a drunk! Haha! If you want, you can pray the prayer at the end of this page. DON'T PRAY IT UNLESS YOU ARE READY TO LOOSE IT. Seriously. I dared God, and I don't regret it, but if you're content on your own, don't goof around with it.

Have a greeeat weekend peoples!

Me: God, I ask that everyone who prays this prayer from their heart would not fail to find YOU. Not anyone else's representation or the god who makes sense, but YOU. Thanks.

Prayer: Hey God, I'm looking for you. I dare you to find me.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Possibly The Strangest Post I've Ever Made

I am a dreamer.

I have more ideas and visions and hopes for ten years from now than practical wisdom for tomorrow. I've been working through this book that has exercises to help stimulate creativity and curiosity. One of the exercises was to create a list of 100 questions; don't think, just write. Don't worry about the answers, just ask the questions. And it was funny, some of the questions that came pouring out of my soul were: "Why is it so hard to get still?", "What am I running from?", "Why do I have such certainty about 30 years from now, but no idea about tomorrow?"

In the last two years of my life, I've learned some wonderful things about myself. I've learned about the depths of creativity that God placed inside of me, that I am a woman who is passionate about relationships and love, that I am a very good leader, and that I have to be free, that I cannot stand to be constrained.

But I've also learned some hard things about myself. I've learned that I have things to work on and areas in my life where I need to grow. I have fear in my life. I've let fear push me around more often than I'd like to admit. When I'm scared I hide, I lie, I get busy, I keep secrets, I procrastinate. I've learned that it just takes a moment to make a mess, and messes scare me. Messes scare me because they challenge love. They challenge other people's love for me, challenge my love for myself, challenge my trust in God's love for me.

And I've realized that I am SO TEMPTED, so tempted to live my life just a little bit safer. Dream up a future that I can do, that I'm sure I can do. One without major messes, one that doesn't expose my faults, one that doesn't challenge me or my perception of myself. It would be so much easier! And wouldn't that be better for everyone? Wouldn't everyone like that better? If Sam wasn't such a screw up?

But. I came to California because my life was on fire. The past behind me that was so safe, so predictable, so strong was too small for me, and much too small for me to truly see God. It's so sad, I've seen Him better in my worst moments than on my most peaceful day. I came to California because I wanted to know Him, really and truly. If it turned out that it was all hype, that Christianity was actually just some sort of mass emotional high, I wanted to know. I wanted to know and for certain.

So I burned everything that I built, and came out here where daily I walk on borrowed strength. I know that I eat because He supplied it for me - and not in a way that I would have picked! I've chosen this. I've chosen honest frailty rather than implied strength. I've chosen to be ugly when I'd much rather TRY to be acceptable, covered up. It feels insane some times!! It feels like, shouldn't chasing God be easier? Shouldn't suddenly finances pour out of the sky? Shouldn't wisdom just be downloaded to me; wisdom and tons of self control? Right? Wasn't that in the book somewhere?

I don't have a beautiful, properly edited end to this post. This is just an honest moment where suddenly a bunch of ideas congealed and I knew I needed somewhere to remember this blob of truth. This is the truth: God never gets tired of ugly me. He never backs up or steps away. The only step He takes is closer. And He never does things the way that I want Him to, and I have to be ok with that. Because that is who He is.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Another Look At Glory

Funny, I haven't posted something brand new to this blog in while. Even the newer things I've posted haven't been truly new to me because they are reposts of things that I have on my facebook. But as I looked at the stats on this blog, I saw that people liked some of these "wondering" posts.

Since being at Bethel, I've heard messages where Pastor Bill highlights the scripture where God shows Moses His back? It's rather long, but I'm going to post it anyway:

13"Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people."

14And He said, "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest."

15Then he said to Him, "If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.

16"For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?"

17The LORD said to Moses, "I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name."

18Then Moses said, "I pray You, show me Your glory!"

19And He said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion."

I find it interesting that when Moses asked to see God's glory, God showed him His goodness, His graciousness, and His compassion. Interesting.

Having said all that, I'll repost what I said earlier in the year:

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

What is Glory?? Seems pretty important in the bible and like it might be a good idea to define.


Glo"ry\, n. [OE. glorie, OF. glorie, gloire, F. gloire, fr. L. gloria; prob. akin to Gr. ?, Skr. ?ravas glory, praise, ?ru to hear. See Loud.]1. Praise, honor, admiration, or distinction, accorded by common consent to a person or thing; high reputation; honorable fame; renown. Glory to God in the highest. --Luke ii. 14.


Glo"ri*ous\, a. [OF. glorios, glorious, F. glorieux, fr. L. gloriosus. See Glory, n.]1. Exhibiting attributes, qualities, or acts that are worthy of or receive glory; noble; praiseworthy; excellent; splendid; illustrious; inspiring admiration; as, glorious deeds.

I'll ask it again: What is glory? How would God define glory? What is HE describing when He uses the word "glory?"

Interesting. Very interesting. Have a good night!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

It's The End Of The World As I Know It

=) Love it.

It's the end of the school year. One packed with nerves, new adventures, new friends, new interests, excitement, stress, anxiety, overwhelming peace, storms, influences and influencers, unexpected favor, and surprising weight loss. Haha! But what I've learned most from this year is how closely I have to walk with the Lord to stay sane.

I pursued passion and experience, and it was fun and good and interesting, but I quickly discovered that if my experiences outweighed my inner understanding of who He is to ME and how we are together in our relationship - I lose my bearings and quickly run aground. I need Him personally. I say it shamelessly - I can't make it a day without Him. I know He wants me to have experiences, but they have to add to my personal life with Him - otherwise they are signs that point nowhere and just leave me confused and anxious.

He told me at the beginning of the school year that we would take it slowly and that I'd have to stay centered in Him, but I kind of forgot about that. And my year has been amazing, but in the last couple of weeks I have SERIOUSLY overdone it. Especially on spring break. I went to my limits in growth (growth can be so exhausting) in way too many areas. I actually felt the Lord pretty obviously check me. I am not designed to do well on my own. ^_^

The other theme of this year - one I didn't recognize until tonight - is His faithfulness. Some people mention the faithfulness of God and you have no idea what they're talking about. I'm talking about His extreme skill in pursuing your best interests overall, no matter what it may look like at any given moment. He has answered so many prayers for me this year, but many were answered so creatively, I almost didn't recognize them as answers! But I think that God has this thing where He goes, "Ooo, eeesh, if I answer her prayer just the way she means it - man, she's gonna hate that. And that's going to burn her later on, down the road. You know what, I'll just do it like THIS - " and blammo, I'm working for minimum wage but I have a cellphone, a macbook, all my needs are met, and my second year is entirely paid for.

When I left home, I stressed out because I didn't have a job, I didn't have enough funds to move, I didn't know where I was going to live (didn't find a place until like four days before I left), and didn't have the money to attend school. I felt like I was being irresponsible because I felt such peace inside - I thought I was in denial. It wasn't denial - it was His Presence ushering me forward.

And now the year is winding down, and I have a week and three days of school left. Once again, the feelings of anxiety come - where am I going to live over the summer? What if I don't make it into second year - what will I do? How am I going to make it through the summer when all of my closest friends are leaving? And IMMEDIATELY, I'm drawn to this Cory Asbury song that quickly becomes my theme song "Faithful to the End". As I start listening to it, I'm comforted.

Yesterday, I found out I was accepted to second year. Fifteen minutes later, one of my closest friends and mentors asks me to live with her for the summer. And I'd live within a ten minute walk of three of my favorite people here in Redding - and they aren't leaving for the summer!

I am growing. God is faithful. He loves me and I love Him.