Simplicity.

I work as a server at the Cracker Barrel down the street from my house. I love how easy it can be to make money doing my job. Even though I have an extremely introverted personality I tend to be overly friendly to people I don’t know…absolute strangers who eat the food I give them. Haha. The issue with my job is I get terrible hours, but awhile ago the scheduling manager was out for surgery and a different manager did schedule and I got scheduled out the ying yang. Anyway, about 3 weeks ago when all this was happening I was really excited to be making a lot of money because I was really needing it. But I got very discouraged when I was getting next to nothing tips and not even breaking $30-$40 in 3-5 hour shifts where I’d normally be making $50-$70. It was very upsetting. The compliments I get on my friendliness, my huge smile, etc were non-existent and I was starting to think I had lost my touch, that I was somehow doing something wrong and somewhere down the line I had lost my way. 

It was such a big deal to me because I’ve always known that my happiness, my joy, my ability to put away all the problems of my life and serve the guests that sit at my tables was from the Lord and that, somehow, my service to them was a witness. 

Last night I was on the floor for about 3 hours and, miraculously, I walked away with about $80. Today I was on the floor for 6 hours and made about $90. On top of that, last night I had lots of happy people who engaged me any various conversations (something that makes me feel like I’m doing my job) and today I got several compliments (another even more favorite thing of mine). It honestly made my entire day. I don’t always like my work, I don’t always enjoy the people. But, on the occasion, I get to share bits of my personal life with the guests at my tables and I feel like I’m making some sort of difference. Maybe it’s all in my head but I know God has put me here and giving me the desire to keep doing this for the next few years, at least, for a reason. And I think now I’m being pushed to do it more wholeheartedly than ever before. 

Sitting here at home now, after being off for a few hours, I’ve been reflecting over and over and I keep getting more and more excited. God gave me a gift. Perhaps it’s a silly gift but I am so excited about it! I just had to share. 

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Tetelestai

It is finished. Paid in full. It is a Greek word and it is what Jesus said on the cross just before He died, bearing all our sins for all eternity. And it is what I got tattooed onto my wrist where I used to cut. In my 19 years of going to church I don’t ever remember hearing the word. It wasn’t until listening to a sermon of my preacher uncle that I was awakened to its wonder. The second I heard him use it and give its definition, I knew that would be my tattoo. For years now I’ve been planning and plotting and sketching and doodling what my tattoo would be. 

I first started cutting right after turning 13, although I didn’t really understand why. After a few months I stopped and was clean for just over a year. I started again in about January of 2009 and it got worse and worse from there. I was at my “peak”. I cut constantly. That year I had been clean was the year I spent watching other people get into what I had been in, it was the year the emo reign really took over, and it was the year I had my “official rebellion” and just stopped caring. I went all out. I wore mostly black and neons. I had bracelets 8 inches up both arms and inch thick winged eye liner. I wrote depressing poetry and death notes (not to be confused with suicide notes, although I did write two or three of those). And all the while I was going to church, reading my Bible, raising my hands, etc. But maybe not for every single service.I walked a beautiful fine line. There’s a lot more to it than that but I’ll save the full story for another time. Anyway, I started tapering off at the end of 2009 and the cutting just became occasional in early 2010. 

When I started designing my tattoo I initially wanted to have the first initial of every person I ever knew that cut. That list reached the point where it would have turned my wrist tattoo into a sleeve. The potential tattoo took on many forms over the years and at times was very detailed and elaborate. Especially after I quit cutting for good, because the tattoo was going to be my visual testimony and conversation starter. It had to be perfect. When I heard “Tetelestai” I was sold. It was one word. So simple. But it packed possibly more meaning than any other word ever will. So now I walk around with the Greek spelling of the word tattooed across my wrist. And since getting it done, about 3 months ago, I’ve been able to share bits of my story with several people. It’s a beautiful constant reminder everyday. 

Honesty.

I haven’t written in ages and I haven’t felt like writing in ages. I read two verses tonight. Just two. And that was for the first time in about two weeks or so. The thing is, I don’t really feel bad about it. Usually I’m craving it. Even if I purposely avoid reading or push it off for another time, I miss it. But I haven’t. And that scares me. I’m also feeling very emotional tonight and it’s not helping. I keep having to remind myself that being a Christian isn’t a convenience role. It’s like…I think it’s like being a parent. You’re just stuck with it, even when it’s hard. But you never truly regret it. You know it’s life-changing in a positive way even when you think you can’t handle it. But tonight, if I’m being honest, I just want to scream and cry and quit everything.  

Praise Be!

I’ve been meaning to type this up since Saturday and I guess it was good that I didn’t because Sunday it got even better! Ya know how money has been somewhat of an issue lately? Well this past Wednesday I was able to babysit my friend’s nephew again, $15 for two hours. Easy money. Then Saturday I had work 6-9 but in the morning I was just watching cartoons and curling my hair, sitting on Facebook and I got a notification on the group the servers have for covering and switching shifts that someone had a 2-6 they were asking me to pick up. I took it. It was really slow all day and the night was stressful. I didn’t make much money at all, but it was still more than I would have if I’d only gone in at 6 so I had to be thankful for that. But wait, there’s more! For RTU last weekend I was under the impression that we were supposed to pay the person we carpooled with for gas money, so on top of the money for my part of the hotel room I gave an extra $10. Well Sunday at church I was given that money back! Like, what? Crazy! What a blessing! Oh! And I forgot the best, and perhaps most humbling, part. Wednesday night at church I took the $15 I’d made babysitting and tithed it all. I haven’t tithed in months. I wouldn’t even know where to begin figuring out how much I should have tithed thus far since I started serving. But the point it is, I gave over all $15 without question, without selfishness. I just did it. Because I knew it was only right, especially after I’ve been skimping out so much the past few months. It felt really good, and it only took a few days for the blessings to start pouring in! Praise God!

9/11/13 Part Two

I made a separate post because I had a feeling this might be even longer.

Finally, I read Isaiah 44. I don’t remember the last time I got something so great out of this book, except for that verse I posted about a few days ago in chapter 43. Anyway, this is what it says,

14 He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”

I love this. OK, first of all we have a man who is going about his life as perhaps some sort of farmer, using the trees around him to survive. He uses the trees for wood for a fire to keep himself warm and to cook his food. God gives us earthly resources to be able to survive so fire wood and cooking over that fire are ways of putting God’s resources to good work. It’s a gift from God that we accept and use wisely and without wasting (at least we should). But then in the second part of verse 15 it says he also uses the wood to create an idol for worship. Ya know the saying that God can take everything and turn it for good? Well it works the other way around too. God’s pure gifts can be perverted and used for evil, even at the same time like we see in these verses. It’s a hypocritical man. Someone who gets drunk Saturday night and raises his hands in service Sunday morning. 

I don’t know why but this passage was just so fascinating to me. How could anyone take something God has given them to survive and use it and enjoy it then turn it against Him? Yet it is done daily. I dare say I am sure I am guilty of it in some way or another. It’s eye-opening. It makes me aware. I pray I stay aware and watchful. For my sake and those around me. 

9/11/13

OK, I’m about to go on a writing spree. I’m making this post on the 12th because I read so much yesterday I didn’t think I could get it all into a post before I fell asleep. I had a great devotion yesterday, and it all started with Pinterest! Tuesday night I came across a pin that had 1 Corinthians 10:13 on it, which says,

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

The verse caught my eye and struck my heart. I booked marked it in my Bible to share with you the next day. I know it’s a fairly well-known verse, rather, a well-used verse for when people say “God never gives you more than you can handle.” It made me think of you. With everything that happened last week and just everything going on in your life in general. It is my prayer for you, that you would always remember that verse whenever you feel overwhelmed by temptation or just the stress of school and work.  Then while I was at church last night I went on a reading spree. First I read the entire book (all four chapters, haha) of Ruth. It was then that I officially decided I want to be a Ruth and I want my husband to be a Boaz. Ruth was such a strong and loyal and willing woman and Boaz was so precious and sweet and caring in that manly/husbandly way. I loved chapter 3 verse 3 where Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi, was telling her basically to get gussied up and go see Boaz and get her groove thang on. She said it in less words, of course, but that was the idea I got. Also, verse 13 chapter 4 where Ruth and Boaz get married and it says, “And he went in to her…”. Maybe it shouldn’t be, but I think that’s hilarious. They had sex. They got it on. Honestly, I think that’s even more descriptive than just saying they had sex. He went inside her. Whoo.

From reading this entire book in one sitting (and having read a chapter from Joshua before it) I realized, once again, how much like a novel the Bible really is. And how relevant it all is to daily life. And also what a sense of humor God has for us. 

Next I read Proverbs 2. Verses 2 and 5 stuck out to me. Basically they say that if you ask God to give you wisdom and insight then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. I love those matter of fact verses. Those ones that throw the obvious in our face, those of us who are more or less “seasoned Christians” who tend to take things for granted or forget the true meaning of something. All we need to do is ask. If it’s good for us God will give it to us. And then I read Proverbs 3. There were quite a few verses that stuck out to me here. But I decided I only want to write about one in particular. Speaking of wisdom: 

…She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

I know the Bible refers to wisdom as she, but I can’t help but think of it as myself, or rather, who I want to be. I like to just think of it as the wise woman. What woman wouldn’t want to be considered more precious that jewels and desired above all else? On top of that, what woman wouldn’t want to be wise? For herself, her husband, her family, and her God. With these marriage prep classes we’re about to start taking at church, ring shopping, Pinterest boards, etc I have gotten more and more into the heart and spiritual aspects of getting married. I have become obsessed with wanting to be that sweet and loving, tender, kind, wise, hospitable wife that is so desired. It’s my life goal now. So verses like that are very close to my heart and I take them in complete seriousness and meditate upon them.