Monday, November 18, 2013

Whatever Means Possible

I love AMC's The Walking Dead. I have ever since day one, when it premiered on Halloween night three years ago. What's not to love? Zombies, Norman Reedus, and the gorgeous Georgia landscape?

Last night, after the newest episode of The Walking Dead, I watched Talking Dead. At the end of the episode, a very emotional Chris Hardwick spoke that he had just lost his father the night before, completely unexpectedly. Turns out, he passed from a heart-attack. I could tell something was wrong with Hardwick, as he is usually well put together (I would even say he's the under-appreciated Ryan Gosling) looked like he hadn't slept in days.

(Chris Hardwick's tweet on Saturday evening about his father.)

But it all made sense when Hardwick, at the end of the episode, explained the tragedy that hit his family just the night before. I saw myself suddenly. While my suffering wasn't public in comparison to Hardwick's, while I am a 20 year-old college girl from nowhere, Kansas, and Hardwick is a 41 year-old celebrity who lives in Los Angeles, CA (i.e., nothing in common), I saw myself. Seeing his face, so emotionally distraught, but trying to pick up and carry on and perform admirably, I knew what I looked like, heck, even what I still look like, now, almost 6 weeks later. How he got back on the horse not even 24 hours later is completely beyond me.

But God is funny sometimes. I am a huge believer that Lord speaks to His people in whatever way He sees fit, especially when we're in a dark place. Usually, I think, He'll meet us in prayer or while reading the Word. But because God loves us so much, He also meets us where we are, and wants nothing more than to have a relationship with His people.

Lately, I've been stuck in a rut. I'm not mad at God. I'm not really mad at anyone. I'm mostly just numb, at everyone, and everything, and I hate to admit this, but that includes God. I'm still wandering around in a state of sheer disbelief, and kind of going through the motions of putting my life back together.

But Chris Hardwick's tearful speech to the audience wasn't the only thing that tripped me up. During the episode, The Governor slept on a couch. And on that couch, a pillow. And embroidered on that pillow were the words my father gives me always as a piece of advice: "This too shall pass."

It's funny how no matter how many times man can say it, but it doesn't make sense until the Holy Spirit says it to you. You, an imperfect immortal, can struggle to put the pieces together all day, but until you're ready for divine help, it'll never come together.

Today was a very emotional day for me. I ended up crying in my car for an obscene amount of time after class, which I am ashamed to admit was the first time I've cried since my mother's funeral. I've been trying to do this all by myself up here, with no emotional support from a physical presence, as my dad, step-mom and brother are all two and a half hours away. I hadn't had the opportunity to make friends yet before mom's passing. I hadn't even found a church body that I could really attach myself to. But why I thought I was still alone is completely beyond me.

God will get your attention by whatever means possible. Through prayer, through the Word, and if you've been walking around deaf, blind and dumb for a month and a half, even through The Walking Dead. It might seem silly, but then again, what couldn't the God of the universe do?

(To read Harwick's exact word to the viewers, you can read the article here: )

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Women: Date Your Father

I know. Me, giving dating advice? Kind of like the blind leading the blind, right? Me-- a girl who is 20 (and a half tomorrow!), who has never been on date (or even asked to prom) and who's idea of flirting is saying "Hey... so do you like Lord of the Rings?"

But listen. This is important. I was always raised under the idea that women grow up and marry their fathers. Someone who acts just like them, has their same ideals and same flaws. Which makes sense, because every guy I've ever had a crush on resembles my father in some way, shape, or form. (Or sometimes, it's scary uncanny.)

And this isn't wrong! And I'm not saying it is. But there's something else to be learned here, too. (As if our fathers didn't teach us enough.)

Tonight, my dad took me out to see the new Thor movie. (Which was absolutely incredible, but I won't get into a full-fledged movie review.) He put on a nice shirt, he drove us to the theater. He held the door for me. He bought our tickets. He bought our popcorn. He even bought me pink lemonade because we couldn't share one because he loves Pepsi and I don't drink soda. He was even so punctual we got the perfect seats. He let me have the inside armrest. He laughed at all the commentary I made while watching the movie (and he had plenty of his own.) And come to find out, when I thought I was alone laughing, he was the only one laughing with me. He was a perfect gentleman.

Ladies-- what does that sound like? Doesn't that sound ideal? Isn't that what all (most) girls say that they always want? Well, you deserve nothing less.

Most people are completely befuddled at my 20 year (and a half tomorrow) singlehood. (I'm not. I mean, I still count my age by  halves.) They say "Autumn you're so pretty" (hah), "Autumn you're such a beauty" (hah) and "Autumn you have the best personality" (I know, right?!). But to be honest, it's because I know I deserve better. Yeah, guys have knocked on my door, but I've sent them away, even if they were nice enough guys. But you don't deserve "nice enough". Or "good enough". You deserve the best for YOU! Now those guys will be some other girl's dream guy, just not yours. And settling isn't fair for anyone.

And I know, that some people aren't fortunate enough to have a dad like mine, who sets this Godly, concrete example of how a husband should be to his wife and to his children. My dad wasn't always that person, either. And if this is you, think instead of what you know you deserve from your boyfriend/fiance/husband. I know that due to the materialistic and superficial society we live in today, we accredit our self worth to the opinion of others, especially that of the opposite gender, but we have got to stop doing that! We'll never get anywhere. We'll never move forward and we'll forever live under the oppression of the falsehood of body image, self-esteem and values. The vicious cycle will rage on and on.

Date your father. Date the man who hold the door for you. Who will buy your ticket and your popcorn and even your pink lemonade. Who will be selfless and let you have the middle armrest without asking or even bringing it up. Someone who doesn't mind when you laugh at inappropriate times during a film because he's laughing, too. Marry the person who treats you the way your father would (or should) treat you-- with love, respect, honor, selflessness, Godliness, and righteousness. Someone who lifts you up because he is lifted by the Creator. Don't settle, ladies. Don't degrade yourself. The cycle can stop here.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Ray of Sunshine

I know that right now, this is a season in my life that I would call a winter. I am taking things through, little by little. Winter is not a bad thing by any means, because winter brings the spring. It's always darkest before the dawn, right? (Thanks, G'n'R!)
But today was a ray of summer into my winter. A true blessing from the Lord. It came down even though I didn't expect it to. I could close my eyes, and feel the warmth on my face.
Today, I found out that I get to serve the Lord by my favorite means: through the written word. There is nothing I love more than writing my columns. They are simply the struggles I face daily, and what God says to me about them. Someone went as far as to dub me 'the female C.S. Lewis'. I do not believe this to be true by any stretch of the imagination. Whatever I say in my writings is truly what is spoken unto me. I am just a humble messenger, nothing more. These are not my words. I am just a mere vessel.
But this is reassurance from above. The last couple of months, the enemy has tried his best to convince me that this town is not where I belong, or where I will even belong, and that my talents were useless and void. He's tried to lie to me, and use my weaknesses against me, trying to get me to wander off the path the Lord has so graciously laid before me.
It's funny how apt we are to believe the devil. Why is that? Why is it when the great deceiver speaks with his serpent's tongue that we perk up our ears? When this happens, we have to speak with a servant's tongue, and say 'yes, Lord! I know you are right, and the enemy is wrong! I will listen and believe the voice of truth!'
How silly are that we even give the enemy the time of day?
I guess what this boils down to, is that sometimes we just have to wait upon the Lord, wait for his true voice and wait to receive. The enemy has no foresight or foreknowledge. He can't see into the future, he can't see our next move. But what he does understand is weaknesses, holes, and opportunities. The Lord can fill in all these gaps and fight for us! The chasm isn't as great as we think it is.
It may be the winter right now, but the spring is coming.

And I leave you with this bit from 1 Peter. I know yesterday's post featured 1 Peter, as well, but I think it's because it's something I'm supposed to hear.

 "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." 
-1 Peter 4:10-11

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

One Day at a Time

God has brought me through a lot at my life.
It started at a young age. An age where I was too young to understand completely what was happening to me. My child's mind couldn't process the information, or even being to fathom how it would affect me later in my life.
But here I am now, 20 years old now. It's been twelve years since it all began, and I have began to go back through it all over again. Not that the last twelve years have been all bad. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I have been truly blessed my entire life with phenomenal people who have looked after my well-being. And of course, I was watched closely by our Creator. Jesus does in fact love and look over the little children.
But I have began the cycle all over again. Since my move to Manhattan, I have been recounting the things that have haunted my past. The decisions I made, the events that happened to me, the things I saw. While I know as plain as day that these are an attack from the enemy, I also know that it is actually God trying to uproot these things so that I might grow. Because if I cut this tree down now, at the very tippy top, like I have been the last twelve years, I will always have to fight the root of the problem again and again. Trust me, this fight has gone on long enough. I'm ready to be done. God is ready for me to be done with them. They've happened, I have something (maybe several somethings!) to learn from the process that God really wants to me know, and I'll never know them unless I face them. And if I don't know them, I'll never grow!
One of the biggest things I've had to process is leaving my dad and my brother behind. Little do most people know, but at 16 I was faced with the choice of moving back in with my dad, or staying in foster care. I chose to stay, because at that point in time, I couldn't trust my father. He holds zero animosity toward me for that, because he agreed: why should I have trusted him? He had only given me the same act over and over, and failed. I knew in my heart that this time would be different, but I couldn't exactly be sure. It's tough at 16 and having to make that kind of decision.
The past two months, I have relived that decision over and over. I thought that I could, somehow, squeeze all six years I was in foster care into the two years I had at Cowley. This made sense to my 16-year-old brain. However, not that I'm 20, and I've gone away, I realized how fast two years really go by, and that no matter how much you try, it's almost impossible to squeeze two years worth of stuff into two years, let alone six!
While I know the decision I made to stay in foster care was the best thing for both me and my dad, and I feel like truly what God wanted me to do, the enemy uses it as a fuel for the fire. He takes the Word and twists it, manipulates it, and does whatever possible to make you lose faith: in yourself, in your decisions, and in God's ultimate plan for you.

"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 
-1 Peter 5:8

The choice I face now is this: am I going to put on the full armor of God, and face this once and for all. or am I going to suppress it and 'deal with it later', like I have been? I have this choice to make. If I choose the latter of the two, I know that I will miss out on something huge God has in store for me. whether it be an opening into my calling, meeting my future husband, or any number of ultimate blessings. And I can't miss out of on the Kingdom, I don't have that kinda time!
So my brothers and sisters, I pray that you make this decision, too. The decision to clean out your past. We know for a fact that the blood of Christ has paid the ultimate debt and eradicated whatever our past holds. But if you still have something to learn from that past, I pray you learn in along with me. So that we don't miss out on glorifying God through the trials that we face. Remember, God doesn't give us more than we can handle! That's why he won't pile anymore on me until I can allow him to remove whatever lingers still.
This is a season, a tough season. I don't know exactly what it holds, or what it will bring, or what exactly I'm supposed to do. But I do know that I don't have to know. I know that He knows. And this, as I learned sitting around the circle of the NA groups I sat in as a child, will only come 'one day at a time'. This season will unfold 'one day at a time'.