Thursday, October 27, 2011

When Life Happens

Today has been some kinda day, man, SOME. KINDA. DAY. (The caps are very necessary. You gotta get the emphasis!) And I don't mean it in a bad way, but I am just shaking my head just in awe at...everything! And I don't mean it in a good way either, per se, just in a wow-look-at-how-life-just-happened-all-up-in-my-face-when-I-wasn't-even-expecting-it-to kinda way. You get me?

So this morning I take my dad to the slug line, as usual, nothing new there. (For all you non-DC area readers, slug line is our lingo for the commuter lot! I'm too tired to explain much further than that, so if you still don't get it, Google has just become your best friend.) I went back to sleep when I got home, and when I woke up, I just laid in bed for a bit thinking, Wow, I overslept again!? Let me go ahead and going for this day! A couple Sundays ago my pastor preached this EXTRA-convicting sermon about daily devotions, and did I mention it was convicting? I had gotten so caught up with stuff happening in life that I had been putting my time with the Lord on the back burner. (Sidenote: That affects EVERYTHING. No joke.)

Okay, rewind!

Oh, right! So ever since that sermon I've been much more diligent with spending quality time with Jesus, and this morning I grabbed my Bible and my Our Daily Bread, or whatever that little devotional pamphlet is called. The reading for the day was from Acts 16, when God let Paul and Silas to go to Macedonia and spread the gospel and the people they met along the way and the persecution they faced that eventually led to souls being saved. (Take some time to read it! Gotta love Acts!) Well the message in this devo was basically saying to be open to the Lord's leading and not get frustrated when plans don't go how we foresee that they should because ultimately God is sovereign, and He has a plan to work all things together for good! I meditated on this, and really felt the Lord leading me to seek Him regarding changing my perspective on how I view "mishaps" during my everyday life.

Alright this is getting long-winded and it's about time for me to go to bed, so let me attempt to speed through the rest (attempt being the optimal word). That beginning part was the foundation though! So I had my devo and the Lord kept it on my mind. That's when I tried on the wedding dress I raved about yesterday. Can I just say... I shouldn't have raved so early? Okay, I'll say it: I shouldn't have raved so early. I'm not going to get into the whole situation, but saints/readers/friends, please be in prayer that I can...handle some things. Lol. No really! Butttttt, guess what?? The Lord has a plan with this little detour, and I must say I look forward to seeing how it all turns out! Once all is well and good, of course I'll share in more detail. ;-) But this was the first thing during the day that had me really applying what I read in my Word.

While my mom and I are handling my dress situation, another situation arose: my brother's super nice football cleats got stolen!! Right before practice, with a game coming up soon! Seriously, though? People are trifling, and it's super shameful how students just go stealing other people's stuff! Grrrr. Rant over. Anyways. So my mom had to pause to handle that while I'm still trying to handle something with my dress and this is right. before. work. UGH! Bad timing!! ...or wait...God has a plan right? I calm myself down and stop freaking out and I smile and I chuckle and I say to myself, Detour, that's all! (Oh, and an exciting highlight with the shoe situation! Whoever stole the shoes managed to leave them on one of the benches on the field after my brother's practice without being noticed. Praise the Lord! He probably convicted him into giving them back to their rightful owner--however indirectly lol.)

So I finally get to work, right? I got there for a little after 3:00pm today, and though I wasn't too down or frustrated about the prior two situations, I was immediately confronted with issues at work, one of which may leave me out of a job! Now at that point my anger and frustration were really starting to rise, and it was showing. So I turned away. I breathed. I reminded myself that no situation that arises is outside of the Lord's knowledge or control, so what am I doing wasting time and energy worrying? I let it go, left it at the Throne, and I'm trying not to take yokes on myself that Jesus wants to take from me. How freeing! And then along came a customer who I really enjoyed working with, so that lifted my spirits.

When I got home, I was ex.hausted. And hungry. If you know me, you know that is never a good combination. If you've read any number of my blog posts, you know that is never a good combination. So I took off my shoes, and walking gently (my feet ache after standing on them for 8 hours straight!) I head straight to the kitchen, purse and coat still on. After downing a tasty piece of chicken (I had the chicken ready for dinner for my fam before I even left for work! GO ME!! hehe), I was ready to relax. A lovely email reminded me that my dress situation isn't over, so I handled that as much as one can at 1:00am, then called my boo. Lemme just say...when it pours. Yep, that's right, ya'll, it ain't ova!

I won't disclose our conversation, but when we finished talking all I could do was cheese and laugh. And certainly not because we'd just had a funny conversation. (Trust me.) I could probably attribute part of my weird reaction to the fact that I was tired and I can randomly have these maniacal giggles when I'm lacking sleep, but in reality I was actually feeling (and still feel) kinda excited!

Like I said before, this day has been somethin' else. But to be able to see God's Word ALIVE in this day in the reality of it's application is bringing me ridiculous amounts of joy. And you know what? I count it a privilege that God would see fit to allow me to go through such things as this; though minor in the grand scheme of things, and certainly temporal, I see them as a beautiful opportunity to grow closer to my Lord and be conformed into His image! Plus I get to love on and support my amazing hubby-to-be in the process, and I seriously just can't think of a greater gift than that.

"Disappointment--His appointment,"
Change one letter, then I see
That the thwarting of my purpose
Is God's better choice for me.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yes, I'm Still Here!

Just in case anyone was wondering I have not fallen off the face of the earth or disappeared into world wide web oblivion. What's that you say, no one was wondering? Ah, who cares. :)

Life has been bizzaayyy lately, and Lord knows I want to blog more frequently but unfortunately it just keeps getting pushed further down on the priorities list. Can I give you some highlights though? ...I'll give them to you anyway!
This busy woman you see right here is me. Though I totally should've totally  photoshopped my  face in and used Paint (the program...not actual paint!) to color her arms brown. Eh, oh well, you get the picture. P.S., thanks Google Images!
I GOT MY WEDDING DRESS! Today actually. And lemme tell you it is lovely!! I went the non-traditional route and bought my otherwise insanely expensive way outside my budget dress used! Sites like recycledbride and oncewed are ahh-mazing, wish I woulda come up with the idea for those sites!

I've been cooking more! Yes, I could've put that in all caps, but to be honest, it just doesn't come across quite as epically (is that a word??) as something like getting a wedding dress. However, I've made all sorts of tasty things lately, like fried smothered pork chops, deviled eggs (more about that delicious disaster in another post), brownies, cakes, and more! I really do enjoy cooking...when I feel like it lol. I should probably try cooking more things my babe likes to eat since, ya know, we're getting married and all. Eh, he can try new things ;-)

I changed the name of my blog!! Now if you didn't notice this, please don't tell me. Just pretend like you were shocked when all of a sudden you clicked on my page and *GASP* My Life: Perpetua was gone!! I like the new title though, don't you? Maybe you'll like it even better once I explain why I actually changed it. Hehe.

I've got a bug! ...a shopping bug that is! I never used to be too big into shopping for clothes and shoes, though I did like purchasing things now and then. Ya see, I typically preferred to break my budget on something more temporarily satisfying such as say...yummy food! But now, I have a problem. A serious one. Hi, my name is Ashley, and I am addicted to TJMaxx! Lol. I'm serious though! Now I like to buy clothes, shoes, AND food, and my Things Remembered budget is getting squeezed to the Maxx! (yes, pun intended! corny, I know) One look at my purchases though, and I can't say I feel too bad. Girl's gotta look good, right? ...scratch that. Girl's gotta (help) save for the wedding and the future and college and ahhh! Okay, honest truth, it's just a couple cute splurges now and then ;-)

I'M GETTING MARRIED!! Yeah, I know that's not new news, but I think have good reason to be ecstatic! I love my man, and I do not exaggerate when I say I CAN.NOT. WAIT! to be his wife. I'm gonna be a MRS.!! I always thought Mrs. sounded old. Whatever, I'll take this matronly title any day. Well, in 123 days, to be exact... :-)

There is so so much more I want to share! God has really been teaching me so much it's crazy and exciting and painful and refining and ahhhh so much good stuff. I really want to discipline myself to make time for writing more, because I love to do it, I want to blog! Sounds easy peasy, right? Now to actually get 'er done!

Now about that time discipline thing? It's 1:53 a.m., which equals past my bedtime. Which is also about to equal either laying down in bed and watching something on Netflix  or laying down in bed and reading The Broker by John Grisham. Which is better? Well, seeing that the last time I watched Netflix before bed I watched For Colored Girls and went to bed depressed, I'll probably go for the book. Anyone else see the movie? Wait, don't respond to that question! I'll have to post about that movie at a later time, and you can talk then. In the meantime, I need to go to bed! :-)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bible Pride

Now this is a well used Bible! Even has mine beat! ;-)
Photo courtesy of Google Images. 
My favorite Bible I've had to date was a Christmas present from my dad back in 2001 or something like that. I had to have been in about 6th or 7th grade. The tiny KJV came with an adorable green Bible cover that I overstuffed with church bulletins, random notes, and tracks. As I got older I would eventually decide to ditch the cover, but the Bible I kept close. I used that Bible all the way up to my freshman year of college. At least 312 Sundays that Bible was used, and though my devotional times were not always consistent, I still used it frequently throughout the week too. Needless to say, the Bible became old and quite worn. The silver that lined each of the pages had long ago faded, and the binding threatened to fall apart at any moment. But it wasn't until I was presented with a new Bible that I reluctantly began to let it go.

I wish I could say that the primary reason I was reluctant to change Bibles was because part of Genesis was falling out or because I was ready to change to a study Bible or something. Nope. I wanted to keep this Bible because it was so used, and you could tell it.

Now this might sound absolutely ridiculous, but think about it. Have you ever looked at someone's Bible before and thought, "Wow, do they ever even use or open that?" or "Wow they must be really close to/spend alot of time with the Lord, look how used that Bible is!" Come on, I know I'm not the only one who's had that thought, even in passing, before.

I first realized that I had this mentality when I traveled to South Africa last summer. I mentioned before that I stopped using my little KJV freshman year of college. That's because one of the Christian groups on campus gave me one of those paperback NIVs, and because I had never read the Bible in that version before, I was eagerly eating up the Word, understanding stories and lessons in new and clearer ways. The old and worn KJV has been shelved ever since.

As far as the new NIV was concerned, that became my only go-to Bible. In spite of its larger size and the fact that it was paperback instead of leather, I still used it, and used it well, might I add. So many verses underlined, so many notes in the margins, so many things highlighted. And as I became more and more involved with Impact, I got deeper and deeper into studying God's Word, and my Bible showed the effects.

So let's fast forward to the whole South Africa thing. The Favorite decided that it was as good a time as any to invest in a new Bible. (And yeah, he was right! In hindsight, haha) Well I definitely did not want a new one. What was wrong with my two and a half year old obivously well used Bible? Either way, he got me a knew one that I had picked out, and I immediately began going through and underlining my favorite verses. It had to look like I at least read something outta there! You know what was going through my mind? "Here I am about to go on a missions trip to South Africa with a bunch of other students who have awesome testimonies and walks with the Lord and as soon as they see my Bible they're gonna think that I don't spend any time with the Lord at all!"

Reading it, it sounds pretty ridiculous, I know. But that's how it was! And it was at that point that I had those thoughts that the Lord really convicted me of one thing: PRIDE. Did I really believe that the way someone's (including my own) Bible looks was a direct reflection of their personal walk with Him? Crazy.

Now don't get me wrong; I love old Bibles, and I love holding on to copies of the living Word of God that I've had for years. It's nice to be able to hold on to the same Bible; often there are memories and lessons scribbled on the margins of pages, reminders from the Lord written on the extra pages in the back. It's when pride begins to subtly creep in and distort our reasons for holding on to the same when the issue arises.

That new Bible I took to South Africa has gotten it's share of use, but to be honest I have no idea where it is right now. (I moved, and it somehow got misplaced.) So went back to using that paperback NIV, then still ended up switching to a little leather Bible I borrowed from the Favorite. And you know what? Who cares! Either way I am reading God's words to me. He knows where I am in terms of my alone time with Him, and that is enough for me.