There are forces that try to build you (and me) up. There are definitely forces that work to do the opposite. I don’t know if I’m in control of which wins, but sometimes it sure feels like a choice, albeit a hard one.
I expect life to fall apart all at once
In one dramatic gesture.
But it’s not really like that is it?
It’s more like the taking down of a Jenga tower
Block by block weakening defenses
Until one moment it crashes.
Or maybe it doesn’t crash,
but instead it’s more like 2 toddlers
building a fortress together until one decides
he will start taking it down.
He doesn’t knock it down,
He races the one building it up.
So that the game becomes whether the tower will grow up
It’s like falling in love,
One day struggling to imagine staying with him
Right after waking up to a nightmare in which he isn’t in your life.
Which feeling will win?
It’s like deciding whether or not to hit snooze.
Just one more time.
Or deciding whether or not the number on the scale
Is something to celebrate
A decision. 2 options, both with convincing arguments.
“Fill in the circle next to the best possible answer.”
I’m falling apart
At the same time I’m being built up.
The 2 toddlers laughing, but fighting…
The observers laughing, and placing bets…
Who will win?
The builder or the destroyer?
I choose to be built up.
In high school I did a project modeled after Benjamin Franklin’s attempts to improve himself (this was also an English project). I graphed out how my complaints impacted my emotions and the emotions of those closest to me. I learned—surprise!—that my complaints directly affect others’ happiness for the worse.
But I haven’t been reminded of this for years, until today, when I got a text from my mom letting me know that she feels a lot better. Why? Because instead of complaining about how little I got done last night for student teaching I told her that I got more sleep. I withheld a complaint and focused on the positive. I’m happier, mom’s happier—so why complain?
Philippians 2 says..
14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe
Shine like stars in the universe. Stars have an impact on those around them. If I want to shine like a star, and be a better person for myself and others, I need to watch what I say (or text!). So here are a few positives from my day:
- Being told I gave an excellent poetry lesson by my cooperating teacher
- 2nd grade quote “I wish you’d be in our class for 2,000 more weeks!”
- Thoughtful emails
- Jeans day!
- Watching the first hint of the sunrise this morning on my way to the library and school (around 7:10)
Just some positive thoughtsbykiersten…
Today–1.26.2014–Orange City, Iowa
6 months ago—July 26—Athens, Greece
I think I’m obsessed with time. I always want to look back on where I was then compared to now, so I continue. This may also be on my mind because I had a dream last night that I was showing friends around Athens and trying to teach them the transportation system by bringing them to Pikermi, to my home where I no longer live.
ANYWAY… July 26, 2013, I was quoting a song and exploring the idea of brokenness. I spent last spring anticipating brokennesss in my summer, but it didn’t come the way I expected. It came when I gave up trying to find rest in the love of friends and family (that I expected) but it also came when I gave up trying to sooth myself, trying to be self-sufficient. I couldn’t depend on others OR myself. I had to give up and lie in pieces at the foot of my Savior. So I wrote these lyrics, even though I’m not a song writer at all, which are set to a few different songs’ melodies. That’s not the point, but check out the words.
I am broken at your feet
Like an alabaster jar.
Once clay molded “perfectly”
Now just begging for someone
I am shattered in your midst,
Once whole now I wait for you.
Pick me up, Lord, piece by piece, like a puzzle,
Your love is the glue.
“You” not “I” is now the rule
Thanks to your unending grace
Kiersten now is formed anew
Running a much better race.
That other section I don’t have a name for:
But we will sing out Alleluia
And we will cry out Alleluia.
He is God
You are God.
Lord, I’m busted
Please restore me.
Lord, I’m beat up.
Please, restore my soul
You are God.
Shout it. Go on and scream it from the mountains.
Go on and tell it to the masses.
He is good.
So…I worship about once a month in the Taizé tradition at a local Episcopal church. (If you have no idea what that means, check out this link http://www.taize.fr/en_rubrique8.html) (Side note: Nathan, if it wasn’t for you I’d plan on living as a sister in this monastic ecumenical community in France.) Anyway…I was asked to play flute for the service once, and I’ve been going pretty regularly for the last year or so as a result. The general idea is to let a few lines of music play continuously for enough time that it becomes a bit like breathing, something to carry with you throughout your day (pray without ceasing, get it?). Silence is also a large component of the worship service time. My mom thinks it’s a cult. I promise it’s not
Most nights Taizé gives me some peace and stillness, often much needed, but tonight it was more than that. I left the service tonight feeling like I’d just been hit by a truck. Maybe that was the Spirit of God…but it certainly didn’t come like a gentle whisper! I can’t describe any sort of message I was being told or any action I must go carry out. I just felt hit—struck—put in awe by who God is and where I fit into his picture. I felt so very important to His Kingdom and yet so low that I was not worthy to lift my eyes to Him, not worthy to touch His feet. He was that awe-inspiring. The word formidable comes to mind.
It certainly puts things in perspective when I then turn around and fill out another teacher job application, prepare to teach about the moon to 2nd graders tomorrow, and try to work ahead on my work as a student teacher being assessed on my performance.
God is so much bigger than it all, and yet cares so much about it all. Wow. Am I lucky to be a daughter to this King and a member of this community or what?
1. Pray more regularly for those I love.
2. Take steps towards finding a summer job and a job for the next school year.
3. Continue to read voraciously (about a book a week) and use these books to inspire and encourage others!
4. Learn more about myself so that I know what actions to take to prevent and manage days where I am not physically, emotionally, or spiritually where I need to be.
5. Teach like it’s my last chance to inspire a student. Every. Day.
6. Love well. Live loved.
7. Make the world more awesome. (Goal courtesy of Kid President—but I’m adopting it as my own!)
I am not going on Facebook again for at least 24 hours because conflict is stressful for me. But to get out my thoughts I will shamelessly put them here.
Jesus put aside his own desires and wants to die for the sin of humanity–to suffer.
Phil can say what he wants, we all know that, but we all know he also deals with consequences. The TV station can also do what they want, and they will reap the consequences. Our comments in support of or against either of them is not going to accomplish the task at hand: to worship the Lord our God.
My God came to earth to serve, and not be served.
I exist to serve, and not be served.
In other words, expending energy on this issue is just not worth it. We are in Advent, a season of anticipation for the coming of our King. Let’s dwell on that. Please. I also say this for myself, because it is so tempting to argue for what I see as reason.
It doesn’t help that I saw at least 4 Duck Dynasty displays in Bass Pro today, and am residing in a part of the country that idolizes this show at times. It would be easier if this were my only place and I could deal with one view, but many of my friends on the coasts or farther north even in Iowa think very differently than those here. It doesn’t matter so much what I think, because the conflict between these two groups is the problem. Beautiful people dwell in both places, people seeking God, but people (like myself) who are distracted by this issue and lose sight of the purpose of our existence: to glorify God.
These thoughts are not as organized as they perhaps should be, but I never promised that this blog would be filled with organized thoughts. They are simply my own, and that’s it.
1.I know, in a place more real and deep than any other part of me, that I am loved by my creator, cared for and challenged to grow by this awesome personal god. I know that I have one in whom I can place all my trust, love, and worship. He sent his son, Jesus, for me. He thought I was worth dying for. He sent His spirit to guide me, and knew that I’d need it. He forgives and provides grace like an ocean that washes over all of me. He is my God. I love you, YHWH, and am so thankful for you.
2.A boyfriend of nearly 14 months who seeks to glorify Christ, reminds me that I’m loved, makes me laugh, and is just generally a great guy. Nathan, you bring me such joy and I thank God for you often.
3.Supportive roommates who double as dearly loved friends. I can’t imagine living with any other people at this point in my life.
4.Family who is always on my side: a mom is more like me than she may even know, a dad who puts up with my technology and car questions, a brother to be proud of, and a sister with whom I can be completely honest, and many others
5.Mentors at Northwestern from the campus ministry staff to Harold on the Phonathon team, lit and education professors…
6.Opportunities to grow in my own identity, passions and interests in a safe community focused on using all these things to the glory of Jesus’ name!
7.Students of all ages who have inspired me, pushed me to be a better educator, and have taught me so much over the last 3 ½ years, but especially this last semester.
8.Health that doesn’t hinder my thriving
9.Lots of clothes that keep me warm in this weather—and blankets.
10.My incredible access to books between the computer, libraries, school library and Inter-library loan, money, Nook, friends who loan them to me….these books play a part in shaping me into who I am.