Saturday, July 21, 2012

in which i crawl in and out of myself.

Sometimes being an introvert is a pain.

During May and June (as I have many, many times before) I crawled into myself and stayed there. I was a functioning introvert. I still went to work and small group and church and a few social things. I still taught a class on Galatians, lead a book club discussion, lead a 9-week study in my small group, counseled several hurting people and even did a few social things here and there. I was upright and talking (maybe with my eyes glazed over a bit) with a coffee cup in my hand and an ache in my heart. But – I remained inside of myself.

I closed off that ache to the rest of the world. I remained a servant letting no one serve me. I didn’t tell anyone what I was going through, partially because I didn’t fully understand it myself. See, us introverts have to process it all inside our brains and our hearts first before we can even begin to think about sharing it with someone. Then comes the arduous process of figuring out who to share it. Will it be the best friend? The pastor? The mentor? The counselor friend? The mom? “Who will it bother the least?”, are the questions typically asked. “Who will judge me the least?” “Who won’t repeat to anyone?” The introverts always asks “Who can I trust with my heart?”

The introvert usually has the solution worked out in their head already, whereas the extrovert talks to get to the solution. So the introvert (me) doesn’t always even share the issue with anyone… why bother, since the solution is already figured out? All it will do is take up someone else’s time for no reason… because for the introvert (me again) the reason must have a tangible end goal. Never mind that sharing may help create community with you (ahem, me) and someone very special.

This is what happened to me last week, over peach tea and a pita pocket, after a shopping trip to Trader Joe’s and Hobby Lobby. An extrovert pointed out to this introvert that she felt left out. And in doing so, reminded me that I needed to ask her for help. This made her feel like I was truly her friend, like I was needing her and in relationship with her. In doing so, this also helped me ease the burden I’d largely created myself – unnecessarily.

Friends who push me to be better (and less introverted) are how God caused waters to flow.

this post is part of the he caused waters to flow project.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

stories, glitter and plumbing

This is my absolutely favorite children's bible. I hadn't read any sort of children's bible since I was a child myself and when I was looking for something different to use in Children’s Church, I knew The Jesus Storybook Bible would be the way to go. It was highly endorsed at seminary, and several friends of mine use it in Children's Ministry at their church. Sally Lloyd-Jones tells the story of God rescuing us over and over throughout this bible in a beautiful and thoughtful way.

 I've never liked kids. I've never wanted to have them, never wanted to work with them. I only do so now because it's a small percentage of my job, and thankfully God has made me not hate them in the process. Today I talked to the kids in Children’s Church about how our sin separates us from God. We read the story of Jonah running away from God and how that's just like when we sin - we get further and further away from him. These kids just love this book. They love the pictures, the way she writes (it truly is a story bible) and the crazy way I give characters funny voices. How did I get here? I have no idea.

 Thursday my plumber came to replace my garbage disposal. As he was working I was cutting up a paper towel core, putting slits on each end and putting them together to make an ichthus. Then painting it with glue and adding glitter.

 I'm single, 37, never wanting to have kids and this is my life. I work on kids’ stuff for church.

 I'll admit, if I didn't have to I wouldn't be doing it. It's most certainly not in my sweet spot. Give me an adult asking me my opinion on the Northern or Southern Galatia theory any day. But I have learned, in writing curriculum for children, how it reminds me that if I can't explain it so children can understand it, they I don't understand it myself. Watching those kids today gobble up The Jesus Storybook Bible and the story of Jonah gave me water for my soul. So did my cute new plumber who said to me, “man… you can make something out of everything if you try,” as he watched me get glitter on my face.

 “He made streams come out of the rock and caused waters to flow down like rivers.” (ESV)

This post is part of the he caused waters to flow project.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

in which a monsoon causes waters to flow

I spent most of the morning on my back patio, watching the rain fall down over the dry desert land, talking on the phone with my loved ones far away and re-reading Blue Like Jazz.

It's 75 degrees outside right now. And it's July. In ARIZONA. Never, ever happens.

Monsoon season is strange to this Midwestern girl. I'm used to storms, most certainly, but these are very different. There is usually a great deal of lightening and very little thunder. Most of the time it’s just small and big haboobs, caused my lungs to fill with dust and sneezes for days after. Never have I experienced a monsoon day that is cool like this one. I know this is God’s gracious care for me filling my heart. My heart that was desperate for a filling up. The air smelled like I was back in Nebraska this morning and nothing has ever felt so sweet.

 It not much… just a little rain. For right now I’ll take it. Because rain has come to symbolize something for me since I moved to the desert. It’s come to symbolize home.

This post is part the he caused waters to flow project