Wednesday, August 18, 2010

going back to something new.

A few remaining thoughts from the summer as I prepare to go back to school.

- There is not specific amount of time required for someone to earn an irreplaceable spot in your heart.

- I have a key.

- Age has little bearing on maturity if a person does not place a strong value on character and belief.

- It takes less time to destroy a relationship than it does to build one.

- If I were alive in the 1700's, I would have been a loyalist. I love the British.

- You can hurt deeply and be filled with joy at the same time.

- The deeper this latest wound festers in me, the greater my alertness to the depth of sorrow Christ endured to save me and to the weight of the word 'betrayal.'

- I miss pottery. Hardcore.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Every day seems to make it just a little harder for me to say that human relationships are worth all the heartache. I hope that sentiment changes soon.

"Have you ever been hurt and the place tries to heal a bit, and you just pull the scar off of it over and over again?" ~Rosa Parks

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Medora information and reservations, this is Natalie. How can I help you?

I am back in the North of the land of Dakota with the buffalo, elk, rattlesnakes, prairie dogs, and a few dear friends. In my quiet time spent in the shadow of the Badlands and in the rush of insecurity that hits me every time I walk in the Badlands motel I have been pondering a few things.

- I have a natural tendency towards despair and only with divine help do I ever overcome it.

- Shoulder rubs feel amazing.

- Telepathy is an ability given to women that uses brief eye contact to point out the amusing parts of awkward situations, I don't care what the dictionary says it means.

- There is nothing that replaces time spent with my face pressed into those musty oak floorboards before my God.

- I love the Catholic idea that a church building should never be locked. I think I secretly came back to North Dakota just to live walking distance from an old Catholic church.

- There are awesome men in this world and they can actually speak great truth to you when you take off the mask filled with engagement rings, the hippest books Christian romance, and V-neck tees. (Thank you Jon Acuff) and breath the standard nitrogen, oxygen, pollen, dust, and diesel exhaust stuff.

- I like steak.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

stretching. depth. love.

Last night was my last growth group of the year. What a year it has been! As a good leader, one of the things you are supposed to do is help your group gain closure and leave them with positive memories of growth groups through reflection. The part that is not mentioned is that to do so, you must reflect as well and that is a dangerous thing. I had expected that because I was serving in a role that seemed to fit my personality so well that this year would be easy. I assumed that caring for others would drive out my broken places and fill them with warm feelings of how good God is.
Here I sit. Filled with the wonder of how good God is but because he has spent the last year pointing out the depth of my broken places. He has pushed my face in the ocean that is my natural tendency towards despair and held me under until I could truly appreciate the beauty of air. It has been a long time since the depth of my depravity has brought me as much deep sadness as it has this last year. I have learned the most beautiful secret though. God loves me. Not "God loves me in spite of my depravity" or "God loves that I am depraved." But simply. God loves me. It makes no difference to his love how broken I am or how easily I seem to forget his love. He waits for me, as close as ever, and when I am ready, I find myself overwhelmed by the most steadfast and wild peace.
Last night my girls and I sat around and answered a bunch of reflection questions that I had put in a jar and passed around. The last question was "If you could pick three words to describe this year, what would they be?" My three words are stretching, depth, and love. What are yours?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

it is a day for lovely things.

"Love is promise, love is a souvenir, once given, never forgotten, never let it disappear."- John Lennon

It is a day for lovely things.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

a life giving nature of loveliness.

Last night I had the most lovely conversation with my growth group. For those of you who aren't members of the Grace College cult, growth groups are a dorm Bible study where around ten girls (or guys if you are a guy) get together to go to talk about deep things and lament the amount of homework you still have to do and I happen to lead one. Partly because I am a terrible planner and partly because God is good at leading this terrible planner, we talked last night about a passage I read out of John and Stasi Eldredge's book Captivating: Unveiling a Woman's Soul. It is a terribly good book and I shared a portion where Stasi talks about the question that all women have in common: Am I lovely?
Women are created to reveal the merciful, loving, captivating side of a God that without us would only be seen as warrior and judge. But our souls long to be fought for, to be told that we are lovely in a deep way that no heart, except the heart of God, can be enough for us.
In all of our brokenness and scars, I saw lovely women last night. As they described movie heroines and what makes a beautiful woman words like "alluring, mysterious, draws you in, exceptional, gentle spirit, and smiling" were thrown around. By the end of the evening every girl was glowing. I do not think it mattered that we were in our pajamas with slightly greasy hair and tired eyes, there was a radiant beauty as broken places were brought to God and vulnerability crept back into very guarded hearts.
I give you the same challenge I gave my girls and myself. Spend a week thinking of the most beautiful experience you have had. It could be a time where you were able to bask in the beauty of someone, or of something. Bring that to the front of your mind, daydream about how that makes you feel and what makes it beautiful. After a week is over, share it with someone and watch the life giving nature of beauty unfold.

Monday, January 25, 2010

to continue making the peanut butter sandwiches of life.

There are a lot of things swirling around in this mess I call a mind, most useless, but the thought that keeps itself prevalent is the beauty of the peanut butter sandwich. One of my teachers, Dr. DeZago, ran a ministry where he would give hungry people a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of tang. It is not elaborate, not expensive, but to a hungry person, there are few things that would be better.

God help me make peanut butter sandwiches for those I love. Give me patience and discernment to not react out of being hurt but out of a desire to bring healing.