[not] writing my paper.
i have been aching to write this down today…and am just now doing it so i feel like my brain is really scattered.
i am stunned. humbled. so blessed. i have no other choice but to smile, shake my head and say, “to God be the glory.” last night i went to celebrate recovery at jail. was waiting in the lobby for the other volunteers to get there. the men got there who were going to the men’s pod. one of them asked if i was ready to go in. i said, “well don’t we need to wait for the other women?” he just looked at me and said, “oh, its just you!”
at first i was panicked. then i was completely and totally calm. and completely and totally aware of my inadequacy. i had literally not thought about or prepared for my trip to jail at all. i had gone through my day…doing schoolwork, trying to get stuff done.
and so i walk into the women’s pod. having nothing prepared, having no materials to give them. and am supposed to conduct a support group, a bible study, whatever it is. a few minutes go by…i set up the room, talk with the officer. pray.
in come the ladies. 11 of them. and myself.
none of them had ever been to the class before. some of the faces were familiar from the abuse support group.
it was incredible. the Lord went with me. and before me. and used me. despite that i literally had nothing to offer yesterday other than myself. we read scripture. we prayed. we told our stories. and i fell even more in love with these women.
we serve a faithful God. i left the jail last night rejoicing. being reminded that it is not about me.
today was the last day of class for the semester. i have exams next week and then am done with my first year of grad school. and tonight i need to be alone. this doesn’t happen a lot for me. but i needed to come home from class and just be. and paint. and read things that aren’t related to psychology. and make dinner in my pjs. and go to bed early.
was thinking of this jon foreman song in class today…His love is strong. He is good at using our weakness.
last night i was getting into bed and received a crazy text message from a young life team member from college. it said:
“Jesus is so good. Mer, we had 47 kids at club tonight.”
so young life was the best part of college…maybe the best part of my life so far. it was through young life in high school that i became comfortable being crazy. and it was through young life at clemson that i realized how much i need God to be a part of my endeavors for him.
i was a leader at a high school in clemson that just didn’t really embrace young life. we struggled to see growth and fruit. basically we did a lot of soil preparing. we were kicked out of the school by the administration, we got in trouble for taking a group of girls on a spring break trip.
and what i realized last night was that God is faithful in his time. all of the prayers that my team and i offered during my four years at clemson were answered…last night. which is awesome. but it also kinda sucks. more often then not we would have to cancel club while i was a leader because we wouldn’t have more than 5 kids show up. and last night they had 47. that is incredible. in fact, it kinda hurts my head to think of all those kids in our tiny club room. the fact is, sometimes we get to see the fruit of our labor. sometimes we don’t. but that doesnt matter. if you would have told me two years ago that this high school would have ever had 47 kids at club i would have laughed.
i smile thinking about the cars pulling up
and pulling up
and pulling up.
and my sweet leaders being so excited. i feel like i can see will plonk’s face.
God is good. He answers prayers.
it is saturday. and really pretty outside. (well, that’s relative. it’s pretty for wheaton.) and all i want to do is everything but school stuff. annoying. sitting in the library, looking out at the park which is finally showing signs of spring.
(you like my toms? you should.)
also thanks to starbucks. not really im pissed. i spent 4 bones on that coffee. it tastes good. but come on… $4 really?!
so i thought maybe if i just blogged and got it out of my system i would be more willing to start my school stuff. wishful thinking.
Here is my quote of late: “When Jesus talks about faith, he first of all is saying to trust unreservedly that you are loved. So that you can abandon every false way of obtaining love.” –Nouwen
we are so far too easily pleased. oh, i need a little taste of faith today. trusting that i am loved. so i can stop in my attempts of acquiring substitutes for Love. the Love that died on a cross. and that descended to the depths to prove to us, to me that i am worth fighting for. worth dying for. i am worth it.
well. today is thursday. thus i went to jail. thus i have a lot on my mind.
today, court and i were in charge of the class by ourselves. (more like, court was in charge of the class and i chimed in when i felt like it.) today, there were 16 women in the group. today, is thursday of holy week. and my mind is racing.
the mix of women in jail today was really strange. some were old. some looked 15. some were fat. others were emaciated. there were hispanic women, black women, white women. and i felt like for once they didn’t mesh; like there was something different about each of them. it was a new group…i had only met one of them before (from the celebrate recovery group).
we were talking about power and control and how as women we want to be needed. we like the way that feels. i brought up the point that we can live without it. we are strong women. and the fact that they are alive in jail….and sitting in class shows that they can survive without the abusive relationship. and one woman got mad at me. and said i don’t know what it is like to be in jail. and i told her that i wish i did. and i went on a tangent about how i wish i could stay in jail for a little while. so that they wouldn’t see me differently then they see themselves. because i don’t see myself differently. she didn’t buy it. she said “you could leave here and go to taco bell.” That’s what she would do. leave jail. and go get a volcano taco from the grossest fast food restaurant. oh, I am naive.
and then there was C. she told us that she was the abuser, not that she was abused. and there were about 4-5 women who just didn’t talk. and it wasn’t because they didn’t have anything to say. they are addicts. they are hurting. they are broken. they are furiously loved by the creator of the world. and they don’t know it.
i don’t know why i feel so oddly comfortable with them. i know it doesn’t make sense. the whole time i am siting there i am waiting to realize that i’m in jail. sitting next to a bunch of convicts. yet every time, i don’t want to leave. i told court today that i’m just so frustrated. there are three of us trying to serve 60 women in this jail. it is impossible. and then I go back to my schwanky apartment to eat a quick dinner before going to my schwanky church to celebrate holy week. and I get a package from my mom. and a sweet note saying all the things she always tells me. that she is proud of me. and thankful for me. and that she loves me. all of the things that these women in jail are never told. because their moms were addicts and abused just like they were. gosh it’s so hard for me to wrap my head around that. why am i not in orange and so i think about grace. it has been so unbelievably extended to me. to us. i was just thinking about what jesus was doing on this night during passover. preparing to die. preparing to be betrayed. he knew the road he would have to walk, and the pain of the cross. and the separation from his father. that’s grace. how do i ever forget what he has done, and what i have been given?
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22
colorado was so much fun. for a lot of reasons.
1. i changed my flight twice so that i could come back later than planned. true story. and i survived the denver airport. if you like a good conspiracy check out the “denver airport conspiracy” it is unreal.
2. i got to see three of my favorite people: david bleckley, kyle schoenleber, and amy marquell. (marshall)
3. i went to leadville, colorado. (the highest elevation city in america). i just said america in my head in a george w. bush voice.
4. me and amy wore the same thing everyday.
let me talk about amy for a little minute. she is unreal. amy has been looking for jobs for the past 6ish months. and nothing has been happening. so she moved to colorado to work at a ski resort. she worked in the rental shop with all these crazies. and i know that she loved them so well. she lived in the grossest room i have ever seen. no decorations. would be my personal grave. she is just so full of joy. moving off on her own to live in a place of people who are not encouraging her, so that maybe they would see christ in her. oh, how certain i am that they saw him in every smile. and heard him in every word. she is a glowing representation of our savior. i am so excited to see what she does next. and selfishly hope that one day we end up in the same city. amy. you da best.
5. i snowboarded a ton. with a helmet. thanks dad. i didn’t break my arm. but i did fall so hard one time that i threw up. that’s true. the snow was awesome.
5. i hiked (which i hate doing) to go to some hotsprings.
(i can’t believe i am putting this picture on here. but it is too funny not to.)
6. i went to some of the coolest stores ever.
this place. called tallulah jones was in denver. and is what the inside of my brain looks like. i didn’t stop smiling the whole time i was in the store.
7. i found such a cool piece of art. for hundreds of dollars. i’m gonna make it this summer.
ok thats all the pictures tumblr will let me put on. david needs to email me the picture of the costumes in the airport. don’t worry there was also a choreographed dance involved.
oh and let me talk about david real quick. he is living and working and serving at crooked creek. and if you knew him at clemson you wouldn’t believe how much he has changed. david, will plonk , and myself were the biggest clowns on our young life team. and couldn’t take anything seriously. and to see him mature and acting like a man was incredible. dbleck. rebecca lowe would be so excited she would scream. so awesome to see you living and serving and chasing after christ. i am proud of you.
i got a lot more things to say that have been on my mind lately. and stuff that i am learning. about myself. about jesus. about life. and i hate that it is easter week and i have barely thought about that.
I’ve been at the airport for a couple hours. People are so weird. I don’t understand really. And I hate animals. I mean, why are dogs allowed in airports? There is a dog barking away. Guess it’s gonna go for a little plane ride. Something about moving sidewalks kills me. Especially when people don’t walk on them. But stand still. Jeez Louise. So annoying. Gotta board my flight. See ya chicago.
“it is always a mistake to decide what you’re going to do before you decide who you’re going to be.” -andy stanley
i can’t get that quote out of my head. i’m so struck by it. it was a part of andy’s talk at passion 2010. isn’t that what we do? we figure out what we are going to do…not who we are going to be?! and that is scary. i want to decide.
anyway. i’m going to colorado today to see these guys. and i’m so stoked. barely slept last night.
this chica is the bomb. can’t wait to laugh with her. and drink ddp. and talk about the big bamboo. and jim barker. and the blue house crazies. and fall asleep to our box fan. and probably die my hair. just saying.
dbleck. i also can’t wait to laugh with him. gosh, i guess this trip is gonna be one big laugh. we were on the same young life team at clemson. and now he is serving the lord at crooked creek ranch. and me and amy get to go chill with him there!
ps. those pictures are so old. love love love them. see you tonight!
I’m stronger then I think. Jesus is strong in me. I was bought at a great price. Jesus paid my debt.
I will choose to live free.
gosh. i feel like all i write about is jail. but i just can’t believe the things that happen there. so on tuesday i went to a ‘celebrate recovery’ meeting. three women came (all their first time) along with me and a lady that has been working in jails for many years.
so we are sitting there. and none of them know what the class is or what we are going to talk about. i had to keep rewinding the other woman who was ‘facilitating’ because she was making huge assumptions about how much these women knew about the bible, or christianity. they basically knew nothing. one asked “who wrote the bible?” another claimed to be a prophet(ess?) anyway. i just couldn’t believe these sweet women. one of them especially seemed to tug my heart. she was definitely really skeptical about what we were saying and about the verses that were being read.
and i just wanted to start at the beginning.
it’s so funny to me when young life terms come out in my language use. i said something about the bible being “the greatest love story ever told.” and wanted to laugh out loud.
i wanted to know everything about them. their experience with “God” and christianity. they all had pretty funny responses to that. one of the girls said “i get mad at god a lot because if he really loves me then why am i in jail?” i told her i would love to know that same answer because it doesn’t make sense to me why i am not in jail.
towards the end of the class we gave them each a bible and as the facilitator started telling them where to start reading. i was thinking about the reality that these three women HAD NEVER opened a bible. i told them not to be intimidated because at some point every person and every christian opened the bible for the first time. i also told them that a lot of it seems really crazy, that it doesn’t make sense and that they will probably read it and be like “what the heck is this talking about?!”
i challenged them to ask god this week to show them something about himself…through the bible, through friends in jail, through prayer…whatever. i told them i would take the challenge too.
and then i asked for prayer requests. one of the girls asked for us to pray for her dreams because she had been having terrible nightmares since she got to jail (2 weeks ago!) we prayed for her right then.
then it was time to go.
and i didn’t want to leave. i actually thought: gosh, i wish i could live here undercover. there is so much need. and i don’t want to leave. crazy, right? i don’t want to leave JAIL.
so fast forward to yesterday. back at jail. in the abuse support group. one of the girls (the prophet) was in class! i was so excited to see her and asked how her week had been. she told me that her roommate (the one with the bad dreams) hadn’t had a nightmare since monday night. i wanted to stand up and scream. but i just smiled and said, “that’s awesome! tell her i said hey and that i will still be praying!”
i couldn’t stop thinking about it during the whole class. i was surrounded by 12 women. in orange. and i just wanted to ask them all their stories. and how i could pray for them.
time to leave—- i got in my car to drive to my upscale suburb and was so convicted. why am i not praying big things for these women? for myself? the lord is capable of completely changing these women. and changing me.
i feel like i have been drinking out of an emotional fire hydrant this week. thanks psych grad program for being so self-refective.
i haven’t been on tumblr since monday. and that makes me sad.
doesn’t mean nothing has been happening. a lot has been happening.
and i kinda feel like this.
today was april fools day. and i didn’t seize the moment. i love practical jokes. and love being joked on.