Home, Wet Home

I arrived back at home in Oregon for the first time in over three months and was immediately reminded of how much I hate the rain. While I was in Colorado I completely forgot that such a thing as rain even existed.  No wet roads to drive, hardly a need for windshield wipers, I didn’t have to choose which coat to wear based on whether or not it had a hood, umbrellas were pointless, the sun was out every day. It was heavenly! Seriously, I didn’t appreciate it when I had it, but now that I’m back in the cloudy, gloomy, rainy weather I miss the dry, sunny Colorado weather. It snowed here today and even that was more wet than snow in Colorado. I’m not complaining about Salem; I love being home. I just forgot that home was wet. . . Oh, I read this joke in Reader’s Digest (I was bored) about Oregon: In heaven, someone asked why none of the Oregonians went to hell. The reply was that when they get there the devil throws them back out ’cause they’re too wet to burn. Ha! So true!

I felt truly at home while I was carefully manuvering the soggy streets of Commercial with my wipers swishing buckets of rain off my windshield and I pulled into Dutch Bros. Their coffee really isn’t that great, but something draws me to that cute little blue hut with the red and yellow tulips. I just felt like I was home. Maybe because we only have them in Oregon. So here I sit with my now-cold nonfat candycane mocha watching the gray skies drip rain and enjoying the comforting feeling of being home.

Blogging and Baking

Um. . . so, I haven’t written anything in awhile because I’ve been too busy reading other people’s blogs. They trap you on purpose, you know. You log in to write on your own blog, but they put up all these other people’s blogs and you look at them and think, “Ooh, that looks cool,” and then you read it and at the bottom there’s a link to similar blogs and you read those too. By the time you’re done reading everybody else’s interesting stuff, you’ve forgotten to update your own blog. Darn those people who are more interesting than me!

Anyhoo. . . the point of that was to say that I found this really cool blog that I like lots and lots. . .and to justify myself for not updating this in a week. So, y’all should visit this blog http://bittersweetblog.wordpress.com/. . . after you finish reading my super awesome blog, of course. I love the Bittersweet blog ’cause it’s all about crafts and baking! And the writer is humerous – that’s always a plus. All the recipes on the blog are vegan (whatever that means). I think being vegan means you don’t eat something, but I don’t know what that something is. Vegetables, maybe? If that’s the case, I’m vegan and that blog is right up my alley!  I stumbled onto this blog a few weeks ago and it made me want to do some Christmas baking real bad. . . alas, I cannot because I live in an apartment with an ill-equipped kitchen and I’m too cheap to go out and equip it. Not only that, but the oven is demented and would probably burn my cookies then set the smoke detector off. Unfortunately, that has happened on numerous occassions, usually either late at night or early in the morning. On the plus side, I’ll be home in a week and there’s a perfectly functional kitchen there, so I’ll just do my Christmas baking last minute like everyone else.

Speaking of going home, today was our last day of class. It was kind of sad which is weird ’cause I can’t remember ever being sad that a class was over. As Dr. Leland was preparing us for life outside of the FOTF bubble, it started to hit me that I’m leaving this safe haven to face the world on my own. Over the last three months I’ve gained an arsenal of worldview ammunition and now I have to go out and use it by myself. No one at home has learned the things I have and it’s my responsibility to share it with them. Kind of intimidating, not gonna lie. It’s easy to talk about hot topics here where everyone pretty much agrees with you. . . and even if they don’t, they’re at least respectful of your views. What am I going to do when I face someone who totally disagrees with me and is not so nice about it? I don’t like yelling, so I hope no one yells at me. But seriously, I’ve been equipped with the truth and now have the responsibility to be vocal about it. I pray that as I go home and go back to my normal routine, I won’t become complacent. I hope that the things I’ve learned will burn in me, that God’s truth will be like a fire in my heart (Jeremiah 20:9) so that I will not be able to hold them in.

Knowing Leads To Loving

“As long as we have only a vague inner feeling of discontent with our present way of living, and only an indefinite desire for ‘things spiritual,’ our lives will continue to stagnate in a generalized melancholy” – Henri J.M. Nouwen.

I have that “vague inner feeling of discontent” when I think about the state of my spiritual life. I go to church, I read my Bible, I’m going to school and Focus on the Family for crying out loud! Yet I can’t seem to achieve a depth to my spiritual life. I read a passage of scripture, force myself to think about it for awhile, then go about my day. My relationship with God does not permeate every area of my life the way that I desire it to. Something is obviously wrong with the way I approach my relationship with the Lord, but I don’t do anything to change it; I keep going on as I always have.

I know I believe in God and I know I am saved, but I do not feel a passionate love for Him. I’ve known that this lack of a deep love for my Creator was missing from my life for awhile, but I wasn’t sure how to achieve that love. Finally, as I was reading for my Marriage and Family class, I ran across the solution. I was reading a book called The Practice of the Presence of God by a monk called Brother Lawrence when I ran across this quote: “We must know before we can love. In order to know God, we must often think of Him. And when we come to love Him, we shall then also think of Him often, for our hearts will be with our treasure.” It makes perfect sense! You can’t love someone you don’t know and you can’t get to know someone you don’t spend time with. Why do I love Brandon? Because I know him; I know he is kind and considerate, fun to be with, has an awesome sense of humor, and treats people with respect. How do I know this? Because I’ve spent countless hours with him. I don’t love the guy who bagged my groceries at the store (well, maybe I do in the Christian “love your neighbor” kind of way, but not in an intimate way) because I haven’t spent time getting to know him. My relationship with God is the same way. How can I expect to have a deep love for my Savior if I don’t spend time getting to know Him?

I must continually be in the presence of God, seeking to know Him more, if I am to love Him the way I desire to. Brother Lawrence even goes so far as to declare knowing God our profession: “Our business of life should be to know God. The more someone knows Him, the more he desires to know Him even more. Knowledge is commonly the measure of love. So the deeper and more extensive our knowledge of God is, the greater our love will be. And if our love of God is as great as it should be, we would love Him equally in pains and pleasures.”  I should continually strive to know God more by reading His word and just being silent before Him to listen to Him. According to Brother Lawrence, the more I know Him, the more I’ll want to know Him.

There’s so much more I could write about this and so much I’m still discovering, but it goes off in all different directions, so I’ll stop here. I encourage anyone who feels like something’s missing in their relationship with God or has a “vague inner feeling of discontent” with their spiritual life to read The Practice of the Presense of God by Brother Lawrence. It’s an amazing book that will totally change the way you look at your relationship with God, and there’s so much more to it than what I’ve just written about. Definately one of my favorite books I’ve read at FFI . . . which isn’t saying much ’cause I have about 10 favorite books, but it’s really good. Read it.