Speaking My Peace: Reflecting on the Boston Women’s March

“Love not hate, makes America great.” The T was packed throbbing with energy, unlike the morning commute there were no glum faces or blank stares. Instead there were smiling faces and people doing their best to create space on an … Continue reading

The Purge, This Election, and Giant Thoughts on Love

I have giant feelings lately. It’s everything really from just the issues of being me, working full time at this school, all the way up to the upcoming election and the general brokenness of this world. I’ll start with the … Continue reading

Love with a side of Fried Chicken

Today I woke up with all the energy of the Proverbs 31 woman. I shoveled out the back steps, front steps, and the front walkway and I’m thinking once I finish writing this I’m going to whip up a wicked good breakfast.

Last night as I was making deep fried chicken for my family I was talking on the phone with my best friend. And we were talking about the lack of direction in our lives, she’s about to start a masters program and I’m seeking employment that I might actually love. I made the comment that I love to spend time with friends, eat good meals, and I’m pretty handy at writing after musing about how some times the things that fill us most aren’t the things we’ll be getting paid for. Originally my post was going to be about job searching some things I’ve learned along the way, encouragement, some suggestions to making a standout resume.

Instead my thoughts drift to the stuff of life that really matters.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good (Romans 12, NKJV)

So last night a good friend of ours came over and brought over his deep fryer. We made deep fried chicken, sweet potato fries, and deep fried Oreos (and green beans, we weren’t totally unhealthy). It was so good to have honest conversations, good food, and pure fun. It was awesome to know I was filling people body and soul and then to wake up this morning feeling so full of life (since I went to bed early instead of watching a movie late at night with the rest of them).

I prayed and decided to shovel. In times past I would have passed it off and figured some one else would do it. Or just try to make people do it with me. But I was invigorated thinking this is something I can do to make my family’s lives easier. This is something I can make sure when people come into my home they won’t slip or get stuck. The mailman will appreciate it. The delightful mastiff who lives next door will be able to walk a little easier. So thinking of all these people (and animals!) I shoveled and I greatly enjoyed myself.

I guess my point in all of this is that the evil I don’t always abhor is negativity, ingratitude, and bitterness. I forget that though caring for Miss J drains me most days, it is good work that I’m doing and that every day I get to come home to a place of peace. That though some of my friendships can give me such great dissatisfaction I have many wonderful friendships. That community is built in our churches, schools, and workplaces, but even more it’s built in our homes and involves such simple things as opening your door, saying yes to the deep fryer, and simply letting yourself be known.

Jesus inspires me to know people and see them fully, to love them where they are, and to bring them deeper into what is good in life. Over and over again we see him enjoying life with people, having conversation, showing up where people are (both figuratively and literally). I want to be like that. It seems I can’t quite control when I’ll have my next job, or how other people will respond to me, but I can do my part. Open my home, offer what I have to share, and be intentional even when it’s hard.

How are you sharing warmth and goodness this winter?

All the glitter,

Juanita

Surprise! Life after College isn’t Always Happy

“I’ve never suffered from major depression, not from the crippling nightmare that I have watched in others, but I haven’t always been very happy. I’ve had—as the many euphemisms go—a hard time of it, been in a bad way, down … Continue reading

One Year after Graduation

So I’ve been reflecting because it’s been a year since I graduated and as it happens precisely a year since I started this young blog and to put it lightly this year has been a year of growth and challenge; I’ve been reflecting much about living a meaningful life, a full life, a God centered life.

This Scripture stood out to me today.

It basically says that we are all a tiny part of this magnificent thing called life and we are not promised a tomorrow. Today is all that we have, we could very much be dead tomorrow. Let God’s will be done.

And it’s true, but I know being a 20 something, that is a hard reality to live. Hard because on any given day do you really think you could die? No? Me either. I live with that arrogance James reprimands, I assume I have another day to try again, to love, to dance, to forgive, to make that phone call, to do that thing I’m scared to do. But in fact this may be my last day, and every day I want that to have mattered.

Which makes me realize more and more it isn’t about what we do.

Huh?

Stick with me, see I realize that each day could be my last, and I want to live with that reality living with the knowledge that this life is not the end all and be all of human existence, that God is doing works within this world that stretch into the world beyond and that is what ultimately matters.

Which means what matters isn’t what I do, but that I am a person who has their life fully reconciled to God, that I give all that I am to Him! And in so doing my love for Him will flow into all I do, which means that I will do things that matter, and think them, and feel them, and breathe them, and live them! You see, if I am truly living a life that is passionately connected to Him everything else will come out of that LOVE.

And I know it’s true. Oh, I make mistakes. I stumble tremendously. I say things I’m grateful that forgiveness covers. But I am journeying and I know that I’m in a better place, a more loving place and seen more of who God is and become more of who God says I am than the senior who graduated last year. And Freshman Juanita, I don’t even know that girl. She, I think, would be really shocked by where life has taken her, where God has called her to every single day, but I think she’d be overwhelmed by His love for her, for His goodness in the world, and the ways He is calling out His people to show great and mighty love in this world. I still am. Some things don’t change.

Glitter always glitter,

Juanita

Differing Perspectives

It’s been WAY too long, since my last post, but Easter is coming, and He is rising. Tomorrow Jesus is going to storm out of the tomb, and for that I am extremely grateful.

That said I’ve been thinking. Some themes in my life has been struggle, journey, taking the safe/easy road, and honestly just my own rottenness.

On the last point I have a short story. Basically I was on my way home and I was developing a headache and tired (had to pee too), and this blind man gets off the T. The door I’m about to go into. He asks for guidance to the red line. I say nothing. No else does. He repeats the question. Twice.

My neighbor needed help, and I knew I should help him, I had inner conflict about helping him, but I chose the easy way, the coward way, the not loving my neighbor way and I got on the T. Immediately I had this overwhelming sense that I had made the wrong decision. I did the only thing I could do: I prayed forgiveness.

I know I am forgiven, and I’ve learned from it. I know some will say it’s a little thing, but it was wrong, especially since I knew I should offer help.So that day I was faced with how rotten I am, and how the old habits are still there. Because righteousness and doing good are so much more than being polite, sometimes it is going above and beyond.

I don’t feel like I’m a good person lately, which is hard to take in. Not that I ever thought I was perfect, being a Christian puts to light how ugly humans are and how much we need a Savior, Jesus. But really, I just feel like I run from the hard path, I get caught up in petty things, I am loving and generous, but only when it’s convenient.

Here’s the thing I’ve seen though, God doesn’t look at me like that. He says me as the new creation. Of course, He always desires me to improve, we’re on a journey of holiness together, but he calls me good, born again, child, sinless. As long as I seek him and continue in relationship with him and earnestly go to him to be holy, missteps don’t matter. I learn from them, but they are no longer who I am.

And well the other day I had a house meeting with my roommates and we were just sharing about different things including our spiritual walks, and then we finished by praying for each other.

At one point one of my roommates prayed, basically thanking God for my presence in the house and my courage for trying new things and seeking and investing in community.

Those words are still echoing in my head. Courageous. Ha. I feel in most decisions, I hear God, I hem I haw, I question, finally reluctantly I take the first step. I don’t find that courageous. I seek community because sometimes it feels like I will literally die without it. I’m not kidding. I feel pointless without family, without connection, without community. Solitude has it’s time and place, but digging deep and investing in and sharing life with others is how I feel most alive.

So here I am about to get married, a recent college graduate, and I am figuring out how to be an adult, how to make my faith even more authentic and relevant in a life that gives me discomfort, confusion, and struggle. The joy is real though as is the peace. This life is good, I just need to embrace the struggle. And to remember my struggle is not that big a deal either, it could be so much worse, and it may be in the future, and hopefully by the grace of God I’ll face it.

Sometimes it’s good to hear what other people see in you, and embrace that. My actions may not look like courage to me, but maybe they show other people how to be courageous and challenge me to be the person others see. And God of course he always challenges us to be brighter, bolder, holier, more like him, which ultimately makes us that much more us and human.

I’m using all these perspectives to be the me I was created to be.

Glitter on,

Juanita

Why Can’t Everything Be Easy

Sometimes being an adult sucks, because you have to make choices. Choices you find good ultimately, but that can still leave you with a lingering sense of loss and disappointment even though you value the decision you made. So let me give you more detail. So as you readers know I’m in a play about Bible women. Modern women relating to women in the Bible and asking some really serious questions. Well people loved it, which is amazing, and I’m still processing that and how awesome that is. It’s overwhelmed me honestly. I mean I love this show, don’t doubt that for a moment, but I never for a second thought this would go beyond this weekend. And people within and outside the cast have big dreams for the show. And honestly I don’t. I’m grateful God could use me. I’m blessed I said yes, but I have a lot of hopes and dreams that don’t involve this show and don’t extend beyond this semester. You know how somehow you know when you’re supposed to be a part of something and when you’re not. That’s how I feel. And well, I was going to throw my first grown up party. To celebrate being in my new place, my relationship with S, and honoring myself and my journey. And by committing to be in the encore performance, I commit to postponing my party. Which means now some people won’t be able to make it. Which means I have to readjust my life. And I am disappointed. I have been so excited for this party. And I don’t like change. And well, it was going to be a relief for this show to be over. I love it. I’m glad it’s being used in such wild ways, I’m glad it’s opening hearts, I am beyond humbled. But still this party is important. And I refuse to deny that to myself. I think that’s one thing that I never realized about growing up, there’s so many factors into making a decision. It’s not as easy as saying yes or no. Compromise is huge. And that part of being true to yourself is admitting what’s important to you even when others just don’t get it. So I’m glad to be a part of this show. I’m glad that more people will have the opportunity to see this show. But I’m also not all my heart committed to loving it and being a part of it forever however far it goes beyond next weekend. And I’m disappointed I won’t be having a party this weekend. And I wish I could easily make the decision and just be a ball of joy about it. But I’m not, sometimes being a self aware adult sucks. Growing up isn’t always glitter, sometimes times it’s conflicting feelings, tough decisions, and being misunderstood. Glitter on, Juanita