I woke up full this morning and I honestly wondered if I would be able to fit into any of my clothes.
Today was all about cooperation, over-complication, and stress. I realize how depressing that sounds, but bear with me, it has a happy ending 🙂
This morning during devotions, I had another ‘aha!’ moment. Do you remember about a month or so ago when I read through the book of Revelation? I do. But I don’t remember reading this: “I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.” (3:8).
What??? That’s there? I mean, I’ve read verses similar to this, like “The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever—do not abandon the works of your hands.” (Psalm 138:8 NIV), but this verse hit me right between the eyes. In this particular chapter of Revelation, John is writing down the letters that will go to seven first-century churches. The church of Sardis, located in southwest Asia, was the recipient of this verse. God’s children in Sardis were being threatened with false teachings and some serious discouragement, but God reassured them that, though they have little power, He has their backs and will not fail them; no one can come between Him and His kids; no one can shut the door that He has created to be open. This goes back to the simplicity (or at least the basic concept) of Jeremiah 29:11, where God explains just what kind of plans He has for us as His adopted children. The only thing that can stand in the way of God’s perfect plan being fulfilled is you. Now, this doesn’t mean you’re at all capable of stopping God. No; God cannot be contained in a box. Death couldn’t hold Him, much less our puny human brains. God has a specific door open for you. The question is, do you trust Him to guide you to it and then through it?
On Black Friday, I try to go out in public as little as possible, straying away from major corporations like Wal Mart and Target in order to preserve my sanity and possibly my life. But a few weeks back I had asked my mom to develop a photo for me, which I wanted to give to my Grandma. That photo, that one photo, was at Wal Mart, just waiting to be picked up, and I knew I wouldn’t have time to get it tomorrow. I had no choice but to leave the house and drive to Wal Mart.
Let’s start with the driving. I was so worried that I had forgotten how to drive (I know, ridiculous). Thankfully, after a few moments of impeccable driving and talking to Gracie about Chris Tomlin and sweet tea, I was fine. It felt good to drive again :D.
We arrive at Wal Mart, and the whole time I’m thinking, “God, please don’t let me get trampled or beat up or whatever else could possibly happen. Please protect me and Gracie as we face the brutality of Americans post-Thanksgiving.” I just think it’s ridiculous that we spend one day being thankful for all that we have, enjoying the company of our close friends and family, and then the very next day we fight over things that will be broken, stolen, or returned within a year. Really? Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but I feel like Thanksgiving should carry over and not just exist on one day.
Regardless of my opinion, Gracie and I walked through an extremely crowded Wal Mart. Thankfully, because I’m now used to politely pushing through and maneuvering around groups of random people, I had no problem with finding my way through the busy shoppers. Gracie and I were in and out before I could say “excuse me, sir, your 32″ television, buy one get one free leather jacket, and iPhone 5 are blocking my way.”
After exiting the parking lot, we grabbed some sweet tea from McDonalds and then headed towards Grandma’s house. We spent an hour talking to her about random things, mostly about college and Christmas. She loved the photo 🙂 I try to make sure I let my Grandma know I think about her, that I think she’s important, because she totally is! Next time you see your grandmother, even if you two aren’t on the best of terms, just yell as loud as you can, “HEY Y”ALL TAKE A LOOK AT THE BEST GRANDMA EVER RIGHT HERE!” And then hug her. Trust me, she’ll love it 🙂 No, you do not have to use a Southern accent.
When we got home, my mom and Stephen were gone. Jimmy informed me that Stephen needed to be taken back to campus because of something he’d done. I was immediately frustrated. Sometimes Stephen does things that disrupt everything. I love him to pieces, but I just wonder sometimes. I spent most of the rest of the day annoyed with him, angry that he made my mom have to drive him all the way back to his facility when she should have been relaxing and enjoying her break. But that’s when I was reminded that, even though Stephen made a mistake, he’s still my brother, and I should still treat him as such. Mom understands this too. I was just being a grouch.
Once I got over myself for the first time of many more to come, Gracie, Jimmy, and I suited up and went outside to play in the snow. I tried snowboarding and I fell. And I fell. And I fell. In fact, I’m pretty sure I twisted my ankle to the point of uselessness. Eventually we went to the park a block down from our house and sledded there. When we became bored with sledding, we made snow angels and played on the playground. Oh, and we ate snow. Yup, we’re still alive.
Gracie and I did Just Dance 3 when we got home and had hung up all of our wet snow gear. Someone had once asked me if I could dance. The first image that came to mind when he’d asked was not my three or four years of tap dancing, or any of the musicals I’ve been in, but the countless days I’ve spent with my sister doing Just Dance on the Wii. I wonder if that counts as dancing? 😀
After mom came home I took a break from relaxing to do homework. I am proud to say that I finished two important assignments and made good progress on a number of others. I finished re-writing the revisions for my spiritual allegory…I’m hoping it’s not too deep or too crazy. I guess we’ll see! I wonder if my professors do things on their breaks. I wonder if they think we, as college kids, just sit around and do nothing all day. While this is partially true, it’s still much more difficult to do homework on break than I thought it would be. But I guess it’s all part of growing up 🙂
We had stuffing and turkey pot pie soup for dinner 😀 I think one of the greatest parts about Thanksgiving is the leftovers. My favorite way to eat leftovers is to put white turkey meat, mayonnaise, and stuffing on toasted wheat bread with apple slices on the side 🙂 What’s your favorite way to consume Thanksgiving leftovers?
Anyway, this next part is the best part of the evening, I think. Dad was home tonight, not busy, so we decided to decorate our house for Christmas. Yes, I know it’s still November. Yes, I am aware that the Hallmark Channel hasn’t even started the 25 Day Countdown to Christmas yet. My mother wanted to decorate the house when I was here and also when dad was here. She really wanted all of us to be together to take part in this tradition, especially since it may be the last time it happens when all of us are present.
While we were decorating, I found myself getting stressed, annoyed, and irritable. I kept saying over and over to myself, “Isn’t decorating supposed to be fun?” I was answered with a “Yes, Hunter, it is. But you’re not exactly making it fun. Look at how you’re talking to people.” And I did. For some reason I had snapped at my brother and sister more than once already, and I found myself feeling annoyed about the stupidest things.
Regardless of what problem I had going on in my brain, what worry was plaguing my heart, or what fear was messing with my emotions, my family deserved to be treated better than I was treating them. They had built their schedules around me so I could participate in all the traditions and get the most out of my short time home. I felt like a brat. Thankfully, God saved the day and I was able to have fun and treat my family the right way, despite whatever was going on in my overly complicated brain.
God has this way of telling me I’m wrong where He’s either silent or He exposes me, but in the gentlest way possible. I personally have no idea how He exposes me gently, but He does. And I’m so glad He does. I often don’t catch myself when I’m being hypocritical especially when it comes to Him. I’m always so worried that I’m going to think I’m right when I’m actually terribly wrong and then I mess everything up. But then I remember that God can’t be contained in a box 😀 He is not limited by my mistakes, my weaknesses, or my mess-ups. Thank goodness!
So, this break isn’t quite over with, but it’s been a great one 🙂 I’ve discovered just how much I’ve changed and just how much everything back in the sticks has changed, and I think I might be able to get over the fact that everything doesn’t stay the same. Sometimes you wish that, you know? You wish that everything would slow down and stop changing so quickly. But change has to happen. Change is what grows your relationship with God. Change is what exposes darkness for what it is and gives light the honor. Change is what builds endurance.
Tomorrow is a rather busy day. I get to go back to my hometown church to decorate in the morning. It’ll be weird to be inside that building when I’ve been inside the walls of International Baptist Church for so long. Granted, three months really isn’t that long of a period of time, but a lot has happened. I’m excited to see everyone though, to smell the smells and see the sees 😀 Then later I’m headed over to my best friend’s birthday party. We’ve been best friends since pre-school, and I haven’t missed her birthday once. We’ve both changed since going to college, since graduating high-school, but she’s still my friend, and she still needs God, and God still loves her, so I should too.
Well, there’s homework to be done, tea to drink, and thoughts to think. Even if everything with my assignments, my plans, and my friends don’t work out the way I want them to, it’s nice to know Someone who has a better plan anyway, who has control over it all, who loves me enough to put me in the right places at the right times. It’s nice to know I don’t have to worry 🙂
“Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He’s going to be up all night anyway.” —Mary C. Crowley