Friday, January 27, 2012

Email to Eileen, 27/1/12

I'm so excited. I feel like God is really setting me on fire for Him again and it feels so good! It's definitely been a gradual process, but I've been really digging into my podcast sermons again and there's almost been this insatiable hunger to *know* the Bible, to really dig into the Word again. And then today I went for a walk,just by myself. It started out with me in this really truly rotten mood because of a build-up of events that have all just kind of collapsed on me, but I took the opportunity to talk it out with God. And the funny thing is that I actually didn't end up talking to Him much about it. Subjects got switched and He showed me a couple things that I had been totally blind to... Gosh, it's been so long since I've had a real conversation with Him, you know? Or at least one that didn't consist entirely of me winge-ing about something or other.

But anyway, get this- I think I had a demon. Like, a real fire-breathing type I'ma-possess-you kind of demon. Except that he wasn't possessing me. But maybe not. I don't know. The story goes like this: I was at this gorgeous national park in New Zealand and had the day to myself so I thought, what great opportunity to hang out with God among His creation. So I did. And I was packing up my stuff to have a quiettime when I realized that my Bible wasn't in my purse like it was supposed to be. A long, clothes-flinging search ensued with no results. I sat there sobbing in my room for a goodfifteen minutes, devastated. In my mind, I was asking God why he would have taken it from me... if maybe there was some lesson involved here, or maybe someone who would find the Bible who needed it more than me? Or maybe I'm just really irresponsible and God had nothing to do with me losing my Bible (though as I write that out, just the idea that there's anything that God didn't have His hand in in any way just sounds wrong, you know?)

So, upset but still determined to have my time with Jesus, I went for a hike and found a secluded area and popped in my ipod for a Village sermon. Matt Chandler rambles on with an awesome message as always, but then he goes on this side tangent about demons. He throws out a CS Lewis quote that goes something like this: People make two mistakes when it comes to the demonic. The first is to pay too much attention to it (like getting a flat tire and blaming the devil rather than the nails that you just ran over), and the second is not believing in it at all. I realized as Chandler was throwing the quote out that this was the fourth unrelated sermon in a row that I had heard this exact quote thrown out. I had never paid too much attention to it because I didn't think I belonged in either camp. I mean, I know demons exist. But I certainly don't blame them for everything bad that happens to me. In fact, I don't think I've ever blamed them for a single thing in my life. And with that thought, I realized that maybe thinking of demons as inactive is maybe just as bad as not believing in them in the first place.

From there I thought back to my morning, where I discovered my Bible missing and immediately assumed God had done it, though why He would take my Bible is anyone's guess. But what if it wasn't God? What if I had a demon following me around? It sounds ridiculous, I know. Even now, I feel kind of silly about it and have no idea if that was actually the case. But as I was walking back to the place where I was staying, I went ahead and tried to cast out my hypothetical demon by telling it to leave me and never come back, in Jesus name. It was shaky and disjointed and probably wouldn't have quelled a demon into leaving me, so I did it a second ime with a little more confidence in my voice, but this time added that it should return my Bible to me first.

Well, I haven't gotten my Bible back yet. I'm in the process of contacting the bus tour that I'm on to see if anyone has found a stray Bible floating around one of their busses. I'm desperate to get it back and I don't know if I will. Please pray about that. And especially with this new fire that I've got going for God right now, I feel like I'm a junkie going around without my fix. I'll buy a new one if I have to; it's just that my old one has all my notes and musings in it and I can't even begin to imagine having to start all that over from scratch.

But, on a happier subject, God's been showing me some pretty cool stuff. Like, have you ever realized how awesome of a guy John the Baptist is? In Luke 7:28, Jesus says about John, "I tell you, among those born of women, there is no one greater than John." Did you read that? JESUS the SON OF GOD just pretty much said that John the Baptist was the greatest man who had ever lived. What would you have to do to get that kind of estimation of your life from Jesus? Obviously, John's been doing something right.

The other Biblical character who I will never think the same of is Jonah, of all people. Seriously, look up this sermon: Biola University Chapels "Thorny Bible Pasages: Why did God use Jonah? Kent Edwards". So, so good.


I'm so fed up with Jacinta. I mean, it started out as little things. She's extremely wasteful of food, she has no concept of budget, ect. Then it gradually became more. She kept ditching me so that she could go hang out with Matt. You know, initially this didn't even bother me that much. I'm not entirely un-understanding. I know that she mostly came over here to be with him and that I was just a side bonus. I know what it's like when you have a new love interest and all you want to do is hang around them. This last one really didn't even bother me all that much except for a couple times when she really went overboard with her obssession with seeing him while we were hanging out the two of us.

But then there was that whole deal where she finally let it spill about the guys that she's been hooking up with while she was originally talking to him, and all he heard was that she's not a virgin anymore and shut her down completely. And I was genuinely sad for her. But they still hang out, even if there's no romantic involvement anymore, and I'm still getting dumped left and right. In fact, it's even worse now because now she's on a mission to hang out with him as much as possible so that she can make him change his mind. So not only do I only see her either early in the mornings or really late at night, but even when we do get to hang out, all she can go on about is Matt and how unfair it all is and how she can't get him to change his mind... oh, and how unfair it all is. In the beginning especially, she kept saying that she just wanted to go home, that she had no reason to stay anymore. In my head I was screaming, What am I, chopped liver?!? but was just soothing and comforting on the outside.

And she's changed her flight now (again, beccause of him), but originally she was going to leave sooner. On her "last" day, she kept ditching for him again, even apologizing, but using the excuse that it was the last day that she was going to get to see him for so long because he lives in New Zealand. Again, loving and peaceful on the outside, that's me. But on the inside I was like, It's the last frickin day you're gonna see me too! And I live a 20 hour flight away rather than his measley 3 hours.

So far I've managed not to blow up at her. It's been close though. In fact, it came really close just a hour or so ago. She, for some reason, brought up America and started talking smack about how full of ourselves we were. Then she went on to throw down America as such slobs who suck up all the worlds resources and dominate everyone. Then it was a barage on our forefathers who were too picky to stand British rule and wasted a whole lot of other people's blood on a silly war. More screaming in my head: Learn your fucking history before you go trying argue it. Get a clue about what you're trying to say because you sound just like the ignorant youth you are.

I was so pissed. I'm still so pissed. I don't want to talk to her. I don't want to hang out with her. I'm going to do my absolute best to avoid her for the rest of the night.

I need Jesus time.


I just heard this mind-blowing sermon on the book of Jonah. I mean, I will never listen to that story the same again. The guy leading the sermon, Kent Edwards, started out talking about how God in the Old Testament is really good at firing the emloyees of His who deliberately disobey Him or who go a step too far, ect. He brings up the example of the sevant who tried to stop the Ark of the Covenant from falling to the ground by catching it with his bbare hands and was struck down dead instantly. Then he segways to Jonah, God's most loyal and obedient prophet in that day, who not only refused to do what God told him to, but also, in several places, outright tells God that he would rather die than do what God's commanded of him. And yet God keeps after him, keeps him alive, but quite literally forces Jonah into doing exactly what He wants of him. Even when Jonah finally gives into God and says, "Uncle; you win, I'll go to frickin' Ninevah," he still drags his feet the whole way and complains the whole time. And not once does he actually apoligize to God for his behavior.
Edwards keeps asking, "why on earth does God use Jonah? Surely there was someone, anyone else who would have been more willing, more obedient."

So Jonah finally makes it to Ninevah and prowls the streets yelling at everyone that in 40 days, God was going to bring down the city. That's literally all he said. The shortest, most brutal sermon in the history of short, brutal sermons, and also quite possibly the most effective. It says that the entire city turned, that the king himself stripped off his robes and donned sackcloth, fasting from food or drink.

You would think that this mass of success, that this coming of thousands of people to the Lord, would have made Jonah happy. But no. Jonah gets pissed at God again because God had compassion on the city and doesn't destroy them. Again, he laments to God that he wants to die (he's a little childish). I mean, what does a guy gotta do to get fired around here?

So then the pastor comes back to the original question of why God uses Jonah, and also answers the question of why Jonah was so against it in the first place. Turns out that when Jonah is first introduced to us all the way back in 2 Kings, God used him to try to get the Israelites to repent. When they didn't, God called called down judgement upon them in the form of the Assyrians. And what's the capitol of Assyria? That's right, Nineveh.

Which means that Jonah has already had quite close relations with the Ninevites, as he watched them slaughter, rape and pillage everyone that he knew. Which also means that the Ninevites recognized Jonah as the Israeli prophet from before, and the fact that it was him wh was bringing the message of repentance made him the very message of forgiveness. He was the embodiment of the message he carried. It's probably why there was such a strong positive reaction to the message as well.

And that's why God used Jonah. And that's why Jonah hated him for it. Heart-wrenching story. This sermon changed my hole perspective.


I'm ready to go home. Not back to Australia. I mean HOME. The part that sucks is that I really don't want to go back to Colorado. One afternoon of particularly cold weather and I'm dreading the thought of cold winters and digging cars put from under snow... all of it. I want to go to Arizona so badly. Just 2 years. That's all I'll need. And the best part of that is that by that time, Mandy will have graduated and I won't have to feel bad about leaving her to fend for herself at CSU again.

I don't think Many realizes just how big of a part she played into my decision to go to CSU instead of ASU. I mean, obviously ASU didn't end up working out anyway because of the tuition, but I had pretty much decided on Colorado even before I got the final verdict on the WUE.

Back to Mandy having graduated though, it's so weird to think that all the people I graduated high school with will be done with their degree approx. 2 years before me. I mean, it just doesn't feel like I'v missed that much. When I get to school and people ask me what year I am, do I tell them that I'm still technically a freshman? And then do I continue to explain that no, I'm not a newbie, just that I took a gap year?

So much explaining... I don't think I'm up to it. I think I would prefer that everyone just think I'm a freshman.


For a few months now, there's been this niggling thought... Gosh, I don't even want to write it down because it's so bad. The thought is that maybe God isn't as all-powerful as He likes us to believe. Even as I sit here typing this I'm cringing in my mind, mentally preparing to be struck by lightning at any second for daring to underestimate GOD.

Let me explain my reasoning though. There have been some Bible stories that I've read through (I couldn't find any specific examples right this second, but I'll update when I do) where it seems like God didn't know something and needed the humans to tell Him what's in their hearts or... I can't remember. I really wish I could remember the particular story that got me first thinking about this, but it was months ago and I haven't thought of it since because I'm just so terrified of offending God by thinking about this too hard. But anyway, I started to wonder, is God really as all-powerful as I've been taught all these years? And then that led to the question, Does the Bible actually say anything about God being omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent? Where?

Anyway, the thing that brought the question back up in my mind is actually Satan. I mean, Lucifer was God's top angel. We look at his decision to turn on God and think, Wow, that's so stupid. How on earth did he ever think he was going to win that battle? What an idiot. And look at him even now, still trying to trump God and using us humans to do it.

Only it doesn't make sense. Satan was a lot of things. Arrogant and conceited, definitely. But not stupid. You don't get to be God's top angel by being stupid. So then why would he think that he could win a battle for the universe against God? Look at Hitler. He was evil, outright. But again, not stupid. In fact, he came a lot closer to his goal than any of us would like to admit.

Lucifer obviously must have thought that he had some kind of advantage over God, some way that He could win. But if God is even half as all-powerful as I've been taught, then it just doesn't make sense. I feel like I'm missing a huge chunck of this story, and I can't figure out where the gap is.

I'm just so confused...


I messed up. Again.

But it's really a rather long story, so let me start at the beginning. I was frustrated with God again. Actually, not so much with God as just frustrated in general. About my status as a forced celibate, I mean. This is super embarrassing to put down in any kind of form where someone else may read it, but I tried to masturbate. And it just couldn't happen. My body doesn't work. So I started praying about it and somewhere in there, I made a pact with God. You see, I know that I'm not totally broken. Mostly because of Alan from Cairns. There's hope for me.

I think (or at least hope) that part of the problem is my complete lack of emotional attachment for any/all these guys that I've been making out with. Maybe that's what I need to spark the proverbial engine. But if I'm counting on that to mak the difference in any future relationships that I might have, then of course Murphy's Law will snake its way into things and I'll be doone for. It's always when you expect things that they never happen. Also, life just isn't that convenient.

Anyway, back to my bargain. I told God that I would quit with this ridiculous research that I had started in the hope of figuring out which type of men I "feel" for, if you get my meaning. I would go back to my two-shoes ways, stop messing around, and save myself for the eventual possibility of getting married. In short, I would play by His rules. I return, I demanded (and I really was very demanding in the way that I phrased this to Him in my prayer. Feeling a little sheepish about that) that, in the event that I do actually get married, He had to fix me. I refuse to be that girl who doesn't like sex, and therefore doesn't give it to her husband, and then ends up having him end the marriage prematurely. I've comforted myself with the fact that there's got to be some kind of drug I can take, the female version of viagra, if necessary. But I would really just rather if God did a little hormone fiddling Himself and saved me the trouble.

So, bargain made, I continue on my way. Two days later, I decide it's a great idea to go out for Friday night and dance at the bar downstairs from the hostel. Actually, that phrasing makes me sound way more innocent than I was. It was one in the morning and I was angry again and was ready to go down and find someone attractive to make out with. I think a part of me thought I was just all bark and no bite. I don't know. Anyway, I sure as heck won't go into details, but I ended up almost going to bed with another guy from the hostel. Not even an attractive one. And the only reason I say almost is not because I came to my senses at the last second, but more that as he tried to get in, I discovered that sex the fourth time around is still just as painful as it was the first time around and I wasn't willing to bite back the graons of pain for this guy. I think it helped that I was entirely sober. So I stopped him, apologized and left. It was a lot of a longer and more embarrassing process than that, but you get the idea.

It was about halfway through my apology that I realized what I had done. I had broken my bargain with God. I had just traded my potentially successful future marriage for an ugly guy and a really painful experience. Instead of going straight back to my room, I spent a good hour walking around the city at 3am, choking back and then finally just letting loose viscious sobs.

A really large part of me is hoping that things will turn out okay anyway. I mean, God does have a history of keeping promises that He's made, even as we continually let Him down. I don't know if my deciding that we've struck a bargain when technically he never agreed to it counts that same as Him making a promise, but this is how I comfort myself. Then there's another part of me that's still convinced I'll never get married, so it won't even be an issue.

But don't feel too bad for me just yet, this long story does actually have a happy ending (well, at least I'm happy with it for now). I went to church on Sunday and there was a guest preacher at the podium (not Tim Hall, thank you God. Though ironically, I saw that he's going to be a guest speaker in a couple weeks. Too bad I'm gonna be in New Zealand. No really, I'm devastated), and he was really good. His talk mostly focussed on the idea that we should be content with where we are, because God has us there for a reason. But he went off on a side note to tell a story about a time when he had been offered a position with a certain ministry and he was fretting over the decision, convinced that making the wrong one would throw off God's entire plan for his life. So he's pacing and praying when God stops him and says, Dude, you are giving yourself WAY too much credit. You really think that some puny decision that YOU make is going to have any effect whatsoever on MY plan for you? I love you, but you are just not that big.

And I thought about that, then thought back over my previous week, and this huge wave of relief just washed through me. Why am I freaking out about things in my future? God's plan for my life is already in place, and nothing I can say or do would ever be strong enough to mess that up or throw it off track.

Whoever know that having no control over your life could be so reassuring?


This is the end of a really sad story. But don't feel bad for me. I started out alone and in the end that's where I'll be.

Really, this is just me having a pity party for myself. I don't evven know why. Actually, I do. It's because everyone is in the other room skyping with the missing sister who is over with her husband and two kids in Nepal. I think I spelled that wrong. Anyway, really what i'm saying is that I just really miss my family really bad (see how many times I managed to fit "really" into that sentence?). I don't even think it would be so much of aan issue if I hadn't agreed to come out to this farm with Sarah and has family. Everywhere I turn, I get reminders of Grandma's farm, which is where I should be this time of year to celebrate the holidays. Nobody bakes cookies here, or any hot food at all, actually. It's all salads and biscotti and fruit. Like, what kind of Christmas is that?

I shouldn't be complaining at all. Sarah's family is really very lovely and they've all been so welcoming to me. I'm really grateful to be here, but at the same time I almost regret it. If I hadn't agreed to come to the farm for a few days then I would have been able to pass the holidays without really noticing. I could have shoved in the back of my mind, opened my little present, eaten some Mexican, and then gone about my regular routine none the wiser.

Gosh, I just want to go home.