Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Misfit Returns

So I’ve sort of had a blog fast for a while. My bad. But honestly, it has done me some good. Quite a lot has happened while I’ve been away. Here’s a quick recap before we get too serious. :)
(1) Dropped my phone in my coffee cup. Dead. Got old phone reactivated.
(2) Almost got eaten by a camel. Will post picture later.
(3) Spilled coffee in my white purse. Now borrowing roommates until I can afford another something to carry my wallet…and 135000 other unnecessary things.
(4) Watched a lot of bad performances on American Idol, and some even worse group singing. Very happy they are in the top 12 now. (Or however many there are left.)
(5) Saw Carrie Underwood at Walgreens last Wednesday night. So random. Yes, she really is that pretty. Hate her. (Ok I don’t.)
(6) Remembered my love of banana flavored things. Weird.
(7) Bought a card at Hallmark for my husband-to-be. No, I’m not engaged, dating anyone, or even close to any of those things. That makes the 3rd card I have bought him. Yep, I have a ‘him’ box.
(8) Almost bought a Dora the Explorer coloring book. For myself.
(9) Gotten reacquainted with my Pilates DVDs. Sort of.

(Sorry I can’t think of a 10th.)

Ever go through those seasons where you fee like so much is being thrown at you and you only have so many arms to play catch? I don’t mean experiencing multiple tragedies or being kicked when you’re already down. (Although we’ve all been there, done that, and don’t wish to repeat.) I just mean…lessons, enlightenment, realizations, the rebirth of gratitude, being stretched, understanding…PEACE. Lately I’ve been in one such season. Most days that I sit down to write a post, I don’t do it all at one time. I’ll write some, go do something, come back and read through what I wrote, maybe add a little more…you get the idea. But with everything I’ve been taking in recently, I’ve found it hard to even complete a thought. (Then when I do, Blogger erases it and it takes me 2 more weeks to post. Grrr.) Every time I get a part of something down, I decide to write about something else instead. (Clearly this is a masterpiece already…oh geeze.)

When I was in college a girl friend of mine and I would have coffee dates often just to talk about life and be REAL for a bit. It’s funny you think people get out of all that silly trying-to-be-someone-you’re-not stuff after high school, and you go on with life and there it still is. This friend and I had a way of keeping one another on the ground and intentionally dealing with and talking through issues that we had. One time in particular she looked at me and said,

“Abby, do you feel like you fit in here?...
(Long pause…me trying to figure out if she was about to break the news to me that I didn’t because I was weird or something…)
….Cause I don’t feel like I do.”

And something about the look on her face made me know exactly what she meant without her saying another word.

“I know what you mean…and I don’t either.”

That was the first time that with the words of both our hearts, we sort of understood that Christian phrase often used, “we were not made for here.” I never really got what that meant when I was younger. I knew that I was going to live in heaven one day, but I couldn’t really grasp the idea around the rest of it.

I’m starting to get it. We were not made for here. Not for the violence, the hatred…the sin, the shame, the guilt…the crimes, the murders, the stealing…the sadness, the separation, the darkness...We were not made for here. Something that I have been blown away by these last 8 months is the GOODNESS of God’s character. God is good. Not just God acts good, or God does good…He IS goodness. He IS love. The very definition of. For a lot of people, their current circumstance tends to determine the beauty and attractiveness of their character in another’s eyes. (I mean, we all have our days.) But His character is always good…and constantly better as we grow deeper and learn to perceive Him in new ways and through an experienced, more seasoned eye.

Simple as it is, one of my most favorite things I’ve ever heard said is, “God isn’t just a big us.” He’s not just some over-sized human sitting up there playing boss. He isn’t messed up. He doesn’t have a dark side, and He is not out to get us. We were meant to live in perfection with Christ. And things took an ugly turn a while back right around a certain apple-producing tree. We were not created with the intention of being manipulated and tortured by life, though that is the reality that much of the world finds itself in now—a place we’ve all felt on certain days. A few such instances have really hit home to me here recently.

The first was the death of Eve Carson, the student body president at UNC-Chapel Hill, where I graduated from last May. Eve’s car was hijacked, and she was shot multiple times; her lifeless body left on the side of the road to die. Innocence stolen from the very ground I walked on for 4 years. That could have been me. Why, is the only word that comes to mind in situations like that. Why did those men need that car so bad to have to steal it from a girl who had a lifetime of plans ahead of her. And even if they took the car, why did they have to kill her? What harm was she to their world?

The second story that would have knocked me to the ground had I not already been sitting when my roommate told me, was that of a young 20-something girl who attends Belmont University. Not two weeks ago, this young woman received a phone call that would change her life forever. There was a fire in her house back home and everything she owned is now a pile of ashes. All that is hers is what is with her at school. And what is worse…the second part of that conversation where she found out that her parents were home at the time of the fire, and they didn’t make it out. Thankfully her younger sister, about to finish her senior year of high school, wasn’t home at the time. But can you imagine that phone call? Just gone to a friends house, and the next thing you know literally all you have in the world are the clothes on your back.

There are countless others. People who are killed by cancer, and other diseases. Children orphaned by their parents choice. Drug and alcohol addictions that twist and shred minds and bodies daily. Kidnappings. Thieves. Child abusers. And a multitude of other horrible, unimaginable things happening to people all over the world. Everything can be fine, and then like a really bad magician, the table cloth gets pulled out from under you and everything in your world appears shattered.

How in the world do we get up in the morning? Because of this weekend. Because of today. Because the one thing that could have separated us from a loved one for eternity was conquered by Jesus Christ. “The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” (Matthew 28:6) Sin has lost its power. Death has lost its sting. We grieve lost ones, as we absolutely should. But we grieve with hope, because we know their story isn’t over.
HE. IS. ALIVE. And He is coming back for us. That truth has never been made more real to me than in the last few weeks. Those days when I struggle to understand the foreign images of violence and hatred around me, it is nearly all I cling to stay afloat. I am daily learning to embrace my “misfit” feelings and allow them to serve as a constant reminder of my purpose on this earth. Ultimately, our citizenship is in heaven, and I can not wait to get there. But we are also called right here, right NOW—to live in the world, but not be a product of it. You are His, and not a thing in this world can keep you from Him, except yourself. This is only the beginning. We’ve an eternity of praise ahead of us, and I have found that in the moments I am struggling most, if I’ve the strength to raise my eyes and gaze at His…love has never looked more beautiful.

I’ll leave you with the lyrics to a song by one of my most favorite artist, inspired by part of a C.S. Lewis quote. Keep clinging to Him…and hope you’re having a marvelous Easter. :)

“The C.S. Lewis Song” (Brooke Fraser)
If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy
I can only conclude that I was not made for here
If the flesh that I fight is at best only light and momentary
then of course I'll feel nude when to where I'm destined I'm compared

Speak to me in the light of the dawn
Mercy comes with the morning
I will sigh and with all creation groan
As I wait for Hope to come for me

Am I lost or just less found on the straight or on the roundabout of the wrong way
Is this a soul that stirs in me, is it breaking free, wanting to come alive?
Cause my comfort would prefer for me to be numb
And avoid the impending birth of who I was born to become

Speak to me in the light of the dawn
Mercy comes with the morning
I will sigh and with all creation groan
As I wait for Hope to come for me

We are not long here
Our time is but a breath, so we better breathe it
And I was made to live, I was made to love, I was made to know you

Hope is coming for me
Hope, He's coming...


Leigh said...

I Am sooooo glad you are back. I have missed you and your well worded post. Even more so after reading this one. It left me in tears, for the truth in it is clear. As clear as the blood he shed for us, for each one of us. For a promise to be made and kept, if we beleive. Abbey, I couldn't have said it better myself, you have the gift of word.
Thank you for that post.
SOOOO glad your back! Did I mentin that. Dont be a stranger.

PS, Carrie underwood is gorgeous! And even at Walgreens that is cool.
Glad to hear you got a phone.

BethAnne said...

Girl!!!!! I have missed you!!! I am sick of clicking on your blog and seeing "FAlse Alarm"!!!

First of all, I am so with you on hating (in the most Godly way ;-) Carrie Underwood, but how cool that you saw her in Walgreens!!!! That is Awesome!!!!! I was in Nashville all week last week - why didnt I think to try to get in touch with you before I went? Next time, sister, we are totally getting together over some Starbucks (that is if you dont mind a couple of little boys tagging along). We will be there again in about 8 months I suspect - hubs works for the state of TN.

As for this not being our home....Praise God that it isnt!!!! I couldnt stand to think that there wasnt Jesus waiting for us and wanting us to be with Him. What about people who think this world is all there is? I cannot imagine! Makes me want shake atheists and knock some sense into them. And the good news is that we are outta here really soon! Check this out

If that doesnt give you hope for today nothing will!

I am glad you are back - dont be a stranger! (and dont make me look at 'The Misfit Returns" for a month either ;-) hahahahahhaha

BethAnne said...

I forgot to ask -----Did you speak to your new BFF Carrie or did you act cool and pretend she was not a huge star?

Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

Abby, thank you for being so real. And for writing such a long post. Love it!

Angela said...

thanks for, love the song!

Fran said...

Oh Abby...
I know exactly what you are saying.
Sometimes its just hard...but, I realize that when its hard its because I've become too much "into the world." When we simply see Him and stay so near to can all be an easy process. Unfortunately we can fall off that glorious path more than we are on it.

You have just inspired me sweet friend. I miss ya...but, I know you aren't gone forever. :)

Much love...thanking God for you!

Katie said...

Hey Abby! I love this post, you are so real in your writing, keep 'em coming girl! I'm glad your back! Happy belated Easter:)

connorcolesmom said...

Oh you have been missed!!
I love this post - you are so right that we really should be thankful that we are not of this world. WE can endure b/c we know WHO our Saviour is and He is coming for us!!
Love ya,

Lindsee said...

I love that you have bought cards for your future husband. I have too. I don't think I've ever told anybody, though. Probably because I don't know anybody else that's done it. ;) We are more alike than I think we know, Miss Abby!

Good post, sweet sister. I absolutely cannot wait to hug your neck! HE shines through you!

Love, love!


Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

ABEY!!!!!!! I'm so glad you are back! I've missed you....

This C.S.Lewis quote is my favorite quotes of all time.....How about posting some music to go with those lyrics????

love you girl

Pastor Lisa said...

Beautiful post...

jennyhope said...

Abby, I just love you and this whole post. Girl it spoke to me so much. When I get up enough gas money to come to Nashville I am so coming to hug your neck.
I have missed you girl!
Also, did Carrie have body guards? Just curious. I know TC saw her at Hobby Lobby to.

lululambrocker said...

Hi! I came upon your blog through Beth Moore's site. I must say, I can totally relate to your college coffee dates with that friend. Some of my closest friends and I have often had this same conversation! Your post was very beautifully worded. I hope you had a lovely Easter!

Taylor said...

hi Abby,

i can relate to this season you are in...I too have never seen, as much as this present time, that I really am 'on my way,' 'just passing through' to Heaven. i cant really find the words at the moment, but i know what you mean, girl. life is life, but one day...we will actually see Jesus. Face to face. Keep gazing up.


CrownLaidDown said...

And the young shall lead the old...mmm hmmm. Good thoughts, Abby.

Be blessed today with many blessings!

Jules said...

Hi. Jules here. Found your blog through a friend's blog. I really enjoy reading yours. You have a great way with words and write well. You said, "(7) Bought a card at Hallmark for my husband-to-be. No, I’m not engaged, dating anyone, or even close to any of those things. That makes the 3rd card I have bought him. Yep, I have a ‘him’ box." I did that too! And now I am happily married to the most wonderful man in my world and I've only given him one of the few cards that I bought when we had only be dating a couple of months. We dated for a year and half before we got married, but I knew he was the one when God whispered in my ear after dating him for only 2-3 months. I still have a little box of cards that I bought long before I knew him and when I had only known a few months. I always wondered if I was the only one who did that. :o) Now I know.