Tag Archives: God

The Year

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I’ve been writing this blog for a long time now. Several years of my life have been documented in the 70 some posts that are Meet Me in Thessaloniki. In the last year or so, I have found myself in a difficult moment of life. Most of my dear Facebook friends will quickly tell you they are annoyed with the mass amount of ‘all things Greece’ dumped onto their newsfeed from yours truly. 

You see this year was supposed to be thee year. The year I have been waiting for since 2009. The one I dreamed about, envisioned over and over. And now it’s gone. Poof. It only exists in what one day will likely end in a movie script that I will indeed try to sell as a turning of age story of a girl looking to be loved in the way she can love. (Just for the record- it wins a few Oscars). The lovely heroine would of course be played by Jennifer Lawrence, because who doesn’t love her? and obviously she and I are dead ringers for each other (insert sarcasm and a genuine mix of all seriousness). 

2014 is the year I was convinced that I would move back to Greece. Since 2009 I said I would live in Thessaloniki again, I would come back for good one day, and I thought that would be in 2014. I had an interview with the school I attended while in Greece. I was a shoe-in. Or at least I thought I was. 

For the record, dear readers, or random bored human out there reading this because they liked the colorful design and my snarky attitude about J-Law- I am not an over-confident person. When I say I was a shoe-in, I genuinely mean it. I was over-qualified for this job. My heart was prepared for it. I was prepared for it. I did all but pack my bags 6 months early, and it’s a good thing I didn’t. 

God had other plans. That’s one thing that’s changed drastically since I first started writing Meet Me. I so questioned my faith back then, I was in search of something bigger, and I looked in a lot of wrong places for it. Not now. I can look in my heart for the biggest thing- God. 

For anyone who has read this blog, they know that I fell in love when in Greece, with a man named Kosta. He was everything to me. I saw him every time I went back to Thessaloniki. I would lose time over him repeatedly because I was so in love. And then he had a girlfriend. A girlfriend he cheated on, with me. I am not proud of that, especially now, when I try to set an example for the young women in my life that I lead. 

But I would justify it, I would continue to pursue my heart because he was my true love. He was mine! Or at least the invisible stamp that I had all over him said so. But as I told him the news that I could be moving back home to Greece after these five years away the words, “I’ll be married next year,” just rolled from his lips. It was a dagger. 

Had I not known better I thought I was just stabbed. How could he? How could he replace me? It was a flash. Everything after that moment. His face flushed with regret, tears. I congratulated him. What more can a girl do? Apart from call up her best friend after ending the skype call and ask her to take the bitch out. Which I did do. Immediately after getting off this call, I was plotting how to get him back. Thinking about ways we’d be together again.

And then it happened. Three days later I got the news from Greece. ‘It was a very difficult decision this year, as there were many outstanding candidates’. Another dagger. I knew what had happened. Oh and was I pissed?! God did this. God did this because I wouldn’t do it for myself. Had I gotten that job in Thessaloniki, there is no question in my mind that I would have broken up Kosta’s marriage. It would not have been a matter of if, but when. 

That is the most disgusting and ugly thing about me today. I’m pretty sure of that. I was more willing to fight for him than search for a man who would never put himself in a position to cheat. God did this. God protected me from my sin and from myself. God gave me an opportunity to be better. I’m going to take it. 

In the last several weeks, God has been doing crazy shit. Sorry for the cursing- but it’s legit. Crazy. He is uncovering things in me that I haven’t felt in years, if ever. He is putting things in place in me as his child that I didn’t think I was good enough to be part of. 

I always thought I wasn’t a real Christian because I was never able to experience things the way other Christians were in my life. It’s funny how amazing hurt can be for a child of God. If you look really carefully at the dirt of your soul and examine why you put it there, you might better understand why God loves you. And that’s just it. That’s what I realized in these last couple of months. In January and February, there were a lot of days I thought I was going to die. I was so scared, so depressed, so hurt by things around me and I just felt like I was drowning. And then God would do something and show me bigger things. 

For the first time ever, I could see my life from an outside perspective. I was like a third person to myself. I looked on my situation with a broken heart and just wanted to fix myself. For the first time I have been unapologetic about my faith. And it has reaped dividends. Friends of mine, one of my best friends accepted Jesus into her life. I have had more God talks with people in the last two months than I have in the last eight years. 

There’s a saying that sometimes God closes a door to open a window. In my situation, God slammed the door and I am so grateful. He saved me from what I know would be more hurt, more disappointment and just another let down. God is preparing me for far greater things. I am charged and ready to be that person. 

Greece will forever be in my heart, and probably a piece of me will always love Kostas. But my heart is not about to be put in a position to be broken in Thessaloniki again. There will be a day when someone meets me with a heart that is capable of loving me, the right way. Maybe that will be in Thessaloniki…or maybe somewhere else…the year and all those to follow, is still young.

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Is that you, God?

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I find myself going through this very bipolar stage in my life. Some days I am in love with what I’m doing, the people I’m around and where I’m going next. Then the following day, I ask myself why I’m still here. 

It’s very difficult to explain to others, and even to myself, why I am this way. I honestly think it stems from my need to travel. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t feel as though I shouldn’t be in this country. My soul itches to explore what’s around me, connect with others and share stories.  My desire to write and experience goes far beyond my desire for a steady paycheck. My desire to see the world and make it my home goes beyond my desire for a long-term relationship. 

I want to fall in love with the world. I want someone to love me like I love the world. But the one thing about that is you have to get into the world. Here is where my issue lies. I don’t know what the eff I want to do next.

I could stay in Iowa for another year or two (yawn), save up some more money like a responsible adult would do. I could move abroad for grad school, and finally go through with it (third time’s the charm, right?), I could move abroad for a fellowship in Greece, I could move abroad to Prague, I could volunteer abroad, I could go teach english abroad. I could sell everything I own and never come back. I could become a llama farmer (though probs not, considering they sorta scare me). 

My beautiful life is full of a lot of options, which I now embrace. However, one of my biggest fears is that I will make a choice and then hate what I’m doing. Where do I need to go (that’s a question for you God) to feel like I’m in the right place? 

It’s ironic and interesting and frustrating as all get out, cause I’m like 96% positive God lead me to be in CF this year, and yet every other day I question if this is where I should be. I am messing up in life, I feel sort of helpless at times, I’m having lots of health issues, I feel like my small group hates me sometimes, etc. And yet, I can’t help but feel like God said- “Go there” and I went!

Is this Satan doing this? Making me question my life? Or is it just the crazy chick that’s insecure and who desperately wants to go abroad again? Or is it both? Cause I honestly think the devil is a lot easier to hear. Ugh. I’m seeking out the sound of God’s voice. I don’t usually hear it. I see his action in my life- putting things in place. But to hear his will- yea… I’m not a very good listener. I was just about to say if only God… 

That’s super ironic. I was just reading this morning about Lazarus being risen from the dead. And how frustrated Jesus was with Mary and Martha when they were like, “well if Jesus had come when we asked him, Laz wouldn’t be dead right now.” It was something Jesus did to glorify God. And I was juuuuust about ready to say if only God could uncover his will for me. Ha. He can, he did. He does. I’m just the goof that’s not paying attention. God is doing things in my life that I am too oblivious to pump the brakes and say- I see what you did there. 

Shoot. I really need to work on my God skills. Listening, patience, unselfish love. I need to be more faithful and know what goes on in my little head is just a fraction of what God is setting into place for me. That scares the crap out of me. Because I obviously bit off too much this year in taking these steps. And yet, here I am. Waiting. Figuring out what’s next. I guess that’s why people always say, God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called. 

 

 

a different love

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Good evening world. It’s been since November that I last wrote. I think my heart needed to reflect on life before writing again. For me, taking to the page or keyboard needs to be organic. And there are moments each day when I feel the need and desire to write, but the inconvenience sets in. Tonight is the first time where convenience and desire have intersected in a very long time. 

My life has taken a drastic change in recent months. It’s interesting for me to look back to just two posts ago to believe, obey, persist. I talked about my life and my opportunities in terror. Today I face those same obstacles, more opportunities and this time I am running in the best direction with them. 

Let me break it down. Since the last time I wrote here I: 

  • Celebrated a new year
  • Celebrated my 24th birthday
  • Broke up with my boyfriend of over a year
  • Got into grad school
  • Quit my job
  • Got offered another job
  • Confused the shit out of myself and everyone around me
  • Reconnected with who very well could be the love of my life

Okay, so now that you’re all caught up, let me break it down even further. Over the last several months I have been contemplating relationships (as per usual) and their meaning. Love is far more complex than life really lends you to believe. I recognized after breaking up with my ex, that love sometimes just isn’t enough. Love is the foundation to a relationship, love is the mortar, but all the extras are the bricks. Without the bricks, you can’t build a solid foundation to a relationship. This was the problem with my last relationship. We had a whole lot of love. Strong love, but we lacked the bricks. Bricks like common goals, views on God, education, etc. While love will hold you together for a while, when it comes to setting the foundation for a life together, the bricks are what become increasingly important. 

Since my time in Greece in 2009, God has shown me a variety of things. Love, loss, confusion, hurt. All of it. God also showed me a different kind of love I never knew in 2009. He put a man named Kosta into my life. Now if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know our story. This blog started with our story. When I began my first post here, I was writing in preparation for seeing Kosta again for the first time early 2010. Today, I write about him again, in 2013. 

When I last wrote about Kosta and I’s relationship, I had closed the door to that chapter. He was with another girl, he was happy, and he planned to marry her. How so much can change in two short years. In the time between last seeing or speaking to Kosta- I met a man I fell deeply in love with, I graduated from college, I moved out of state, I moved back to Iowa, I got my first real job, I got into grad school, I quit my job, etc. etc. Two days ago, the last thing on my mind was Kostas. 

He was a distant memory I could look back on fondly. But the last thing I knew was he wanted to marry another girl. For all I knew he was married. Until the magic of the internet came alive. A simple message came through. It was him. After two years of silence. Him. Suddenly it all floods back. The smiles, the jokes, the embraces, the kisses. I remember it all. And it intensifies. 

I look at the quote from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind above and think of Kostas. Apart from special holidays and his birthday, which happens to be the day after mine, I had all but erased him from my mind. My thoughts were on me and my future. Not him. But he was still in my heart. It took all but a few words to remind me why. 

I have loved several men in my life. All differently, all in different ways. Some were immature, others deep, some passionate and intense. Each love brought me something different. But the way I loved Kosta is unique in its own. I never realized it until two days ago. He explained it well. I asked after all this time if he still loved me. His response was, “I will always. You are a different love.” Kosta is the type of love that you can’t erase. He is the love that you ache over. 

It’s amazing to look back at little things over the years and thousands of miles apart. We can go silent for weeks, months and years, and still pick up life as it were the day I left Thessaloniki. Though he is in Greece, and I am here, the bricks are in place. He is the kind of love that I would knock down my life and rebuild with him for.  I don’t know what God has planned for my life. If anything, the last several months are a testimony to how God can change a life so quickly. I can’t help but believe that God wants me in Kosta’s life again. Or he needs to be in mine. 

Our love is something that transcends distance and time. It’s something that with God, could do big things. A life changed like that is worth it to risk. My heart is open to what God is moving me to do. It’s open to interpreting why Kostas was brought back into my life. It’s open to the memories and the rush of emotion that comes to remembering our time together. A walk along the docks. A passionate kiss. Tears and sheets and turkey for Thanksgiving. All of the memories rush back in.

My heart could never erase the love I have for Kostas. He is an extraordinary love. A different love.

running the race

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I haven’t done this in a long time, but I’m going to do it again. I’m going to preach. I went to church today at 12 Stone Church in Lawrenceville, GA. I love this church. Today began with worship and two baptisms of men in their 40-50’s. My heart swelled for them.

As some of you may know, and others no clue, I have several friends in the Olympic Trials this week. One of my best friends, Norris Frederick, is one of those people. In the past he’s been a high jumper, but now he focuses on long jump. Tonight he jumps in the finals to make the Olympic team.

Okay, you’re probably wondering where this is all going. I went to church this morning and my friend is jumping for London. Is there a disconnect?? No. I was in church this morning, where they’re in a series called- It’s a Guy Thing. Lord have mercy on my soul already. What does preaching about men have anything to do with little old me? Well actually, a lot. Last week the message was about father’s and how important a role they play, and God as our one true father play in our lives. Today we talked about going one more round.

Specifically, we spoke on Samson and David. For those of you less entertained by the bible, Samson’s the dude who fell in love with Delihla, who then betrayed him and cut off all his hair. The same Samson that Regina Spektor’s song is about. Well Samson gave up. David, as in David and Goliath- who’s also King David- did not. David faced some crap back in the day. Instead of throwing in the towel though, David got up and went one more round.

There’s this quote by James Corbett- a famous boxer, who at one point in his life fought in one of the longest boxing matches of all time. 61 rounds. about 4 and a half hours long. And he, the champion, said this, “You become a champion by fighting one more round. When things get toughest, you fight one more round.” Cool, huh?

So here’s the difference. Samson fought alone, while David had people in his corner. Samson lives by reflex, while David lived by reflection. Samson was a roamer, while David put down roots.

Kay, that’s all peachy and wonderful but what does that have to do with Norris and the Olympics. Ooooh, everything my friends. You see, in the past few weeks Norris and I have been discussing his faith and his journey with God to carry him in this time of his life. Norris has been challenged with adversity throughout his life and still overcome it all. In large wonderful part, thanks to God.

Here’s the cool thing that came to me this morning. Norris is like David. Norris has people in his corner. A LOT of people. In a little bit, I’ll talk about these people as witnesses. Norris has taken the time in the corner- matter of speaking- to reflect on his journey, on his path with God and where he wants him to go in the future. Finally Norris has put down solid solid roots. Seattle is so much of Norris and his roots, family and friends are all there.

You see, going again with the boxing metaphor, when you go back to your corner after every round; after facing sin, defeat, your burdens and fears; you go back to your corner and reflect. Prayer is that same time. Prayer is when you sit in your corner and analyze. When you give to God and let him fight for you. When ding ding! The bell starts all over again and God covers you.

For Norris, this is the greatest part. In the days leading up to him going to Trials we’ve been discussing giving everything to God. We’ve been talking about giving God the glory of every aspect of his life, his jumps, his training and all. And this was the scripture today…

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (your friends, family and supporters), let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” -Hebrews 12:1-3

Pretty much quintescential to Norris and what he faces today. But here’s the cool thing. This doesn’t just apply to Norris and his cool life of potentially jumping as an Olympic athlete in London. It applies to you and me too. If you’re questioning if you should throw in the towel, whether it’s to give up on God, work, family, relationships, even on your life- this lesson- this passage- asks you to go one more round. Jesus Christ endured the cross for you and for me so that we may endure the joys and pains of life here on earth before eternity in heaven. Kind of a great burden to bear, if you ask me. God has trusted you with the life you lead. He has given you the opportunity to do with your life great and powerful things. Take them, don’t run scared, don’t fear the challenges God has given you. Face them. Give God the glory of carrying you through them, above them, and past them.

Don’t throw in the towel when the worst is at your feet. Give the worst to God and he’ll take it from there. Trust that he can carry your baggage, cause he knows you sure can’t. Give it to God.