Love.

It was only a week and a half ago. I didn’t expect God to answer in the way that He did, nor would I have wanted Him to, but He did, and for that, I am extremely grateful.

Friday, June 15th, I didn’t want to go to work. It had been a rough week, and I was lacking the normal cheer I exuded while waitressing. And so, as I sat on the sea-themed old couch that used to be my grandmothers, I bowed my head and clasped my hands together. I spoke to God earnestly, asking Him to pour His love into me; I felt my well was dry. I knew I couldn’t make it through the day without the strength of the Spirit, and so I pleaded for God to take me over. I can’t say my prayer was particularly different, or the way I came before the throne was special, because I feel like I had prayed that prayer before. But I was earnest, because I felt (and feel) that without truth in life, there is nothing. 

Shortly after, it all started to happen. My eyes weren’t immediately opened, as some find after a deep commune with God, but He was working in my life. God was revealing to me that love can take on many forms, something so easy for me to forget.

Love is waiting. It is waiting when I don’t want to wait anymore, when I am impatient, anxious, and ready for change. It is waiting because I know that it is not only for my good, for another’s good, or because the Bible says so, but also because it brings glory to His name.

Love is fierce. It can really hurt, a lot. It can be as painful as loneliness and paper cuts when God breaks down the walls you’ve been building, shatters the worldly foundation you’d begun to form. It is relentless, conquering, and worthwhile.

Love is trusting. It is knowing the persecution of oneself is not a reason for revenge, but an opportunity for grace. It is allowing God to have the upper hand, and submitting to His Masterful plan. 

Love is seeing. It is looking at each person as loved by God, one that has an eternal life, somewhere. 

Love isn’t always fun, and often doesn’t come with a box of chocolates, but it is enriching, worthwhile, and our mission.

 

 

Updates &stuff…

God has blessed me richly and abundantly. As I survey my life, I am not only mesmerized by the astounding qualities of God, and the love He allows me to partake in, but also the blessings bestowed upon me on earth. While my failings are many, His grace abounds. Some days, I truly do not understand why He allows a lowly servant like me to be in His favor. I am beyond unworthy. This has been my meditation lately.

~*~

The blessings of God have taken many forms for me. I feel that I’ve done a lot of growing since last summer and I can’t exactly explain how. I guess the best way to put it is that I’ve learned to cherish the unquantifiable things in life. Love, time, knowledge: all these things have so much more attention in my life than ever before. I’ve spent so much of my time focusing on attaining money, or great grades, but those things are so fleeting. Someone can have a flawless GPA and still not get a job; it’s often about connections. You can have all the money in the world, but you cannot buy genuine love. While both good grades and money are important, they do not hold the reins of my life.

This summer has been filled with odds and ends:

I’ve taken to reading classics and digging into their meaning. What has the author addressed through each character, and what does it say to the reader? How has the world view changed? It is good to read a book, but digesting it is equally important.

Mom was away in Denmark for nearly two weeks, a long-time dream of hers. So, my sister and I ran the house while she was gone. It was nice to appreciate Mom in a new light. She’s left us before to visit her parents, but never for so long. Man, I cannot tell you my amazement that she hasn’t exploded on us all for dirtying new dishes when she JUST finished washing the ones from a meal, or not taking our folded laundry out of the bin, or me losing my car keys for the 243983x time. The mother-type is amazing.

Additionally, there’s the new developments in Zac and my relationship. As he pursues another job and finishing his Criminal Justice degree, we look with uncertainty as to what the future might hold. An engagement, for sure, but the logistics are pushed into a closet, to be opened later. He now has his own apartment 20 minutes from my house and we’re a “normal” couple for the first time since October of 2012. I assure you, folks, the emphasis on normality is overrated. That being said, it’s nice to no longer be a LDR (long distance relationship) couple. However…

I’ve applied to study abroad in the Spring of 2015! If I am selected, I will be venturing to either Iceland, Scotland, England, or New Zealand! The possibility excites me, although I’m trying to not get my hopes up; I will not find out the results until late October. The only downside to an acceptance is that Zac and I will once again be LDR, for the third and (hopefully) final time. I would be gone from January to early June, with no trips home. While the prospect of visiting somewhere I’ve dreamed of excites me, I also have extreme anxiety about it. I’m praying that God will grant me peace as He prepares the way in which I am to walk.

Last, I have begun a project that’s been on my mind since I was about 13: a book. Originally, I was going to write a story that I’ve been told has an incredible plot. However, after much deliberation, I decided that I am not quite ready for that much commitment. Instead, I’m working on a compilation of short stories. Hopefully, I will be posting the first one soon.

So, that’s all for now. Sorry for the short, choppy paragraphs. It’s late and I’m rather brain dead. I just figured that since I hadn’t posted in a while, I should update everyone.

Much love,

-Paige

 

Transitions

I remember when my sister went away to college, my mom told her an important piece of advice: “Few times in life do you get the chance to start over. This is one of them; take advantage of it”. Four years flew by, and soon it was my turn to depart. I was beyond eager, and I recalled Mom’s wisdom. I didn’t want to regret my time at Eastern.

Looking back now, I admit there are things that I would do differently if I were to relive the experience, but there are things I am proud of changing. When I left, I made the conscious decision to no longer be ashamed of who I was. Eastern supposedly celebrated individuals, and I was going to embrace that. I decided to stop hiding that I raised pigs for 7 years, and that my family participated in a farmer’s market. I no longer guided conversations around the fact that my boyfriend’s 7 years my senior, and I stopped following peer pressure to fit in. I was me. At times, I admit that I probably should’ve just let it go and blended in, but while there, I learned so much about myself. I learned that I love tunafish, I can make recipes out of just about anything, and I genuinely love learning. However, one of the most important things that I recognized while at Eastern was the skill of prioritization. It’s taken me a long time to figure it out. 

Now, it’s back to Mansfield University: another transition. Although it’s not entirely a fresh start, I like to consider it one.I have made a lot of mistakes, but this summer, I have decided to refocus my life. and apply the prioritization. For the past two years, I’ve worked hours on end, barely having time with my family and friends. Not any more. I started out this summer with two jobs, but due to my exhaustion and the commute, I decided to just stay with one job. Sixty hours a week would be fine, if I didn’t want a social life, but there are somethings more important than money. My sister’s home for a little bit and this is like the last year we’ll ever live together. It’s a weird feeling. I want to cherish my time with her. Life has so many beautiful options, and sometimes, it’s just a matter of deciding what ones you want to take. 

Love your life, people. Do something you enjoy. Be someone you want to be. 

~Paige

Flight 370: What won’t be found at the bottom of the ocean

This blog post is going to be extremely different from my normal writings, but it is a topic I simply cannot get out of my head: the Malaysian airplane. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the news story, I’ll give a brief synopsis before addressing the topic.

On March 8th, 2014, Malaysian Airflight 370 took off from Malaysia headed to Beijing. Shortly after takeoff (approximately an hour), the air traffic control team lost contact with the plane; including crew members, approximately 250 people were onboard. Now, almost two months later, there is no public knowledge of what happened. Reports have indicated that flight was flying at an altitude lower than mandated and could have lost contact due to the low altitude. Additionally, it is believed that the plane was preprogrammed to turn west during the time it began to drop altitude. Searches have been made internationally, but no substantial evidence has appeared. The backgrounds of both crew members and passengers have been and are being extensively analyzed, but no public report of suspicious persons has been declared.  However, there have been a few minor details concerning the investigation that are important to acknowledge.

First of all, the fuel. Upon initial announcement, the news reported that the farthest the plane could’ve flown without refueling was the middle of India. After further consideration, the territory was expanded to the western boarder of India. Finally, they admitted that perhaps the plane could’ve flown further. I will refer back to this later.

Second, the co-pilot’s phone. Authorities have reported that co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid’s phone pinged a cellphone tower shortly before the plane disappeared. While this may seem insignificant, it is important to know that there were surely other passengers who left their phones on; no signals were detected from their mobile devices. It is commonly considered that Hamid unsuccessfully tried to make a phone call.

Third, the pings. While I do not believe that this is substantial evidence supporting my theory, it must be noted. In the beginning of April, pings from the flight’s locator were believed to be heard by satellite. When an airplane hits water, the locator emits a high pitched noise to help authorities find the crashed plane. The locator’s battery usually lasts approximately 30 days, so it was no surprise when only a few days later, the pings were no longer heard. Shortly after, officials began to conduct an underwater search using a sonar device. They scanned the ocean floor in a little over 6 mile radius from where the pings were believed to have originated. Their results? Nothing.

Fourth and finally, the video of al-Qaeda in Yemen. Now, this may seem entirely unconnected, but let me explain. On March 29th, a video of the militants appeared on a website for supporting them. While there are many things one could take away from the video, I am concerned with two of them: the absence of one member and the timing. Professional analysts have declared the video to be authentic and approximately a month before its release (around the time of the Malaysian plane’s disappearance, perhaps?). In the video, the terrorist group warns of an upcoming attack that they are planning and also state, “We must eliminate the cross; the Americans are the bearers of the cross”. Now, what this means is uncertain, but it should definitely not be dismissed. Besides the timing, the absence of a certain member of al-Qaeda is exceedingly peculiar: Ibrahim al-Asiri. This militant is the chief-bomb maker of the group, and his location has been uncertain after he unsuccessfully attempted a bombing at Detroit in 2009. Why is he so vital to al-Qaeda? Well, al-Asiri has is able to make bombs that are undetectable on airplanes.

While it is possible that the Malaysian and American authorities have  absolutely no intel on the whereabouts of flight 370, I find it highly unlikely. The world we live in today is moderated that I believe that we, the citizens, do not even know how much we are being watched. There are satellites and live feeds everywhere; drones and radars are more common than we like to believe. It is my theory that the Malaysian plane is not lost at the bottom of the ocean, but landed in a country in the Middle East. Whether this be Yemen, Afghanistan, or somewhere else, I do not know, but I think that evidence supporting my theory is substantial. If al-Asiri is able to create bombs that are undetected by airport security, is it that far out of the realm of possibility that he could sneak on to an airplane and  disable a highly complicated tracking system? Or that he could walk someone else through this endeavor? I do not believe it to be a preposterous assumption. All will be revealed in due time.

 

What are your thoughts on the disappearance of flight 370? Do you think that it lies at the bottom of the Indian Ocean? Could al-Asiri’s absence from the al-Qaeda video be linked to this tragedy? Or do you hold an entirely different theory? Let me know in the comments section below!

 

 

 

 

Let’s focus on the Easter, not rabbits…

Happy Easter!

It’s a wonderful day to remember the beautiful sacrifice that Christ made for us thousands of years ago, only to conquer the very thing that we cannot: sin. 

As I was browsing my newsfeed this afternoon, I came across a video of a church’s “worship” service this morning. The video revealed a person in a bunny mascot costume dancing and on stage to the worship team’s new song/parody, “What does the Bunny say?”. The team was bouncing around the stage, energetically singing the song and obviously having a wonderful time. While it seemed like an appropriate, entertaining time, it was also very disheartening. What has become of Easter? 

Christians everywhere are arguing that our culture is becoming too secular, and the church isn’t given a place in society. This is true, but can we really always blame those who aren’t Christians? Or are we lowering our standards to try and appeal to the crowd? Yes, there is certainly a time for appropriate, silly entertainment, but is a Sunday morning where we recollect a time when our Savior willing suffered innumerable punishments, paid the price for our sins, and then rose from the depths the place for such folly? 

I wonder if Christ were to come back today, would He commend the church for their zeal, or condemn them for turning a house of worship into something it is not (much like He did in Mark 11:15-19). 

A wise friend of mine once told me that there’s something wrong with us if we are trying to embellish the church and Gospel. Do we believe the Word of God is not great enough to reach the lost hearts, but we must meddle and change things so that it is more appealing? 

Before we look outward and blame the world for not giving us a place in society, perhaps we need to ask ourselves if we are offering up something worthy of being noticed? Or, are we trying to conform in order to appeal to a greater crowd? As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Imitation is suicide”. 

More importantly though, I refer to Romans 12:2 (NASB),
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” 

Let’s look to the cross, not the bunny at the backdoor.

-Paige

 

 

Unworthy: A meditation

 I am a coffee stained book. I am a cracked vase. I am a kite with a ripped cover. I am a guitar with a broken string. I am a depraved being.

“When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

 You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.” -Psalms 8:3-5

It is on days like these, when the blessings seem to be springing up like the flowers that I begin to wonder. They’re everywhere, uncountable, beautiful. I cannot fathom the love of God. He is so great, so majestic and He has chosen to bless me. I am unable to do anything without Him. I am crippled, but given the crutch of faith. I am broken, but glued together by grace. I am meaningless, but given purpose by His existence. 

When I look to His face, all the chaos of my life: family issues, future uncertainty, and personal struggles, they all become a blur. I know they are there, but I also know that He has equipped me with the tools necessary to persevere. He supplies all my needs. 

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
     He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
     he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.” -Psalms 23:1-3

My soul cries out in hunger, in longing for Him to take captive every area of my life, craving His voice in my daily walk. Throw away the idols, flee from the temptations; I want more of You. Nothing can compare to the breather of life. The world can offer up many things, but they all melt away, like the snow in come April. One thing alone remains: God. 

Each step I take is uncertain. I do not know His plan for me; I am not sure of what my calling is, what mark I am to leave in His name. I just put one foot in front of the other. Sometimes I leap, sometimes I crawl, and still other times, I fall. Yet, I know that wherever I go, He is present. Each step of the way, He’s leading me along. 

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:31-38

No. Nothing can stop what God has declared will be. 

And who am I, that I should be called His daughter? Who am I that He has given an inheritance in Heaven? Who am I that He should search my heart and know me- truly know me- my weaknesses, my failures, my hopes, my dreams. He sees beyond it all and loves me.

I call myself unworthy, and consider myself blessed. 

 

Goodbye

I created this video about a year ago, but the topic has been on my heart a lot recently.
Take a look, if you don’t mind.