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Posts Tagged ‘love’

different loves.

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment

I know that there are different types of love languages, that we give and receive love differently. so what do you do when you are put in a situation where the love language involved needs physical proximity? ’cause I feel like that situation is smacking me right in the face over and over again.

it’s no secret if you know me that my close relationships are very important to me. and if you really know me, you know that my love language is quality time (and physical touch as a close second). so me being 12 hours from those I am closest to has proved oh so very difficult. and the longer I am here, the harder it is becoming. granted, I am thankful for the modern technology of email, facebook, and especially skype. but we all know it’s no substitue for spending real time together.

so I’ve been attempting to receive love differently, with words of affirmation especially, but even those are sparse. and as time goes, I fear how time with an absence of love in a relationship affects the it. it’s amazing how deep love languages run in us. while I am amazed at how uniquely God has made us, it is seeming to only hurt me right now.

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happy? new year.

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

I’m sitting in the living room of “BarthBrook” with all the members of my Lexington family for probably the last time. Michael, Joe Joe and Sawyer are leaving New Year’s Day for France. Not to visit. To live. It’s something I knew was coming for a long time, but never let myself think about it. It was this past Sunday that I first began to deal with the loss of my dearest friends. I wrote this during church:

“I’m looking up at the front of the church and for the first time I realized my life without Michael and Joe Joe physically here is about to happen. As I listen to Joe Joe speak words of encouragement to our body, I am overwhelmed with two feelings: gratitude and sadness. What a mixture of feelings. It’s so odd, yet I do feel full. Full of memories of nights of Settlers, dinners, teasing about my OCD, teaching Sawyer to spit, women’s retreat… so many memories. Gratitude and sadness…”

It’s crazy to imagine only 5 months ago Michael and Joe Joe were just a couple I had heard hundreds of stories about. I was hoping to avoid awkward situations living together, especially considering they had spent the last two years in Tanzania, Africa. They had a 6 month old baby, and I had never been around babies. Plus, I heard he cried a lot.

But then, God did something amazing. He molded three sets of families together into a tight-knit unit. Paul and Tracy, The Harringtons, and then little ol’ me became BarthBrook. We shared food, space, tears, cars, and laughter. Lots of laughter. Joe Joe and I especially became close, and shared our past and present troubles. She became the definition of a role model in my life. I’m going to miss having her cheery, “good morning!” when I come down the stairs.

And then there’s their son. Oh, Sawyer Timothy. I went quickly from “Sawyer’s buddy” to “Aunt Ashlyn” to “Sawyer’s girlfriend.” That’s right, I’m the resident cougar. I’ve never felt for a kid quite like I feel for Sawyer. He brightens my day. I now know I want kids. I never pass up an opportunity to snag a photo of his crazy faces, feed him, hold him, play with him, or make him laugh (which isn’t hard, this kid loves life):

I don’t know how I’m going to handle them being gone, especially once I move out of the Barth’s next week, but please be in prayer for their time getting settled in their new home and starting language school, as well as those of us getting accustomed to life without them again.

Categories: Life Tags: , , ,

Tom & Brad: 1 Year Later.

November 9, 2009 2 comments

Tom - at Fall RetreatBrad - at Fall Retreat

I can’t believe it’s been a year…

I was filling up at a gas station in Richmond while the girls went inside for a bathroom break and caffeine. I was excited to be the first car getting back to Lexington; I was exhausted and ready to graduate school in a little over a month. I’d had a good weekend at Fall Retreat, my last one, but nothing spectacular or earth-shattering for me. I had a massive test in my hardest class, Music History, on my mind, and I hadn’t started the incredibly large amount of studying.

But then I got the phone call.

It was from Erin, who was in Lexington, wanting to know if we were okay. I was so confused. But then she cleared it up for me. I had to go in the gas station and get the girls and we prayed and took off to Lexington. Then the phone call & text message floodgate opened.

The memories of the rest of that day and the following week are still so vivid in my mind. I sat in a cubby on the 4th floor of Willy T. unsuccessfully trying to concentrate for hours. I got in my car to just drive and realized I had nowhere to go. I walked without purpose around the BCM building, my home, unable to sleep or hold a commonsensical conversation.

I avoided the stretch of Interstate for a long time. It was actually only a little under a month ago that I drove it for the first time. I cried the entire length of the new guardrail they’ve constructed. The overwhelming thought was how unfair it was that they got to leave us here. They are eternally in the presence of the Creator of the universe, and we are stuck here in a world of pain and death.

There are some things I have come to realize are forever changed about how I live because of the accident:

• I forgive much quicker.
• I don’t take time with people for granted.
These both go together. Since Tom and Brad went to be with Jesus, I try not to spend any time with unresolved conflict, or not being completely honest with those I care for. I don’t always succeed, but I have definitely seen where I normally would have held onto my hurt, I now let go easier. Time is so special.

• I invested time in those younger than me.

I didn’t like that I didn’t know Brad until that weekend. So after the accident, I purposely took more of an interest in the freshman, especially once my job fell through and I was in Lexington for the spring semester. And I thank my Lord that He brought two of those freshman into my life for good, as they are my very best friends.

• I no longer believe it couldn’t happen to me.
When someone is on their way somewhere and they are late and don’t call, I almost immediately think the worst. I no longer think something horrible like that would never happen to me. I make those I love text me when they get home safe & meaningfully tell others to be careful while driving.

I will forever cherish the memories I had with Tom. From the “Mike story” to his killer skills. From his pick-up lines to his horrible chants at my intramural football games… “B-A-P-T-I-S-T, BAPTIST CAMPUS MINISTRY!” I’m so thankful I got to spend time with him that Friday before we left for Fall Retreat. We were two of the only people in the building that morning and we played Mario Kart and Killer, reminiscing about the time Andrew hit me in the face with a ping-pong ball. He always thought that was hilarious.

I’m thinking of the May and Hall families today. I’m praying for all of us who were effected by this tragedy. And I’m thankful God spared Ben, and I still have him in my life being goofy and leading a great praise band at the BCM.

Hope will always guide me.

Tom and I - Hayride 06Brad at UK HockeyTOMnBRAD

what I wrote the night of the accident: Goodbye Friend.

What Matters More?

October 20, 2009 1 comment

I follow Derek Webb, the former lead of Caedmon’s Call, on Twitter, and when he offered a free download of his “uncensored” single, I readily took it. The first time I listened to it, I didn’t catch many of the lyrics except for the “hell”, “shit” and “damn.” But I sure as heck loved the techno, synthesized beat. So I took a second listen and began learning the words.

Here’s the video:

Since then, I’ve come across a lot of people on blogs, especially Christian music ones, that have berated Webb for this song being “pro-homosexuality” and of course for his use of profanity. Personally, profanity for shock value is sometimes the best way to get a message across. But what struck me the most was how much of this actually matters? It makes me angry that people who don’t know Jesus may stumble across these blogs/opinions and chalk it up once again to those “close-minded fundamentalist Christians.” This large scale berating of other followers of Christ just irks me.

Because what did Jesus preach? LOVE.

And when it comes down to it? What is Webb’s single trying to emphasize? That we LOVE the hurting around us. Yes, homosexuality is a sinful lifestyle. But so is lying and manipulation. So is selfishness and self-centeredness. We ALL fall short of the glory of God. Those of us who have Christ dwelling inside us have the answer to this shortcoming. Why aren’t we sharing this with those who don’t know/understand/accept it?

The closest opinion I have found to mine on this subject is here. I really recommend the read.

I love this song, especially these lines: “Cause if you really believe what you say you believe / You wouldn’t be so damn reckless with the words you speak / Wouldn’t silently consent when the liars speak / Denying all the dying of the Remedy”

Because that is what my Jesus is: the Remedy. The Remedy to the hurt, disappointment and injustice on this earth. The Remedy to the anxiety, restlessness and discontent of those of us who live here. And I have the Remedy. And the only way to share it with others is love and relationship. Period. What matters more? Love.

*steps off soap box*

trust?

September 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Every morning on the way to work I turn off the radio and pray. Most of the times it’s out loud. Other times, I’m silent and try to listen. Something I’ve come to notice is how selfish my prayers are. And I don’t mean selfish as in they are all about me; I’m not 14 and viewing my God as Santa Claus. But my prayers are always for those closest to me, and the things they’re going through. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I shouldn’t pray for my best friends, my family, my future plans, etc. But my prayers still seem so self-centered. This world is hurting. There are the homeless, those without clean water, those suffering from oppression, so many even here in affluent Lexington that need Jesus. And what do I pray for in the morning? All of MY friends. Everything around ME.

Ugh.

All this has come to light because of some recent events. They started off indirectly affecting me. I’ve been praying for the situation daily for a while now. Then these events became very personal. Satan got his way with some miscommunication and some feelings, and now I find myself looking up from a pit I haven’t jumped into for quite some time.

We’ve been talking a lot around church and small group lately about trusting the Christ in others. It’s something that’s hard to do. The issue of trust isn’t usually a hard one for me. It usually takes me getting taken advantage of before I don’t trust someone. But what about the other way around. Am I trustworthy? I’d like to think so. I’m a horrible liar, which is actually a wonderful gift, and I don’t like bullshit – generally trustworthy things. But last night I wasn’t trusted by someone, and it’s made me question the Christ in me – which is horrible. I shouldn’t. But I am. And this all comes back to love. I am so loved, so why do I feel so unloved? If I could get a hundredth of that question answered, I could get by with that for the rest of my life probably.

Until then, here I am. Needing to let go, and let God. But instead re-evaluating my friendships and acting pretty stupid. Dang, why am I so hard-headed?

Categories: Life Tags: , , , , , ,

The Glory of Unfinished Stories.

September 8, 2009 3 comments

This weekend was bookended with two very random occurances, & I know I need to share them.

Thursday night I received an at-reply on Twitter from someone I didn’t know, letting me know he reads this blog and it has made him think. I responded appreciatively and offered to try to answer any questions he had. The following two days of conversation blessed my life (That’s right Azrin, if you’re reading, I want you to know you have given me something you couldn’t even realize). I was asked to put my faith into words. This may not seems like a big deal, but wait until you have to do it. I was so blown away by his searching heart, willing to email a random person to further his search for Truth. My prayer life got a dose of perspective from this young man, and I pray that this story isn’t over. Keep searching. You will know when you have found the Truth; it is God and living for Him makes it worth it to wake up in the morning.

If this wasn’t enough, what happened to me and the girls last night is still rocking my world:
Coming back from my parent’s house to Lexington, I wasn’t planning on hanging out on campus, but ended up there at a cookout. Later that night I was at the house of my best friends and we were just watching tv. Someone knocked on the door, and it was a young man wanting to plug in his cell phone so he could make a call. Now, this wasn’t the safest part of town, so I kept an eye on him, realizing he was very upset as he was talking. He came in to ask for a pen & pencil, and I proceeded to ask him if there was anything we could do for him, trying to get his story. With tears streaming down his face, he told me his mom texted him to say goodbye because she had taken a bottle of pain killers.

I was blown away, as I’m sure the girls were too. Later I ended up talking on the phone to this young man’s father, pleading with me to give him a ride to the hospital in Georgetown where his mom was (about half an hour away). As much as I was ready to up and go, I realized the safety concerns, and after a dozen phone calls, my friends Josh and Matt came to pick up this young man. Before he left, we circled around him and prayed for him and his mother. The whole situation just shook me, and thank God for His providence.

Just the way God orchestrated that whole situation is still blowing my mind. Rachel told me later she just felt like she was supposed to open the door (even after some reprimanding from me about being more careful). Even just the fact that the girls were in the front of the house where they could hear the door is proof of God’s sovereignty. And of course, it is no accident that this young man chose to knock on their house, a house full of followers of Christ willing to show Love, even when common sense tells you not to do so.

So I guess you could say my weekend is one of stories I may never know the ending of, and I’m really okay with that. I’ve been praying for more purpose here in Lexington, and God delivered, and of course not in the way I was expecting.

My God fills me with awe & wonder, and I will praise Him forever.

escape?

I’ve been at home in Somerset for almost a week now, and I wonder how long until I start calling it “my parent’s house” instead of “home”. Today has been a long day filled with long and deep conversations, and it has worn on my mind. Even now, there are so many thoughts running through my head I fear this post, the first in ages, may not have the clarity & direction I wish for it.

I leave for Jonathan Creek in 4 days. And I wonder what camp holds for me this summer. I was told by one of my best friends tonight that she doesn’t believe I’ll end up back in Lexington. This took me for a loop, because I’ve had the feeling for a month or so that I will end up in Lexington in the fall, and for a long time to come. When I look back at where I thought I’d be at this point, it amazes me. Just six months ago I wanted nothing more than to live in Louisville. Just three months ago I wanted nothing more than to be preparing for 2 years in South America. And now, not only do I not know where I want to be, but more importantly, I don’t know where God wishes for me to be.

But back to camp. Oh, Jonathan Creek. As the time approaches for my departure, I feel the anxiety as I did last summer before I left. I worry about the dynamics of camp this summer. I know it will be nothing like last summer, but what will it be like? I fear as though I am treating it as my escape. It is true that camp is nothing like real life: relationships are either amplified or diminished exponentially, the outside world seems to lose its importance, and God moves in bigger ways than you thought possible.

But if I use camp as an escape, will these things not happen? Or is God going to go ahead and blow my mind? Last summer I experienced healing without feeling His presence, and it changed me. This summer, am I finally going to get a peak into where I’m going and what I’m going to be doing for Him? I can only hope.

You see, God has brought into my life people I feel as though I have wasted time with. People I want more time with. People that others don’t understand why I love so much. Honestly, I don’t either. But it happened, and for once, it’s different. It’s different in a lot of ways, including my sister, my past, and my future. How’s that for confusion?

All that to say this: I know I have a choice coming. Here is what I see as options:
• Move into my parent’s home in Somerset, and take a job substitute teaching & coaching basketball at my uncle’s school. Free. Somerset.
• Move back to Lexington, and live with married friends of mine until I get onto my feet & accept a promotion at my current job. Balance issues. Lexington.
• Accept a job from something coming from camp, whether it be a church with a media position, or a permanent job with camp. Starting over.

And thus the praying continues.