06 4 / 2013
Sometimes I really hate listening to God. Don’t get me wrong, I really love Him still, but sometimes I just don’t want to obey at all. It’s like when you are a kid and your mom tells you not to eat too many rice krispy treats because you will throw up. And of course you don’t listen to her, because, let’s be real, whoever heard of “too many rice krispy treats?” And then you sneak them while she’s out of the room, and of course the end result is vomit and an eternal hatred for rice krispy treats.
That rice krispy story is a true one, from my own life, and unfortunately I still hate rice krispy treats to this day, but this post isn’t about rice krispy treats. It’s about dating, and listening to God while you do it.
Dating is a super confusing concept to me. Part of me reeeeally loves it and another part of me freaks out when I even think about it. A friend told me that, “Dating is committing to finding out if you want to commit to that person for the rest of your life.” It’s horrible really, because you are jumping into this vulnerable, scary place, not even knowing the outcome of the situation. It takes a lot of faith and a lot of trust, and those are definitely two things I lack.
And of course when you enter into a relationship you probably aren’t thinking, “yeah I’m totally going to break up with this person, I know I’m not supposed to be with them.” If you are thinking that when you start a relationship, then you need to not be in a relationship… because you’re kind of a jerk… But really, you are consistently trying to figure out of you can do life with this person, and your heart of hearts is hoping that you and God and that person will all be on the same page and that answer will be, “YES HE’S FINALLY THE GUY!”
But what happens when he’s not the guy?
What happens when God says, “No honey, not this time, you need to let go and move on”?
What happens when truly loving someone means breaking up with them? Because you know that both of you won’t become the best people you can be if you stay together.
That’s when the crap hits the fan, and you’re left wondering what just happened. You never expect God to say no to a really great situation, but sometimes He does, and sometimes you just have to trust that He is shaping you into something better, and He has a better adventure for the both of you.
It’s situations like these that make me really thankful for a God that let’s me yell at Him. I can be really pissed off and frustrated and it doesn’t phase him. He’s still God, and He still wants what’s best for me.
It’s like what Donald Miller says in his book “A Million Miles, In A Thousand Years”,
“Most of our greatest fears are relational. It’s all that stuff about forgiveness and risking rejection and learning to love. We think stories are about getting money and security, but the truth is, it all comes down to relationships. I tried not to think about that stuff, but I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I knew a story was calling me. And once you know what it takes to live a better story, you don’t have a choice. Not living a better story would be like deciding to die, deciding to walk around numb until you die, and it’ not natural to want to die.”
When you know God has something better, you need to chase after it. A great calling calls for great sacrifice, and a great trust in a great God who will make the pain worth it.
22 2 / 2013
I was just looking over my past blogs and I’ve realized that most of them have to do with the Big C.
My struggles. My frustrations. My joys. My mourning. My successes.
I thought that I was finally getting the hang of it. Finally starting to understand why God would allow such a thing to take over people’s lives. I was accepting it. And now I’ve hit a road block.
I’ve been praying for this little girl by the name of Daisy Love for the past three years. I’ve never met her or seen her even, but she has held a deep place in my heart for a very long time. She was diagnosed with cancer four times throughout the last three years. She went through 30 bouts of chemo. But she was the happiest and silliest little girl in the world. Talk about hope, she was the poster child for it.
I just read today that she passed away in her sleep a couple days ago.
Three years of praying to see a miracle making God act. Three years of asking for this girl’s life. And now it’s just… gone. And it’s like my heart is shifted, confused really. Why do little children have to die? She had such a crazy awesome life ahead of her. Her parents are taking it like champs. So much grace. So much peace. God has a wonderfully strange hold on their hearts. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose a child, I hope I never have to find out.
Daisy taught me so much. She taught me how to hope. How to be silly in the midst of death. She taught me how to love and how to trust God despite the circumstances.
So thank you Daisy. Thank you for allowing me to somehow be a part of your short life. Thank you for showing me Jesus and how much he loves me even when I don’t understand things. I’m excited to meet you one day, we’ll have so much fun.
17 12 / 2012
The last few days all I’ve heard about on the news, on facebook, in daily conversations is all of the hurt going on in the world, most recently the CT shooting.
When I first found out about the shooting I said some really horrible and not loving things, and then I shut my emotions off. I didn’t want to spend my time thinking about children being murdered or the evil going on in the world. That’s how I cope with trauma, and tragedy. I hear about it, I shut down, I get through it, and then eventually I break down.
Today was the day to break down. I think it started when I was at work this morning. I have the pleasure of waking up at 3:30 on Monday mornings and opening at Starbucks. It’s really not that bad, but I was really grumpy this morning and I had no desire to go to work at all. There was a quiet sadness of all the parents who were getting their coffee on the way to take their kids to school this morning. And then a lady came through my drive thru and she paid for the car’s order behind her as well. She told me to tell the customer behind her, “Merry Christmas, I paid for your drink… in memory of the kids.”
I lost it… so did she.
There we were, crying together, in the drive thru at Starbucks, for families we don’t even know. Jesus even shows up through the drive thru, who would have thought?
I finally took a minute to be alone and to pray for those families. Not just pray, but intercede. A hardcore time of pleading and begging God to intervene. I lost it. I’m crying even as I write this.
How could someone walk into an elementary school and kill innocent kids?
I know this happens every day in other countries. I’ve seen the evil that goes on in the world. I’ve been to the other side, I’ve heard the stories, I’ve seen the aftermath. And yet I can’t help but cry out to God, and say, “What the hell is going here? Why can’t you just fix this now? Why do the innocent have to die? Of all people, why the kids?”
I wonder if that’s what Jesus felt, when He had to die. He was the most innocent, he deserved death the least, and yet He died. He was brutally murdered, just like those kids and those teachers. He died so we could have hope. Hope that someday this whole dying thing could be over and done with. So that those children could live with him forever, and so that justice could somehow be found in their dark and tragic deaths. What a beautiful story He has given to us. A story of light in the midst of darkness, a story of hope in the midst of despair.
“So give me hope in the darkness that i will see the light, ‘cause oh that gave me such a fright. But i will hold on with all of my might, just promise me we’ll be alright.”
08 11 / 2012
Just recently I started thinking about you. Which is a big deal, because I’ve never even really thought of having my own kid until recently. You aren’t even close to being alive yet, and yet I feel an urgency to live life better, so you know how to live life better.
Here’s some things I want you to know.
Don’t ever let one of your friends cut your bangs. Because normally they turn out to be 1/2 an inch long and let me tell you, when you actually want your bangs to grow out, it seems like they take a whole year. NOT WORTH IT. Get them professionally done.
Eat as much junk food as you want while your metabolism is still awesome. Because here’s the thing, your body changes. And sometimes you can’t eat a whole tub of ice cream by yourself anymore. So just go for it. Life is short. And your metabolism just gets worse. (I might regret this part later, but what can you do?)
It’s so okay to be silly. It’s okay to laugh at yourself, because what I’ve discovered is that if you laugh at yourself, people will normally start laughing with you. I really hope you think I’m funny because I love it when people think I’m funny. So just remember to laugh at me even if it’s a stupid joke, that’s all I ask. You’ll probably be funny too (you’ll probably get that from the Ritter side). I’ll always laugh with you.
Boys are gross and you shouldn’t like them.
Boys can definitely be gross, and sometimes they hurt you. But they can also be your best friends too. I’ve liked a lot of boys, and even loved a couple, and I want you to know that it’s okay to fall in love. Even more than once, because when you love someone and then get hurt it just teaches you more about Jesus. When you do fall in love I will be so giddy with you, and if a boy breaks your heart, your dad will go have “a talk” with him while we cry and eat ice cream and watch “Pride and Prejudice.”
You are so beautiful. Don’t ever let someone tell you that you’re not. I don’t even know what you look like yet, but I’m sure you look perfect. You probably won’t like things about yourself, but I hope that I can show you how to love things about yourself. I don’t want you to ever think that you are dull, or ugly, or not important. And if you see me thinking those things then tell me to knock it off. Maybe if we both tell each other we are beautiful then maybe we’ll grow up believing it. I hope that I can teach you how to look at yourself with Jesus’ eyes, it’ll save you so much hurt.
No matter what horrible things are going on in the world YOU HAVE A VOICE. You can change things. While I write this our president was just reelected. It seems like our country and our world is just going down the tubes, and I’ve seriously thought of not having you because I don’t want you to have to grow up in such a crappy place. But I believe that God is going to make you the next Mother Teresa, or Martin Luther King Jr. You will see people with new, sympathetic eyes. You will be able to change someone’s life with just a look. I believe in you. No matter what path or job you choose. You are going to shake the earth when you come here.
Also I can’t even tell you how much Jesus loves you. I’m sure someday you’ll think that that phrase is so stupid, but I hope someday you’ll grow to believe it. He has created you with a crazy big purpose and He is so absolutely trustworthy! You serve a really really big God who wants to speak to you. He’s thinking about you now even before you’re conceived.
I’m sure there are a ton of other things I’ll have to teach you. I’ll probably mess up and make you cry, and you’ll probably make me cry. But we’ll just deal with that as it comes.
You are perfect kid, and I kinda like you.
No but really, I already love you.
Your Someday Mom.
18 8 / 2012
Lately I’ve had to come to terms with something that has been really difficult for me to face.
I’m a super emotional person.
When I think of an emotional person I think of those crazy people that cry over credit card commercials and get super excited about puppies.
Now granted I am one of those people. Crying is my default emotion and I get super excited about dogs, especially baby ones. So sue me.
Recently my rommies and I took a personality test to figure out how we would get along as house mates. It’s this thing called an Enneagram and it’s super hard to explain and I don’t fully understand it. All I know is that I think the author might have read my journal and could have been stalking me for the last 20 years, because they had my personality type down to a T. They say that my personality type will experience every emotion from it’s highest point to it’s lowest point by the time they are 26. DING DING DING! You are correct!
Ever since I can remember I’ve always had this constant inner battle to control how much I’m feeling. Sometimes it’s within minutes that my moods change. And I’ve always been afraid to address it, because I’m afraid the answers that I’m going to get to all my questions will be that I’m crazy. Like literally sick in the head. I’ve been trying to process this allowed recently and normally the reaction I get is that I’m really good at hiding what I’m feeling. I seem emotional, not over emotional, but sometimes the most annoying voice in the room is the voice in your head.
I know emotions can be good, but I think I’ve grown up thinking that they are bad. I think hearing things like “Are you pmsing?” “Why do you cry a lot?” has shaped my mind into thinking that the only time I’m “allowed” to feel something deeply is when my hormones are out of whack. That women should keep their emotions to themselves, and should stop crying all the time. But recently I’ve been asking God about myself. I’ve been asking God why I have so many emotions and why I feel things so deeply. And I’ve realized God feels things deeply too and my God is the creator of emotions. He’s created me to be an artist, a feeler, and someone who shows beauty to the world. And let me tell you. I’ve never felt more comforted or more sane.
So maybe I cry at commercials. So maybe I get really excited when I see a puppy. So maybe I am a little crazy when I’m pmsing (watch out ;). But that doesn’t make me too much to handle. That doesn’t make me sick in the head. That doesn’t make me unworthy of love. That makes me who I am, and I am God’s.
18 6 / 2012
You know that term “dark night of the soul”? It’s like a period of time in someone’s life where everything sucks, and you keep getting sucker punched, and you aren’t really sure what to do with yourself? That was this last year for me. I got my heart broken, my grandpa passed away, my dad got cancer, I left my job, and I fell into an honest to goodness depression. This year was probably the darkest year of my life thus far. Hence my phrase “dark night of the soul.”
I would like to say that I was really cheery and positive about everything that happened but I’ve honestly never been so angry or frustrated in my life. But here’s the good news! There is a light at the end of the tunnel!
I feel like my life is finally starting to brighten up again. I’m living in a new place, I’ve got a wonderful job, I start school in the fall, and my friends and family are so good it’s overwhelming really. But here’s the thing, I’m left with these wounds that are healing, but when wounds heal, they leave scars. I’ve been trying to go back to how I was before all this awfulness started, but I’ve come to the realization that I can’t. The foundations of me are still solid, but the rest of me is a little cray cray. I have to learn how to live with these scars. How to move forward into a place of hope instead of a place of “oh pity me, my life is hard right now.”
So this is what I’m going to do. Writing is my way of processing and healing so I’m going to start a journey of finding out who I am right now. What defines me? What makes me me? I’m excited! I’m hopeful! And I’m ready.
Let’s call it Arielle 101 for now.
Let’s do this thang.
22 4 / 2012
I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop and I’m eaves dropping on four middle aged people who are having a very in depth discussion about their love for Twighlight. Unfortunately my first response is to giggle and make fun of them. It got me thinking about my life in 20 years. I started hoping that I won’t find myself in a coffee shop, with people talking about Twighlight. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Team Edward girl myself, and I think that’s why these peoples’ conversation scared me so much.
I think for a long time I thought that living a “normal” life would be boring and I would end up being the person who wastes time arguing about whether Bella should have ended up with Edward or Jacob. I think I thought that I would become bland and lame. That somehow I would lose the authority to speak life into people, and my basic ways of showing love were stupid and not important. I can’t really explain why I thought these things, I have so many wonderful friends who live regular lives and are incredibly good at what they do, and they are some of the most loving individuals that I know. For some reason I started believing the lie that I wouldn’t be enough if I was a barista at Starbucks, or a kid going to junior college.
I was driving and talking to God the other day and I got so excited, and these words came out of my mouth, “God you still love me, even when I’m not a missionary!” And that’s when I realized that somewhere along the way, I thought that God’s love would somehow dwindle if I chose to not be a full time missionary. Crazy I know, but I believed it none the less.
But here’s the reality of it all, God loves me SO SO SO much. He loves me when I’m in China, and Rwanda. He loves me when I’m in California and when I’m in Oregon. He loves me when I’m in missions full time, and when I’m a Barista part time. And His love only grows for me. It never fades. And I have the wonderful opportunity every day to show love to every person that drives thru my Starbucks. I can get to know their lives and their struggles and I can show them Jesus through my actions.
I’m so blessed.
Jesus told us that we are going to do greater things than He. We “the normal people” are going to do epic, world changing things. We don’t have to end up living our lives through fantasy books or epic movies, because there are greater adventures waiting for us. My generation is going to shift things that we can only try to comprehend.
What a privilege. What an honor. What a gift it is to live daily for Someone who holds the earth in His hands.