December 30, 2010

These Last Three Months Were A Dream...

Since I haven't been able to upload photos on here for awhile, I decided to take all of my favorite memories, moments, and highlights of the past three months in Germany and post them here, complete with captions! (this could be a LONG entry folks, I've had alot of good memories...) I hope you enjoy browsing through the life of a curly-haired, free-spirited, God-fearing, food-loving, never-gonna-settle-down,  woman! :)

 When I first got to Germany and was wandering alone, I ended up being a part of some street guy's magic show. It involved me throwing fire-lit torches at him whilst he was balancing on a unicycle. (go figure) I made 5 Euros. :)
The very first day I got to school a random group of us biked into town--it's amazing looking back and remembering how we didn't know anything about each other; all we were really confident about was that God had brought us into each others lives for a reason.
 This is the backyard of my beautiful school, back when it was warm and sunny!
 At night a bunch of us ran into the cold, cold lake--at the time, we barely knew each others names.
 Chocolate face masks!!
 Ohh baby. Rittersport chocolates were honestly a part of my daily diet. (I quit that now...)
 After filling Jessica's door with post-it notes...
 She pranked me back by saran-wrapping my bed. This is WAR.
 The German flea markets = Awesome!
 Germany is so clean, except, they don't use doggy-bags while walking their dogs. Henceforth, I stepped in dog crap.
 See that path? Yeah, I hiked that. In the Swiss Alps.
 We made it to the summit! (And yes, that IS a real bird in the background! Adds to the whole inspirational aspect of it eh?) This was an exhausting hike, the most challenging one yet, but reaching the top was hands down the BEST feeling. I remember trying to take in all the landscape around me, sweat dripping in my eyes and thinking, "looking at this, how could you not believe in God? These mountains are a mere reflection of his beauty, his wonder, and his MAJESTY!"
 International night at school. These are all my fellow Canadians!
 A spontaneous and random dance party erupted one Sunday evening--it was nothing short of an awesome, sweaty, and incredible time.
 Everytime there was a birthday in our 10-room, we stole cactus's and and other plants from the school's window sills, pillows from the lounge, and food from the dining hall and created a Birthday party extravaganza in our room! :)
Hiking up to castle Neuschwanstein! (The Disneyland Castle!)
 The most random photoshoot in the world. But oh so much fun.
 I live for french-fry pizza.
 Running the 10K race. Wow, I still can't believe I was capable of this.
 Our awesome carved pumpkin! But it obviously couldn't beat the E.T one.
 Seniors Bingo Night!!
 My sing-team singing for the group of 14 year olds that stayed at our school one weekend. What a great weekend!
 Sarah, Jessica and I stumbled upon this cute little tea-shop in Meersburg. It was here where we fell even more in love with each other. :)
 I'll never forget all those nights with our mattresses on the floor!
 After cleaning the tea-kitchen (my work duty) we brought in the stereo and rocked out.
 My 10-room photoshoot. I LOVE these girls!
 Heeheehee...
 Swedish night at school!
 Swedish dinner. Mmm...there's nothing like swedish meatballs and potatoes.
 Sarah and I would find unlocked laptops in the lecture hall and change their desktop backgrounds to normal stuff like this.
 Painting a picture for The Crossing. It made me miss high school art class!
 I honestly live in a winter wonderland.
 One of the many cuddle-puddles.
 We found a merry-go-round. :D
 Brandi and I singing Taylor Swift for open-mic night. Haha
 The Christmas market in Stuttgart. You don't even know how wonderful it is! As soon as you step off the bus you smell Christmas in the air!
 So. German.
 I fell in love with Berliner's from the German bakeries. Judging by my waist, I think I fell a little too much in love...
 On St. Nikolaus day (the 6th of December) we all put our shoes outside of our door...
 To find them filled with chocolate, oranges, and German Christmas cookies!!
 Yes, I went to Paris and saw the Eiffel tower. Not gonna lie, I slipped a headphone in my ear and played "Enchanted" by Taylor Swift. I wanted to sing to the Eiffel tower: "It was enchanting to meet youuuuuuuu!"
 My whole school sang outside at the Christmas market in Friedrichshafen. It was here where I ultimately had one of those moments where you just stop and smile and wish that it would never end. I really couldn't wipe the smile from my face. :)
 Drinking gluwein at the Christmas markets. (it's a hot red wine) and keeping to just one is a good idea...bahah
 All 108 of us miraculously fit on stage at our Christmas concert.
 Singing for the Christmas concert--honestly one of the best things I could have ever done for myself.
 Our last night at the Bode before Christmas break--straight hair and J-signs. :)

I can't even begin to describe how blessed I am to have experienced all of this. The past three months had its ups and downs (thankfully more ups than downs), but coming home for Christmas really made me realize how much I love my school. All I can do is thank God for everything he's done in my life. Who knows what second semester will hold? :)

December 28, 2010

Change of Heart.

I've thought long and hard about that last entry I wrote...the frustration and the stress of being busy...and I realized that I need a change of heart. If my time is spent right, then being busy should be treated as an honor! If I'm spending my time with the people I love, doing the things I love, and honoring God with every ounce of my being, then I'd say my time was well spent. I should be thankful that I am busy; if I weren't, I'd be sitting on the couch watching mindless movies and scarfing down heart-attack-inducing foods. I should be grateful for having people in my life who want to spend time with me and who want to be with me. Being loved...it's absolutely wonderful!
Lately, I've been feelin' like I'm not living my life. In fact, my life has been livin' me. I need to take control of my time; I need to stop wasting it. I need to write more, journal more...blog more. I need to read my Bible more. It's exactly 2:21 AM...and I need to sleep more. :)

Ha ha ha.

"When I was a little girl I used to read fairy tales. In fairy tales you meet Prince Charming and he's everything you ever wanted. In fairy tales the bad guy is very easy to spot. The bad guy is always wearing a black cape so you always know who he is. Then you grow up and you realize that Prince Charming is not as easy to find as you thought. You realize the bad guy is not wearing a black cape and he's not easy to spot; he's really funny, and he makes you laugh, and he has perfect hair."

— Taylor Swift

December 27, 2010

?!?!

WHY AM I SO BUSY?!?!

You know how it goes, places to go, people to see...

I feel like all of this business caused me to miss Christmas completely. :(

All I'm asking for is one day, just ONE wee little day of complete relaxation.

Sigh. If this doesn't happen soon I am going to explode.

Yeah, no. It doesn't look like I have a day like this coming up in my schedule.

So it was nice knowing ya'll.

December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas...?

Don't worry about me; I just don't like the fact that I'm blogging the night before Christmas. As much as I love blogging, doing so is lame on a night like this. Even being near a computer on Christmas Eve is completely ridiculous to me. Sigh.

December 22, 2010

Be myself, Be yourself.

Last night as I was lying in bed, I stumbled upon a realization--I know, right? How many realizations can this girl come up with?
I don't know how well I will be able to explain myself, but I'll give it my best shot.

Until now, I held onto a twisted mindset; one that effected my relationships with the opposite sex. And I truly believe that God has worked in me these past 3 months, picking and prodding at my brain until this great change was brought about.

So here's the diagnosis: when I liked guys, I was someone else. In fact, I was anyone but myself. I strove to appear "perfect" around them. I liked all the things they liked, just so they'd believe that we have so much in common, just so they'd believe that we were perfect for each other. I laughed at all their jokes in the hopes to encourage their belief that they were so very funny. I never once went without makeup; these guys only knew my face with a mask. I never talked about God around them for fear of appearing too religious. I actually gave them the impression that drawing, playing piano, and getting good marks in school came as natural to me as breathing. I refused to do anything remotely "goofy" or childish around them, believing that they would think I was stupid if I did. I made it a point to minimize and hide all of my flaws.

Let me just say one thing; these guys were missing out. And, if none of them liked me for the girl I pretended to be around them, then I guess I can't really feel rejected, right? I have no reason to bitter about those past "relationships" because I wasn't being myself; I wasn't being the girl who actually hates wearing makeup. The girl who would way rather watch High School Musical than sit through that lame action movie with him. The girl who has the dorkiest laugh on the planet. The girl who sings to the very top of her lungs in the car while driving. The girl who is without a doubt, the youngest child in her family and enjoys making it obvious. The girl who actually now speaks her mind, tells the truth, and is slowly learning not to fear rejection and failure. The girl who sometimes would rather be in her solitude than out at a party. The girl who finally knows how to laugh at herself. The girl who isn't afraid to say "I'm praying for you." The girl who is so very far from perfect.

In a sense you could say that I wasted their time; it was unfair of me to be somebody around them who I really wasn't. But I also wasted my own time, and with the grace of God, all is forgiven. These first three months at Bible school have opened my eyes, and I like where things are heading. :)

In case you haven't caught the moral of the story, it's the old cliche "Be Yourself" one. And don't you dare take those words lightly. Can you imagine walking into a relationship believing that the guy will only like you if you're nothing but perfect? I can--and it's awful. It's exhausting walking through life on a path of eggshells. Be yourself. If you hate country music, let him know. If his jokes aren't funny, don't laugh. If he pressures you or disrespects you, don't be the girl that stuck around; run for your life and never return. If he only thinks you're beautiful with makeup on and a tight dress...then he has some serious issues. If he makes fun of your passion for tap-dancing and scarf-knitting, don't even consider giving those passions up just to please him. Be who you want to be, and do the things you want to do!

I like living in a school with 108 students because we're practically family. We've all seen each other on our worst days and on our very best and loveliest days. We've all seen each other without makeup, in our sweats, and our hair a train-wreck. In such tight quarters its impossible to hide your flaws or to pretend that you're perfect, and to have an embarrassing moment (or two) is inevitable. And despite all of this, we love each other even more for who we are! These past 3 months have also made me realize that not all guys out there are shallow. What a nice realization. :)

December 20, 2010

Singlehood.

"Well, i just say embrace your single-hood while it lasts! We're at a period in our life where we can like and flirt with whatever guy we want! (that is the shallow side). But at the same time, we can figure out what we want to do without the complication of thinking about what you as a couple are going to do with your lives. This is when you can figure out what YOU really want to do: where you want to live, where you want to go to school, what you want to take - whichever! Really embrace it because the right guy is going to come along when you're ready and you're going to look back at these times and see God's hand in your life, directing you to where he wants to take you. Plus think of it this way, after you find 'the one', you're never going to be single again. This is the only time of your life when you're going to be single, so just love it!"

And those, folks, were only the wisest words ever said! I really do know how to choose smart friends, don't I?

December 8, 2010

Idols.

I am listening to Norah Jones...and it is nothing short of wonderful.
Anyway, this mornings' lectures were about idols. Growing up with the words, "don't worship idols" dug into my ears, I had always brushed it off. I did this only because the word to me represented a tall, golden statue that somebody would bow down to in their backyard. And I knew with full confidence that I would rather do many, many, many others things than worship a statue. In other words, you will never ever see me worshipping a statue! Now that we've gotten that outta the way...haha...I would just like to share with you what an idol REALLY is. And idol is something that takes the place of Jesus in our hearts. It can be anything from money, your family, your boyfriend/girlfriend, your husband/wife, popularity, or fame. Ask yourselves the following questions, and answer them to yourselves honestly. The first things that come to your mind are your idols...

Where do I give my best effort?
Where do I go to first when I am in need?
What makes me angry or jealous if I don't get it?
What do I think of or talk about the most?
What is my life beginning to look like? (This question is important, since after time we begin to look and act like our idols)
What is the one thing I cannot let go of?
And last but not least...has this idol really even brought me satisfaction?

Answering these questions for myself, I know exactly what my idols are. Exactly...and I hate to admit it. I wish I could say that yes, I give my best effort to Jesus, I go to Jesus first when I am in need, I think about Jesus all the time, my life looks like Jesus' life, Jesus is the one thing I cannot let go of, and Jesus has indeed satisfied me.
The idols I hold onto so dearly are nothing but unhealthy and they bring me nothing but dissappointment. My idols are certain things, people, ideas, moments, memories, and desires; all of these things I wish I could just let go of. And I know that with constant prayer it will be possible!

An idol I would be willing to share with you guys is my obsession with music. When I am feeling sad, angry, lonely, or homesick, the first thing I do is avoid all contact with human beings, crawl into bed and cuddle up to my ipod. My sad feelings correlate with sad music, and my angry feelings correlate with angry music. Now, can anybody tell me how this can possibly help a person feel any better about their emotions? How could a sad song ever make a sad person feel better? Sigh sigh sigh. As I said before, with prayer and getting my priorities in order, I can overcome this idol, and all of the other idols I hold to me.

Jesus should be enough for us, just listen to this promise:
"Don't fall in love with money. Be satisfied with what you have. The Lord has promised that he will never leave us or desert us." (Hebrews 13:5)

December 7, 2010

Spilt.

"Everything on earth has its own time and its own season.
There is a time for birth and death, planting and reaping,
for killing and healing, destroying and building,
for crying and laughing, weeping and dancing,
for throwing stones and gathering stones,
embracing and parting.
There is a time for finding and losing, keeping and giving,
for tearing and sewing, listening and speaking.
There is also a time for love and hate, for war and peace."

"God makes everything happen at the right time. Yet none of us can ever fully understand all he has done, and he puts questions in our minds about the past and the future."

"Nothing on earth is more beautiful than the morning sun. Even if you live to a ripe old age, you should try to enjoy each day, because darkness will come and will last a long time. Nothing makes sense."

"Be cheerful and enjoy life while you are young! Do what you want and find pleasure in what you see. BUT, don't forget that God will judge you for everything you do."

"Rid yourself of all worry and pain, because the wonderful moments of youth quickly disappear."

The verses above all come from the chapter of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. To be honest, I have had alot of trouble concentrating during lecture time. Lately my mind is just heavy. Sigh sigh sigh, that's all I can do. Anyway, with this lack of concentration, I decided to read through the book of Ecclesiastes and...I fell in love. I have finally found a book of the Bible that I just want to read over and over again. The author doesn't just fill the pages with words of condemnation to the sinners of the world; rather, the author speaks of his own life and shares with us his many struggles in trying to find out the meaning of life. Thankfully enough, a conclusion is reached: "Everything you were taught can be put into a few words: Respect and obey God; this is what life is all about. God will judge everything we do, even what is done in secret, whether good or bad."

If I could, I would type out the whole book and post it as an entry. Hmm...maybe I should? Ha. But I do strongly encourage you to read through it.

Many things are going on right now: My little white macbook is no longer functioning, since water has been spilt on it. So these days I have to use the school' massive desktop computers, all the while wondering if ALL my pictures, music, and documents have been destroyed from my macbook's memory. Sigh sigh sigh. At least Christmas is around the corner...
As for school assignments, I have to more papers to write, and one more Bible verse memory test. With my laptop being done-zo, who knows if completing these papers will be possible.
A few weekends ago, I did Outreach, singing and hanging out with 38 German-speaking fourteen-year-olds. That was a growing experience, definitely. And I am glad I did it, definitely.
Last Sunday afternoon we had a Christmas party. This involved decorating thousands of sugar cookies with oodles of frosting and differint colored icing. Let's just say I did more eating than decorating... Then Sunday night my K-group and I indulged in American pancakes, along with Aunt Jemima, while wearing our pajamas, and playing stressful games.
Last night the whole entire school split into groups of 7-ish and went caroling around the whole town. Each group was given a specific street, a bucket of homemade cookies, calendars, and invites to our Christmas Concert night to hand out to each house. To my surprise and amazement, the people at every single house were extremely nice. Before we left to sing, we were under the impression and doors would be slammed and noses would be lifted, but we were blessed with smiles and an offer of Schnopps and 10 Euros. (Haha--don't worry, we accepted of the latter) Then when we arrived back at the school soaking wet and cold, (did I mentioned it rained the whole entire night, while there was snow on the ground? Talk about slush-filled streets, but an angel gave me an umbrella so I was completely dry. Hee hee.) the school cooks prepared hot bowls of stew for us. How wonderful!
Tomorrow evening the whole school is heading into Friedrichshafen to do some more singing at the Christmas market. I am super excited because apparently these Christmas markets are AWESOME.
Saturday evening is the school's Christmas concert, which I am performing a song for with 3 of my close friends. I don't want to brag or anything, but these people I am performing with are so incredibly talented with their voices, their violin, and their piano. Oh man. The song is called "Here With Us" by Joy Williams. Let me know if you've heard it before, 'cause it is absolutely beautiful!
Then Sunday my Outreach team is performing at a Sunday-morning church service! How exciting. Then Sunday evening we're having Christmas dinner with our K-groups!!
Then after our Christmas Banquet on the 17th, it will be officially Christmas Break!! I am so excited. And so far, these last two weeks are moving at a snails pace...Sigh sigh sigh.

I apologize for the messy entry, but I don't have much time for editing when I'm without a laptop.
Thank you for reading, and I am wondering if you could just pray for me. I can't explain it on here, but I just need some peace...comfort...love...yeah. Thanks ya'll.

November 30, 2010

Snap.

I'm gonna make this short.
But my mind is long.
It's heavy like freshly fallen snow on a coniferous branch about to snap.
When did living become so inequitable? <<--This is just a fancy way of saying, "life isn't fair, no?"

November 24, 2010

Happiness.

Dear Friends,
I just wanted to let ya’ll know that I’m an incredibly happy girl right now. No, nothing terribly exciting or extravagant has happened to me recently or anything…for instance, I’m not engaged, I’m not pregnant, I didn’t turn into Taylor Swift, I didn’t land my published book under the New York Times Bestseller List ect. In fact, this happiness is just the beautiful conclusion of all the little things coming together so perfectly. How do I even begin to describe it?
Last week things were kinda… (excuse my French) …crappy. It was a slow, and long seven days. I didn’t get enough sleep---believe me I tried, but this living-in-a-room-with-nine-other-girls-package-deal is tough business in the sleeping department. And not to mention, I still had to catch up on all the lost sleep from my travel weekend in Paris. Last week I encountered a few moments of homesickness, memories from the summer caught up to me and gave me a hard time (I’m sure the sad-song playlist on my Ipod enjoyed the company), and my insecurities got the best of me.
But this week…wow. My happiness is just indescribable; therefore, I will try my best to describe it. It’s just the relationships here. I kid you not, all 108 of us are family. And when one person is missing, it’s like one of our sisters or brothers has run away from home. And you can always tell when someone is absent, because everyone has such radiant and distinctive personalities. Even over the three days I was gone on travel weekend, I found myself missing everybody so much. SO much! Being away from here really made me realize how much this really does feel like home, and it is where I feel comfortable, and safe. And when we all reunited that Sunday evening, it was absolutely insane. There were so many hugs and stories and laughter, and it was just wonderful to be back. Except…that night I cried myself to sleep, which kicked off the beginning to my not-so-great-week.
Anyway, back to the main focus of this blog: happiness. I’m just making some great relationships here. Things are in depth, which was exactly what I’ve been praying for over these past few weeks (as I once blogged about before, and my sister was right when she said it’ll just take some time). And just to mention one random thing…I have guy friends. I actually have guy friends here! Back home, it’s unheard of; because where I live, it’s impossible to be just friends with a guy. Either he falls for me, or I fall for him, and it becomes one big awkward mess. Maybe it’s just a Canadian thing, I don’t know. But here, you don’t do anything stupid with each other, because you know that you’re gonna be living with that person for the next now…4 months. I love it.
Oh and tonight something great happened. But first I’ll give you some background information on this subject. The very first few days/weeks here at bible school, I hung out with these two amazing girls named Sarah and Jessica constantly. Together we are Sarah, Jessica, and Jennifer. (Can the names get anymore North-American than that? Haha) Then we decided, “hey, lets start an accountability group!” An accountability group is something like this: meet together once a week an hour before bedtime in an enclosed area, bring gifts of chocolate and candy, and just talk about the deep things that are heavy on our hearts, ending with prayer. We actually haven’t met all too often, because things have gotten incredibly busy and chaotic here, but when we do meet…sparks fly. I don’t know what it is, but I can just be my total self around them. And I’d say that tonight was our best meeting yet. Why was it your best meeting yet Jennifer, you ask? Because as we entered the ironing room (this was our last resort meeting place, after the library and the prayer room were in use) I told myself, “OK Jenni, you’re not feelin’ all too open right now. So you’re just gonna listen and be there for them, and not have to share anything on your part. Deal? Deal!” HA! We get in there, and I end up telling them my biggest insecurity (a subject that I brought up totally on my own)…an insecurity that I have unfortunately, let affect pretty much every aspect of my life. And sharing this is a HUGE deal, since I can literally count on less than one hand whom I’ve told this thing to throughout my 19 years of life here on earth. And the crazy weird thing is that I wasn’t afraid at all. It just slipped out like it was normal conversation. Lets pause and take a trip down memory lane, shall we? Two summers ago, I was talking on the phone in the middle of the night with this guy I liked. He was absolutely convinced I was perfect. And I knew there was only one way to convince him right then and there that I was far from perfect---and that was to tell him my biggest insecurity. But I was scared to death because first of all, I had never told anyone before him, and second of all, I was scared of being rejected from that moment on. And the thing is, is that today, admitting this insecurity to my friends Sarah and Jessica, was SO easy. (I’m not sayin’ that the guy rejected me or anything, in fact he tried engraving it into my mind that it was no big deal at all) I mean, today my palms weren’t sweating, my heart wasn’t racing, and most importantly, I wasn’t afraid that they would view me any differently or reject me as a friend after that. I had this strange confidence and faith (God) that they would still love me for who I am, and that this “big” insecurity of mine, really is like he told me, no big deal at all. And having talks like these and knowing that I’ll never be rejected for my insecurities definitely carries out into other relationships I have with people, causing me to radiate with confidence. I loved tonight. I loved being comfortable. I loved sharing and listening. I loved being myself. I loved not being afraid. I loved being loved for exactly who I am. I loved knowing that I’m on the road to two healthy and very fulfilling life-long friendships.
This entry definitely doesn’t do tonight’s’ experience any justice, but I tried my best and I hope it shows how God has been working in my life over these past few years. It feels so great to look back and to realize how much I’ve actually grown, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog entry. ;) Good night and God bless.

November 23, 2010

Three Letters.

Here's just a little something creative I wrote today; I began with writing three different letters to three different people. Then I took lines from each of them and mixed them all together, creating something incredibly messy and untranslatable out of it...kind of like what the inside of my brain looks like on a daily basis.

You’re on my mind, and it’s not fair.
I don’t know where to start,
If your sweet eyes were starin’ right into mine,
I don't think I could finish this.
Your smile sets me on contagious fire,
Everyime you walk into the room.
Even though time has passed, I don’t think a thing has changed.
No, nothing’s changed.
I love the way you didn’t take no for an answer,
And I’ll never forget how all you ever did were the right things.
Your hands look perfect enough to hold,
There’s nothin’ wrong with me and my trailing mind.
You poured out your heart to me, and had me convinced.
So I gave in and let you in.
If it hurts too much to go back, then listen to my apology.
I’m sorry I hurt you, but I just wanted for you too know,
If our hearts got lost in this world,
I’d hope it’s yours I’d find.
It’s hard thinking of you these days, but oh it comes so easily.
Boy, you sure know how to make a girl feel special.
You picked me up when you said you would,
And as we took the dirt roads home, you said, “see you again?”
All I could do was wish it was him saying those words to me.
I ran inside and cried for hours on my bed.
You’re different from the last one,
Better in every single way.
But I guess all of that just wasn’t enough,
I guess I’ll never be as perfect as her and her pedestal.
It’s not fair to me; it’s not fair to you.
Here, I was staring at perfection and all I could think about was him.
And boy you always know the right thing to say.
So don’t be afraid to make your move,
Can’t you see me waiting?
Boy, I’ll be your ray of sunshine,
If you’ll be my lovin’ superman.

November 20, 2010

Never Grow Up.

Your little hand's wrapped around my finger
And it's so quiet in the world tonight
Your little eyelids flutter cause you're dreaming
So I tuck you in, turn on your favorite night light
To you everything's funny, you got nothing to regret
I'd give all I have, honey
If you could stay like that

Oh darling, don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up, just stay this little
Oh darling, don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up, it could stay this simple
I won't let nobody hurt you, won't let no one break your heart
And no one will desert you
Just try to never grow up, never grow up

You're in the car on the way to the movies
And you're mortified your mom's dropping you off
At 14 there's just so much you can't do
And you can't wait to move out someday and call your own shots
But don't make her drop you off around the block
Remember that she's getting older too
And don't lose the way that you dance around in your pj's getting ready for school

Oh darling, don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up, just stay this little
Oh darling, don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up, it could stay this simple
No one's ever burned you, nothing's ever left you scarred
And even though you want to, just try to never grow up

Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room
Memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all your little brother's favorite songs
I just realized everything I have is someday gonna be gone

So here I am in my new apartment
In a big city, they just dropped me off
It's so much colder that I thought it would be
So I tuck myself in and turn my night light on

Wish I'd never grown up
I wish I'd never grown up

Oh I don't wanna grow up, wish I'd never grown up
I could still be little
Oh I don't wanna grow up, wish I'd never grown up
It could still be simple
Oh darling, don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up, just stay this little
Oh darling, don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up, it could stay this simple

-Taylor Swift

November 17, 2010

Yassir's Story.

For the three lectures this morning we had a guest speaker named Yassir talk with us (I apologize deeply if my spelling is way off). Yassir was born in Sudan and grew up as a fanatic Muslim. Miraculously, he ended up converting to Christianity and now lives as a pastor in Germany with his wife and kids. He shared the most amazing story with us, the story of his life. To be honest, it was one of the most incredible testimonies I had ever heard, and I have a really strong desire to share it with you guys…at least the shorter, less detailed, “Gee, I sure hope I listened correctly and got all of my facts straight!” version of it:

As a child, Yassir was born into a Muslim family in the country of Sudan and memorized the Qur’an at an early age, like every other Muslim child. Allah, the God of the Qur’an was his motivation, and he’d do anything for him. In college he ended up sitting next to a kid named Zachariah; now, Yassir absolutely hated this guy because he was a Christian. And as we all know, Christians and Muslims do not mix well, because of their theology respectively. Zachariah suffered terribly because of Yassir and his Muslim friends. One night after class, Yassir and his friends hid up on the branches of a tree, and when Zachariah was walking beneath, they jumped and began beating him. With Allah as their goal and God they broke his bones, they bruised him, and they caused his blood to spill. Without a reason or a thought, Yassir told his friends to stop; so they fled the scene and Zachariah was left there under the tree, closer to death than ever.
Later Yassir’s uncle, the minister of finance for the government was ordered to attend a Christian church service to kill the pastor. He entered the church and sat down in the back row with a pistol in the right pocket of his jacket; he was ready to fulfill his duty. As the service went on, Uncle began to actually listen to what the pastor was saying. He was preaching on Acts Chapter 9 about how Saul was threatening to kill all of the Lord’s followers. And all Uncle could think was, “What? How did this pastor know me? How does he know my story? How is it possible that he knew I was here to kill him?” So after the service, Uncle approached the pastor and asked him these same questions. The pastor replied with, “Sir, this was simply a story from the Bible, the written word of God.” Together they ended up flipped through pages of the Bible and talking for hours. Uncle’s heart was changed, he began to see the beauty of who God was, a God of love. He converted from Muslim to Christianity that day. When Yassir’s whole family heard about this, they were furious and knew that the only thing they could do was kill Uncle. In their eyes, killing Uncle and saving him from living life as a Christian was seen as an act of love. But Yassir felt a much deeper love for his uncle and desperately wanted to change him back to Muslim, so he thought that the only way to do this was to study the Bible just as hard as he studied the Qur’an. It turns out that this was the best idea that he’s ever had, since the word of God ended up changing him from the inside out. Yassir was amazed at the story of salvation: how God sent his only son to die on the cross, as a sacrifice for all of our sins. Yassir fell in love with God, and became a Christian with his uncle.
After telling this good news to his family, they disowned them. His father said, “You are no longer my son.” His family dug a hole into the desert ground, placed a rectangular box in it, and with a funeral service, pronounced Yassir dead. Because of Yassir’s conversion to Christianity, he was dead to his family. After Yassir lost everything he’d ever known, Jesus turned his life around. He moved to Germany where, like I stated before, met a German woman, fell in love, had children together, and became a pastor. An amazing ending to this testimony is that just two years ago, he went to a church in Egypt and was talking with a man there. The man said, “Yassir, do you remember who I am?” Looking a little closer Yassir knew. It was Zachariah. Zachariah continued, “I have been praying for you everyday, Yassir. I have been praying that you would one day open your heart to God.” After almost having killed Zachariah 15 years ago, by the grace of God, Yassir was able to ask for forgiveness. And with a brotherly embrace, the slate was wiped clean. Only God could arrange a meeting like that, and answer prayers like that.

After the lecture I sat there, completely awestruck. I was fascinated. If Yassir’s uncle wouldn’t have been given orders to kill that pastor, converted to Christianity, and if Yassir wouldn’t have been kicked out of his father’s household and wouldn’t have moved to Germany, then I never would have heard this amazing story. If none of this would have happened, I would still be left here oblivious, in the dark, drowning in a sea of my own useless problems. Yassir’s story changed my life. I couldn’t believe that a man with such an intense, crazy life was standing in the same room as me. Listening to his story was like watching a thrilling, action-packed movie. It’s absolutely incredible how God can use lives to connect and share stories.

Now all I can think is that there is a whole part of the world I have absolutely no clue about. There are young children growing up with the mindset that killing thousands of innocent people is what is lovely to their Allah’s eyes. Fortunately, Yassir didn’t just leave us with a story; He left us with as much insight into Islam culture as he could fit into three hours. I learned that 1/5 of the world’s population is Muslim. Therefore to Christians, they are our generations’ challenge. I learned the five pillars of Islam (confession of faith, prayer, giving money/possessions, fasting, and pilgrimage to Mecca). I learned that their relationship with Allah is nothing close to personal. They are slaves to their God, while Christians are children of their God. There is a huge difference between these two. Yassir also provided us with examples of how to practically approach this culture.

Yassir ended the session with one final request: please pray for the Muslims. As I learned in Yassir’s story, prayer is so incredibly powerful. Zachariah’s daily prayer for Yassir changed Yassir’s life, and in turn, it changed my life. I’ll bet Zachariah anything that he had no idea Yassir would one day be telling his story to a bunch of silly college students in Germany. Amazing, isn’t it? What I learned today is so heavy on my heart right now, and I just want to encourage to whoever’s reading this that there are so many lost people in the world, and it’s not at all a hopeless case. God answers prayers; he is capable of anything. And we also need to be thankful that we grew up in families, homes, cities, and countries where we aren’t persecuted for our faith. Can you imagine being disowned by your own family for being a follower of Christ? Can you imagine being beaten by your classmates because of your love of God? No…I can’t imagine it, and for that I’m so incredibly thankful.

Pray.

November 16, 2010

Makeup.

"I don't wear makeup, because I've never wanted for it to become my crutch. I don't want it to be the source of my beauty."

Wow. I honestly feel an incredible amount of pity for the girls who need to wear makeup in order to feel beautiful. No girl needs makeup to be beautiful, she already is.

November 15, 2010

Insides.

Oh dear. So much has happened during these past few days, and it all begins last Tuesday. Therefore, I shall start there…at the beginning. On Tuesday after the morning lectures, we were given the details about the Day of Silence that was to come the following day. The Day of Silence is where we were to be given a total of six hours to be completely silent before the Lord. We could go wherever we wanted, and do whatever we wanted in order to find a way to reflect and pray the best we could. I was looking forward to this day like it was Christmas or something! The thought of everyone being silent is simply just a dream come true; I love quiet. Then we were told that after the six hours of silence, there would be an evening service, a time for sharing thoughts, experiences, testimonies, and also communion. Immediately my heart started pounding, and I knew exactly what that meant.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about myself these past few months, it’s that if God wants me to do something, if God wants to get my attention, he will make my heart beat faster and faster. It’s physically unexplainable; I mean, hearts don’t just start pounding on command like that. So when He got a hold of my heart that Tuesday, I knew that at the Wednesday evening service, I was going to share my testimony. I just knew it; it was as if I could see into the future, and that’s a pretty cool feeling.

I went to bed with that nervous feeling lingering at the pit of my stomach. The next day at lunch I could barely eat, and ended up leaving the table early because I just…had to. I spent my six hours of silence in my bed. I hung up my big pink towel above me, creating a cozy little dark safe space. I pulled out my laptop and began writing out my testimony. Although I had written it out many times before, I wanted to use this as an opportunity to sort out my thoughts. At that point I didn’t care how grammatically incorrect it was, for once perfection wasn’t screaming in my ears, I just wrote. Then I fell asleep, and napped for probably the…second time in my life. Surprisingly at supper, I was able to eat large sufficient amounts and even encouraged one of my friends to apply to “The Shelter” ministry in Israel. I really hope she takes it.

Anyway, at the Wednesday evening service I sat myself down in the centre of the second row—one of the most opportune places to sit when you’re preparing to share. One person went up. Then another. Then another, and another, and again, and again. I couldn’t bear the thought of missing this opportunity, so when another moment of silence passed by, God put strength to my legs and I stood up. I walked past the few in my row and walked to the very front of the room. As I picked up the microphone, I could feel all eyes on me. These moments are absolutely insane for me, since having all attention on me is a very rare occasion, which I am absolutely OK with. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, I talked. I shared. I spoke slow. I breathed slow. For the first time in my life, I didn’t care how awkward my sentences sounded, or how awkward I arranged my words. At one part of my story my voice started shaking and I could have cried, but being the tough cookie I am, I didn’t. My favorite part of being up there was seeing all of the faces staring up at me. I remember their encouraging stares like I had taken still photographs of them.

When I sat back down my face turned beat red and my friends beside me were wonderful. My perfectionist personality kicked in and I started thinking of all the things I forgot to say, and what I could’ve said differently. But it’s good to remember that whatever I said, was meant to be said. God had it all planned out from the beginning, didn’t he?

It feels good to have shared. I feel like people know a little more about me and my family and that I’m not just a total mystery anymore. To this very day, I still have people coming up to me and thanking me for sharing. I appreciate it more than they know.

So, I went to Paris last weekend. I’d really love to tell ya’ll all about it, but I’m sorry…I’m just not in the mood. Worst excuse ever, right? I feel like I can only write about one thing right now, and it’s that I’m just not feeling the greatest. Don’t get me wrong, I had the best weekend ever, and believe it or not, it was a huge spiritually growing experience. But right now, I just don’t know how much I can say on here without putting too much attention on myself or making people worried about me. I’m not sure how to explain it without putting it too lightly, or putting it too heavily. I don’t know what else I can say other than the fact that my insides hurt. I don’t know how to be content. I don’t know how to love others. I don’t know how to trust. I don’t know how to take the walls down. I don’t know how to possibly even love myself and to be myself. I don’t know how to write out my true feelings without the fear of being called a hypocrite Christian—-"has Bible school not taught you anything about God’s love?"

Again, my insides hurt.

November 8, 2010

Box.

It is extremely difficult to even attempt blogging when I have Taylor Swift ringin' in my ears. You should have seen me last week when I was trying to write my Pentateuch paper, all I wanted to write down were her lyrics. (I am not obsessed, I swear...)

I realized that I always come up with realizations, and enjoying sharing them with you. My new realization is that if you need to cry, then just do it. Why hold back? After church just slip under the covers and let the silent tears roll. It feels nice. I stumbled upon the realization only because this past week has been a battle ground within my mind, and many things have hit me all at once. The memories that I thought I had left wrapped-up tight inside a box back home has somehow mailed itself here. My fingers tore the tape and opened the box without my consent. But sometimes I have convinced myself that even if my fingers had been polite enough to hear me out, I never would have stopped them from moving. So I cried, big deal. It's not as if this is the first time I've admitted something like that before. It was quite funny actually. I did the deed, and then I felt 20 millions times better and ended up having the best day ever after!

That wonderful Sunday evening, my K-group (small group) and I indulged in "stick bread". It's bread dough that you wrap around a stick and then bake it over the fire outside. THEN while the breads' still hot you fill it with chunks of white Milka chocolate, Milka milk chocolate, Kinder Duo bars, Nutella, (and sometimes even jam for you fruit lovers), and then while you eat it, the chocolate oozes out all over your hands and it's just an all-together wonderful experience. I will admit though that it was freakishly rainy and windy yesterday evening, so we had to bake the bread in the oven, and eat the bread sitting around a coffee-table full of candles! You'd think that this would have been the best part of the evening, but the best part was our "Ask Anything" time. We went around in a circle and just asked anyone anything. I realized that I remind some others of Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter, and that I had my whole school convinced that I had a boyfriend back home all because of the photo I put on my door. I realized that love does exist even after nine years of marriage. I realized that even the most confident-seeming of people are really just as lost as I am. I realized that hearing about somebody being lead to Christ is one of those most spectacular stories that could ever be told.

Then all the girls in my 10-room laid out our mattresses on the floor and had one big sleepover. I ended up falling asleep at nearly half past 12. (That is super late for me these days!) It was a great finish to the weekend. Oh, I forgot to mention that a huge group of us spent our Saturday at the thermal bath. Mmmm! On impulse I decided to take on the waterslide backwards and ended up hitting my head on the side of the slide, leaving me with a souvenir bruise. Good times.

November 6, 2010

Gold.

This is just a part of something I wrote in the summer, and I just thought I'd share it:

So forgive me, for letting you believe that you made me cry.
Forgive me, for convincing you that you’re the reason why I’m this way.
Forgive me, for ever making you think that I would have given everything up.
For inside of me is a heart weaved of lace; this is my heart, the heart of a dreamer.
You can forgive me or you can pity me,
but most of all, you can remember that this heart is mine,
and it’s as heavy as gold.
One day you’ll understand; one day you’ll see,
that it takes more than enough strength to hold.

November 2, 2010

Oceans Away.

Yesterday was a beautiful day. It wasn’t too sunny, and it wasn’t too cloudy. There was a slight cooling breeze and the autumn air was filling my every inhale. “This plus 15 degrees Celsius makes for perfect running weather.” I thought to myself. I put on my Adidas, grabbed my iPod and ran for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Yes, no need to check your vision, and no need to dust off the screen. I ran for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Can we all just let that soak in? The longest I’ve ever ran is 1 hour and 5 minutes, so 5 minutes longer than that is a big deal!

Have you ever heard something said about you, or to you, so many times that you eventually just start to believe it? This can be a good thing; or it can be a negative thing.
If somebody compliments me, I beam for hours and my day is instantly brightened. If somebody insults me, it dwells in my mind for months, even years. Why is that? It’s so stupid. It can even get to the point where I can’t even hold a conversation because I’m so convinced that I know exactly what they’re thinking about me. Negative, confidence-killing thoughts pulse through me. Everything is psychological; and everything is an assumption. It makes me hate the person who said those words, and it even makes me hate myself. I hate it. I hate hating things. And I hate that I know that I hate hating things. Hate is a strong word, and I’ve never been one for strength.

Last night wasn’t so nice. Since I’m working on vulnerability with my blog I’m going to share with you as to why it wasn’t so swell As most of you know, last year I attended university and lived in a dorm with some of the most wonderful girls in the world. It was my first dorm experience, my first moving away experience, and my first university experience. And like a first love, I’ll never forget it. And last night, everything about my 8 short months at university came flooding back to me. I lay in bed with wet eyes and a wanting heart. I wanted it back. I wanted those best friends back. They knew everything about me, everything, my past, my present, and my future. They understood my insecurities, they encouraged my dreams, and they were just so real. I never had to pretend I was something I wasn’t with them and I never felt anything from them but God’s love. What I miss most are all the times we’d just lie in my bed and talk for hours. They’re oceans and miles away and last night, they felt too far away. Last night it felt like world split in two and we were on separate halves. To be honest, I was wondering when it was going to hit me, and after an insane game of Pictionary, it was the last thing I was expecting.
Here, things are much different. I haven’t experienced culture shock. In fact, I think I’m living through relationship/people shock. I feel like nothing’s clicking just quite yet, and I feel like I’m physically here, but my past and my stories are unseen to others. I feel like I’m just a walking mystery. And sometimes, I don't want to let people in; sometimes being a complete mystery is totally OK with me. Sometimes these walls are as comfortable as a blanket around me. I don’t know what to do. On the bright side, things are developing slowly, but almost too slowly. I know I should be patient, but it’s hard. I’m tired—maybe I should quit going for 1 hour jogs. And this gloomy, gray weather is just…sigh. What is this I’m feeling?

I never ever want to take people for granted ever again. Is that too much to ask?

October 31, 2010

Hold The Pen.

Today was Sunday.

Everyone got an extra hour of sleep because of the whole “push your clocks back one hour” deal, so this morning at church we were all in pretty good and rowdy moods. Today was the first day where I actually felt completely rested too. After church and lunch, I ran up to the tea room and poured boiling water into my hot water bottle and hung out in the Honeycomb (lounge) for like…four hours. It was nothing short of awesome. I talked with so many different people today, it was great. I even memorized two of my memory verses and said them to staff members! Usually at this time in the evening we have a lecture, a social event, or a show, or something. But this evening is totally free and open-ended; I decided to take this time to blog while listening to Taylor Swift’s new album online. :)
What I loved most about today is admitting to a whole table of people that my dream is to write a book one day. To be honest, I always feel silly when I spill this because it’s almost like saying “I’m gonna land a record deal and begin touring in the fall”. It almost sounds unreachable. It’s like one of those dreams where people react with snorting and eye-rolling gestures. But here at this table, nobody did that. Everyone replied with their own cool’s! and awesome’s! and offered so much encouragement and advice.
It felt nice to be real and to be listened to. To declare and verbalize what your ambitions are is like opening a window to your soul, because your dreams define who you are as a person.
I can’t imagine landing myself in a career where I have to work for myself, or for the money. I want to help people; I want for it to count, and I want to love every minute of it. I hope you understand what I mean, because if I can’t communicate in writing, I don’t know how else I could communicate.
If you still can’t make sense of what I’m saying about my dream, then I’m going to be completely blunt and completely straightforward about this: I want to write for the rest of my life; I want to write books for teenage girls and to reach out to them the same way these books reached out to me. But, I want God to hold the pen. I think he can work through me. Nah, I don’t think, I know he can work through me. And I can’t see myself doing anything else but writing.
And as for my ultimate most impractical dream…I’d want to travel the world, and write about it every train ride, boat ride, and step of the way. Ahh! It just makes me so happy to even imagine it. If somebody asked me, “hey jenni, would you rather fall in love with the man of your dreams, or travel the world for the rest of your life?” I wouldn’t know what to say. Is that crazy? And I call this dream impractical only because it costs to travel, especially if you travel my style with your only investments being in food, chocolate, postcards, ice cream, and train tickets.
So right now I’m just trying not to freak myself out about what I’m going to do for the rest of my life, or even next year! The last thing I want to do is waste my time stressing about my future when I’m living in freaking Europe. Europe! Has it hit me yet, that I’m currently residing in such a lovely geographical location? Nope, not at all.
I actually spend a lot of time asking God what he has willed for my life, but he hasn’t really been replying to my emails…But I do know that he hears me, since I’ve never gotten one of those “return to sender” messages…
OK...Jenni is getting delirious and needs to leave before she embarrasses herself any more. If any of you have some advice for me and my dreams, I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading, and good night!

October 30, 2010

Content.


Have you ever felt content? Like just satisfyingly content? I’m laying beneath my peach-toned duvet, with my “Germany” playlist (strictly Jon Foreman, Taylor Swift, Vanessa Carlton, Miranda Lambert, David Nail, and Chuck Wicks) resounding in my ears, a fleecy hot water bottle caressing my bare feet, and European mineral water engraved in my lips. Yes, I am content. You may ask, how can this be, with your unwashed hair, your excess fat lining the waist of your jeans, your tired eyes, and your cold, dry skin? You’re not in love, you haven’t won an award or trophy for your talents, you haven’t folded your clothes in awhile, and you find yourself trekking through Italy, India, and Indonesia during lecture classes. How could you possibly be content?
Well, I answer. It’s simply this: I don’t need all of those things to feel joy splashing about in my veins. I don’t need attention from masculine souls to be happy, and sometimes getting enough sleep and exercise just doesn’t cut it. What I’ve found is that like the Beatles once exclaimed…all you need is love. Yep. That’s it. All you really do need is love! Love the people you love, do what you love to do, and be who you love to be.
Love the people you love: Everyday I’m gradually beginning to grasp my wish-list of the kinds of people I want in my life, and the reasons why I love them. And everyday it’s safe to say that I’m checking off this wish-list with the encounters of acquaintances and all the while developing deeper friendships. I’ve also kept in a corner of my mind the ones who live an ocean apart from me, who are the ones I’ve loved my whole life, and are the ones who have in return loved me. I miss them. I love them. And I’m counting down the days until Christmas when I get to be with them again. (50 days!)
Do what you love to do: These days I’m living in a land of euphoria, because I’m doing what I love to do. I’m drawing. I’m painting. I’m writing. I’m reading (The Bible, a missionary biography, a fine piece by Robin Jones Gunn, and Eat Pray Love). I’m blogging. My work duty has been promoted from dining-hall floor-vacuumer, to kitchen vegetable prep girl (I cut oodles of lettuce, dice tomatoes, core apples, and peel onions until I’m standing in a puddle of stinging tears and my hands smell “oniony” for the next seven days.) I’m jumping onto random buses and indulging in salami pizza with wonderful people. I’m finding little soul-mate treasures at German flea markets. I’m singing. I’m walking cobblestone streets. I’m playing basketball (horribly). I’m stargazing. I’m learning how to say hello/good day/good morning/good afternoon/good evening in Korean (An Nyung Ha Se Ho)! I’m buying little pins to add to my pin collection, which is portrayed on my fringe purse. I’m sending out I Wish You Were Here’s with letters and postcards. I’m eating chocolate every single day. I can’t remember the last time I cried out of sadness. But most of all, I’m learning more and more about Jesus.
And be who you want to be: This has always been a struggle for me. Many times, being myself hasn’t been good enough for my standards. So I’ve tried to be someone else; I’ve tried tipping the scale to the extroverted side. Being loud and chatty wasn’t for me, or me. Being overwhelmingly outgoing wasn’t for me, or me. I’ve pretended to like things I didn’t really like, and I’ve done things that I could’ve done without. I’ve feared rejection and failure to the point of living like a cabbage, you know how it is, if you don’t try then you’ll be sure to never fail, so don’t try. –Cue slap in the face, bucket of ice cold water, and hard brick wall- What’s the use living like that? These recent handprints, ice cubes, and structured rock piles have done me good.
Brunch is in t-minus 5 minutes. Happy Saturday!

October 19, 2010

Silent, or Spoken.

It’s 3:23 in the afternoon and I’m sitting in the school library. I seem to have a certain love for libraries, especially this one. The minute you walk in your nostrils are flooded with the thick scent of old pages and bent spines, and this tiny four-walled room is lit with white sunlight pouring in through the windows. But, the real reason I love this room most, is because it puts thoughts in my head…thoughts of peace, tranquility, and drive. This room inspires me to no end. When I sit in this chair with my forearms upon this desk, all I want to do is write, and all I care about is letters, words, or silly feelings and dreams sprawled across thin paper. When I sit in this chair, time means nothing to me; its ticking notion is but a distant memory in the corner of my mind. When I sit in this chair, I don’t remember where I am, nor do I even care.


So now that I’m in such a place at this very moment in time, with Jon Foreman singing in my ears, I’m going to admit to you that good things are happening. I feel like I’m gradually growing. Slowly, steadily, and at a snails pace, one might say. Especially in my faith, and especially in my confidence.

If there’s one thing I’ve never told anyone other than my own soul, it’s that I’ve always had a problem with praying aloud. Out loud. I remember back in my Sunday school days, when the teacher would ask for volunteers to pray for the class, I’d always hide in my seat and cringe. Just the mere thought of hearing my own voice speaking to thin air, with everybody’s ears tuned in my direction, was pure torture. I don’t know if I could blame it on my own psychological differences, or just on my environment, since every other kid in the class hid their own faces as well; as if we planned to synchronize our fearful bodies to slide beneath the table. I grew up believing that this uniformed act was normal. Even with my own friends, the thought of prayer was non-existent. Sure, we were in constant prayer with God while we were together, but physically praying together just wasn’t something that you did with your friends. In my mind I developed the belief that prayer was the epitome of personal; it’s a conversation between your mind, and Jesus Christ.

Then when my first year at university came around, it hit me like a brick wall. During our dorm meetings, our concerts, our classrooms, I couldn’t believe how eagerly most people were to pray out loud for their fellow colleagues. And as much as I hate to admit it, my initial reaction was, “really? What’s wrong with you? Why would you even want to do such a thing?” When I attended a prayer night at this university, I can’t even recall ever speaking a word within my small group; I just couldn’t bring myself to pray out loud, with my voice and with my lips. Nonetheless, I sat still in silent prayer and wearing listening ears. When my best friend pulled me aside, embraced me, and started praying for me, all I could do was cry. Even though she was my best friend, and so very comfortable with her, I just couldn’t pray any words back to her.

These experiences left me feeling spiritually empty. I always wondered why God never gave me the desire to pray out loud for people, and with people; with my own family and friends. This spiritual desert then drained my every being into a pool of low self-esteem. When I heard beautiful prayers of poetry, like silk coming from their lips, and passion beyond belief, I convinced myself that even if I did try to pray aloud, it would be simply awful. Hearing my sandpaper sentences against their silk speeches was something I’d never want to risk. And that my friends, is what I call lack of confidence.

I then came to Bible school in Germany. I would absolutely love to write that my confidence is now skyrocketing through the roof and that I’m the official prayer leader for Sunday morning worship, but that would be a lie. My confidence is not skyrocketing through the roof, and I’m definitely not the official prayer leader for the Sunday morning worship service. But what I can truthfully exclaim to the world is that I’m no longer finding confidence in myself, but in Jesus who lives inside of me. With his confidence, I am doing things I never could’ve pictured myself doing in a million years. I have voluntarily prayed out loud in front of my peers, knowing that my “sandpaper sentences” are sandpaper sentences from God. I have also joined a sing team, where recently I’ve been forcing myself to sing out loud in front of others, at times by myself. And with this sing team, when we go on outreaches I may have to say my testimony standing at the front of a church. I’m doing all of these things that I can’t believe I’m doing.

I wish I could tread through this topic more, but my sense of academic responsibility is kicking in. What I’d like to end with is that it doesn’t matter what you’re prayer sounds like. I’ve always had a problem with caring too much about what people thought of me, so I just need to remind myself that it doesn’t matter what language you speak, how charismatic you are, or the number of descriptive and gorgeous words you can fit into your speech; what matters is making sure your heart is in it. God knows your heart, and he hears your prayers, silent or spoken.

October 14, 2010

Thai Food & Paris Awaiting.

Today was such an awesome day. After three amazing lectures this morning, I skipped our usual free lunches, and went for Thai food with a friend. There's this delicious thai restaurant just down the street from the school. Our first choice was to indulge ourselves in french-fry pizza (yes, cheese pizza covered in french fries, you heard right!!!) but Germany has such weird hours for restaurants. Most only open at 5 PM. But this Thai place was open and it was the perfect place for some much needed, one-on-one, girl-talk.

To be honest, (does anyone else feel like I use that phrase alot? "to be honest?" Ah well, I guess I'm just an honest person) here at this school you meet so many people in so few days, that alot of the relationships are more on the...shallow side. Now, please don't misunderstand or misquote me. What I mean is that with most people, not all, but with most, the conversations consist of "dude, let's bike to Kaufland " or "what are you doing for travel weekend?" or "how about that lecture?!?" Other than our K-group meetings (small-groups) testimony sharing nights, late night bedroom talks, there's not much opportunity for intimate moments with people. There's always things to do, books to read, or places to see. Everyone, including myself is so caught up in trying to see everyone, and do everything that it's easy to just leave....depth out of conversations.

So what I'm getting at, is that this one-on-one girl talk I had at this Thai restaurant was absolutely amazing. We talked about so many things, that were actually DEEP and heart-filled. It was absolutely wonderful. I love learning about other people and their life stories. I have been craving this amount of depth for quite a long time, and I still am. I hope this is making sense.

I'm pumped that I had a chance to blog tonight! That makes me happy. I love keeping in touch with ya'll.
Oh one last ounce of news, we're offered a "Travel Weekend" in November and then again in the spring. Which is where we can choose to go anywhere in the world we want to, and I am going...to...PARIS!!!

How will I ever sleep tonight? :)

October 13, 2010

Astronomical Grace

I don't even know what to say. There's so much on my mind these days. The lectures spoken by Peter Reid are...amazing. Absolutely amazing. I learn something one minute, prepare to soak it all in, and then I'm bombarded with more words of wisdom. It's almost overwhelming...but it's a good kind of overwhelming. If that makes sense. I think I'm gonna start putting some of these things I'm learning on this blog.


Last night after dinner, something upset me. I'm not gonna get into, but I walked into lectures with a terrible mindset. One that said, "I'm gonna sit here, slouching in my seat. I'm not gonna write a thing down, because I just don't feel like it. Pffff!" Eventually I started pickin' up my pen and my posture, but only because I felt that it would look better, or more aesthetically appealing, and that I may as well just suck it up. Vain? Yes.

Then the teacher showed us a 43 minute clip on the projector. It was called "Indescribable" --a sermon preached by a man named Louie Giglio. Even though I had seen this video once before from my sunday school days, it still blew my mind. And to be honest, my mindset changed in a snap. His sermon was like a slap in the face, reminding me how small I really am, along with my problems, and how big God is. To put it boldly, God is HUGE. In the video Louie shows the very first picture ever taken of our planet earth. It's gorgeous, it's beautiful. Then he shows us a picture of the milky way, the galaxy in which our earth sits. Then he shows a picture of what our galaxy is sitting in. Then he showed a picture of something so amazing that I'm not even gonna try and describe it on this blog. Immediately I shook my head. What a fool I am for believing for even a second that my problems could even compare to something like that. What was bothering me before lectures, didn't mean a thing to me after this video. I felt like screaming to the whole world: Um, excuse me, but we are all just mere specks of dust in God's amazing creation!!

But what really gets me, is the fact that even though I feel so extremely small, along with my problems, concerns, issues, fears, and worries..is that God actually cares about them. He actually CARES. "You have kept record of my days of wandering; you have stored my tears in your bottle and have counted each of them." Psalm 56:8 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible, because it reminds me of his love for me. Me and You.

I want to encourage to whoever is reading this, to watch that video (I'd link it to here, but Youtube is blocked here), and just let it be reminder to you. Or maybe let it even be a revolution to you. The stars in the sky are an example of God's astronomical grace. I mean, how could you look at sights like the stars, the sun, the moon, even the Swiss Alps and not believe that there was a creator?

Love Jenny.

October 10, 2010

10K Part Two

So...about that 10K race...

I RAN THE WHOLE THING!!!!!!
Oh man, I have never felt so accomplished in my life. I seriously could have ran another 10K after that, I felt so good.
Like, what an experience, running a 10K race in some little German town! Wow!
The scenery was gorgeous. We ran down cobblestone streets, weaving past little shutter-windowed houses,  in the grass, through a lovely aroma-filled meadow, I saw the tallest corn field in the world, and all the german citizens were cheering us on. At the end of the race they gave us hot tea in little plastic cups.
I recommend 10K races to EVERYONE. I officially love running.
I mean, if I can run 10K in one hour and five minutes, anyone can. :D