Is there anyone truly happy in the world?

Does Christianity truly make a difference?

Because it seems that everyone I've thought was happy, healthy, whole, and functional... well, they turn out not to be.

Where's that abundant life I've heard about? Where's the joy?

Why does everyone hurt so bad?

And isn't there something someone can do about it?
Sometimes, when I see ministries that offer help for people who've been hurt like I am, I feel this great wave of longing sweep over me...

I can't tell if it's longing to be healed, or a longing to help heal others.

I think it's a mix of both.

Oh, how I'd love to find a place where I could do both at once.

God, am I where you want me? Lead me, please....

...because when I see this or this, the burning in my breast begins, and I am no longer content with where I am.

... any other way.

Have you ever been rather certain of something, and yet you do not want to advertise the certain-ness for fear that you are not, in fact, totally certain, and that you will end up looking like a fool?

Yup, I'm in that quandary. I'm praying and praying that God will guide me, show me whether this certainty stems from him or from my own misguided ideas, and, well, I know I'll be making up my mind soon one way or another. I know myself- I'm not one for protracted examination of... anything. I make decisions fast. (Relatively.) My dad, now, he'll research something into the ground before he makes a decision. I'm better about researching my decisions now than I ever was before. But I'm still a rather rapid decision maker. I'll agonize over my choices intensely, but when I come to a decision, I want to get on with things. NOW! lol

Anyway, that's just a private storm brewing in the recesses of my mind. I'll probably have made my mental choice one way or another (for now) by this time next week.

Ahhh... don't you wish you knew what I was alluding to? :)

J's right. I'm impulsive. I swing from one thing to another quickly. Is that a bad thing?

I just feel something in the air... change. It's coming. Something is going to change, in a big way, and soon. I don't know what it is, but I feel it coming. God's preparing me for... something.

In a way, I'm trepidatious, like, "Does this mean that I'm not going to be able to do my support group after all? After setting everything up? Or does it mean that I'm only going to be able to do it for a few months? Isn't that technically failure?"

Because here I've thought that the very fact that God's opening doors for this group is proof that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be, doing what I'm supposed to do... and I am. For now. But that may change soon. I think. Maybe. Heh. (That's just my life!)

I don't want to go anywhere until winter's over. I don't like traveling in winter.

Do I think I'll be leaving S's? Maybe. I love this family, and dearly. Desperately. Obsessively. Compulsively. (Ok, ok, just kidding.) But it's very difficult for me to balance "support" with "salvation" right now... and honestly, I'm tired of being dependent. My dad pays for my medical bills (now that's salvation!), my cell phone (I'm on a family plan ^_^), my car insurance, and until this year, my car tags. The S's provide me with food. I pay for my gas, car maintenance, clothes, other basic necessities of life, gifts, and my Bible college bill. Not bad, I guess (especially with no income!), but I am itching to be totally independent. Not that I wouldn't mind a roommate or something- I don't like staying places totally by myself. But I want to be an adult, for crying out loud! I want to strike out on my own and make an impact on the world.

On the flip side... leaving home is scary, and this place is warm, snug, and secure. Why should I leave the womb? (Funnily enough, I actually refused to leave the literal womb.) I long for change and adventure, yet I am loathe to leave the security of the known and predictable. What a trap to be caught in. Which impulse do I obey?

Interestingly, the Holy Spirit now resides within me. I don't know where he was before, or if he was in me/around me and I just didn't know it, but last night I asked God to send the Holy Spirit into my heart and give me what I need (because I'm not always accurate on what I think I need), and then I found Luke 11:13, which says, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"

Huh. Well, then, I guess that means that God send the Spirit when I asked him to. That means... that now I don't have to be confused about whether or not he dwells within me as 1 Corinthians 3:16 claims he does... because God said he'd do it, so he did. Cool!

I know that the Bible says that when we are followers of God, when we have faith in Jesus' name for our salvation, that the Holy Spirit will come and dwell in us. It always confused me, though, because I thought, That certainly can't be true! Look at all the junk inside me! There's no WAY God would want to hang out in there... But I guess he does. And I think it's only by hanging out among the junk that he can clear it out. He had to come down and live with us people in order to save us... I think it's the same principle, as near as I can tell. Then again, I'm no authority.

Buuuuuuut... now that the Holy Spirit is for sure for sure living inside me, I know that he'll for sure for sure guide me. God's guidance is not some "somewhere out there" thing that I have to try to decipher. God will guide me, personally, now. How? Not sure, precisely, about all the specifics... Definitely through the Bible, though. I mean, if someone were to come to me for advice, and I'd already written a book, I'd probably give them the book to read if it would answer their questions. It'd be tons easier.

But I know that God guides people in other ways than just Biblical exposition. I was reading Acts today, and the disciples were so amazingly attuned to God's voice! Yes, he sent angels and gave them visions, but those were the exception, not the rule. Most of the time, they went places to preach until, well, until they were done. Then they moved on. It's like they just knew. God told them, I think. They didn't stress about having time quotas to spend in each place, or how many converts they were supposed to get... It was powerful stuff, what they were doing. What's really cool is that they were just going and God would give them an opportunity to speak, and they would (and the Holy Spirit would fall on them and give them the words and the power), and people's consciences would be pricked. Usually, that meant people would profess faith in Jesus, but sometimes that meant the apostles would be stoned or thrown in prison or beaten, etc. And that was alright, because it was God's plan, not theirs, and they knew that whatever was befalling them, God had it under control and it would all work out okay.


If I could live my life like that, well... there's no telling what could happen. Talk about adventure ;)

I could live with that kind of transmogrification. Imagine, frightened little me, living a life of bold faith.

Oh, I want it. I want it real bad.

But am I willing to bear the cross that comes before the crown?

Eh... that's one item of junk that the HS is gonna have to clear out... all that trepidation I've got plastered on the walls.
It's amazing how much stress can affect the body. I got sick, like, real sick-- a fever, abdominal cramps (and all that accompanies that), loss of appetite, etc.

However, after spending the afternoon and evening in bed, and sleeping 13 hours last night, I found my fever broken this morning, and I feel much better. I even did the dishes. :)

My appetite's still AWOL, but I'm sure it will resurface eventually.

C sat me down yesterday morning as we were preparing (scurrying, really) to take off. She said that as she was having her worship, God impressed her that she needed to let me know that I didn't have to go,  I wasn't obligated to the family or to D and C, and it's okay if I wanted to stay.

Well, I did want to stay. I didn't really want to go, and I wasn't feeling well to boot. So, I stayed.

I've realized that I have to stop trying to "save" the family. I want to be supportive, yes. But how do I do that without trying to assume responsibility for their happiness, welfare, and stress level? Hmmmm...

And I've had these crazy ideas about moving to a different state floating around in my head... Like, hello, that's probably just your escapism going into overdrive!

J and I were talking last night. She helped me to see that I'm, well, rather impulsive. I tend to go from one extreme to another. *Sigh* If only I were a steady person... I try to be. I think I'm doing better. But how much is really just my personality? And is it a bad thing to be this way? And does God work with me being this way, or is he trying to turn me into something else so I can finally interact with him the way I'm supposed to?

How does God speak to people? Like, how does he guide them? Because so many times, I'm praying about decisions and hoping against hope that the decision I'm making because I think that's the direction God wants me to go is really what he wants me to do and I'm not missing something somehow and doing the exact opposite of what he wants me to do. Does anyone else ever feel that way? Or am I the only one? I don't trust my impulses on the big stuff. When it comes to buying a gift for someone, sure, I trust that. I pray about it, I keep looking until I find what I'm looking for, even if I don't know what I'm looking for (if that makes sense). When I see it, I just know. But how come that doesn't work for the big things?

Or does it?

Am I just making things too complicated?

Quite possibly, yes.

...the very day after you talk about having peace and finding strength and carrying on despite hardships... you totally eat it and have a lame-o day?

Today was... funky. K had a blow-up this morning, we all had to leave super-early, and I was trying to make breakfast, pick berries, take a shower and get dressed, clean up, pack myself a lunch, pack my car, and package up the berries by weight... all in the span of 2 hours. Lord, have mercy!

My first session with my new counselor did not go as hoped. I learned some good, new tools, but I can't figure out my emotions. Halfway through, I was occasionally fighting back tears and wishing she'd stop talking so I could leave. Not that she's mean, or condemnatory or any such thing. I just... didn't want to be there anymore. I was desperately wishing for J. She's the first to cry aloud that she's not trained, but she's the best counselor I've ever had... maybe it's 'cause she's also a good friend? I don't know. She just has that spirit that brings life to my spirit, even through the rough times. I don't know what I was expecting with this new counselor, but I came away disappointed. I'm going to give it a few more tries, though. Maybe it was just an off day.

Anyway, I drove down the street to the Goodwill parking lot and cried for a while, but then I found a pair of jeans at the thrift store for a dollar! My jeans from this summer don't fit anymore-- I had lost a lot of weight due to stress, but I gained it all back on that road trip. (Well, they fit, but they're scandalously tight, especially for the reputation I have to uphold in these parts.)

Today was another one of those "firsts" in the grieving process over D. Market was moved across the street, because the park is being occupied for a local festival, and... when we were moved across the street for this festival last year, that's the very first time D saw me, when he came to pick up nectarines. So I was already down because of the counselor thing, and my soul is bone-tired, and now this... I'm weary. I'm very weary.

When we got home, I still had to prepare more food for this trip we're taking tomorrow. I don't even really want to go. It's just a lot of hassle and more stress, and I don't even really know where I fit in with the family going, because K is going to be spending all her time with her bf, C and D are going to be doing their thing, and then we have the other family that we're carpooling and sharing a room with, and I don't know if I'm supposed to hang out with them the whole time or what? Plus I have NO idea what to expect, except that it's conservative, and I'm supposed to wear a skirt the whole time 'cause it's that kind of thing, and I haven't had the best experiences with large groups of very conservative Christians amassed in one locale... I'm nervous that it's going to lead to a total plunge into darkness for me.

And yet... I dare not share any of these fears or frustrations with C and D, because they've already got so much on their plates. I want to be strong for them, but I'm really sorta falling apart right now. I think that I'm repeating the patterns I learned as a kid- be strong for the parents. Step in and take over, and you'll be able to save the day... not.

Oh, I don't know what to do. I really just want someone to snuggle with me. Isn't that silly? But I just want somewhere to feel warm and safe, even if my life is still driving me into the ground... just a reprieve. Life is so full of pointy corners and sharp edges, but all I want is a world of smooth, round contours, at least right now.

I've decided that I'm going to go to school for massage therapy next year, after the growing season's over. It bothers me, not having a marketable skill. I've even thought of some really cool ministry ideas with it.

What if I went to school in Alaska? I could do that... what an adventure that would be! Alaska's, like, the last frontier of America. I could move to another state, true, but it's far less impressive. :)

My friend S has invited me (with enthusiasm) to come up to Alaska and visit her. I'd LOVE to.

We'll see. I'm probably just in escape mode.

Life is whirling around me, faster than I can take it in.

One one hand, that's good. I love to be busy.

On the other hand, it's stressful, and I don't handle stress terribly well. I'm better than I used to be, but still...

D and I officially split up last Thurs. I had sent him a "break-up voicemail" several weeks ago, but I guess he didn't have service. He got it, but then went out of service again, so it was several weeks. We both realize that he has no room in his life for a relationship right now, but he did say that we would keep in touch. (I questioned that, but he insisted... so does that mean I'll hear from him every six months?) I asked if he wanted me to write to him, and he said yes. (I'm limiting myself to one letter a month.) Now that he has bought property and has an address, that's actually possible. That also means, though, that he's not coming back here.

It didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. I cried after we hung up, and I cried a little that night when I talked to C, but I haven't since. I have peace. I already went through the pain when I sent him the voicemail, and now I only have peace. Peace, and a lingering impression that it's not over. Is that false hope, or an impression from God? I don't trust myself, so I say it's false hope. Every "mentor" type person I've talked to, though, doesn't think it's over. I refuse to cling to hope.

I love him. If God wants me to love him as a friend, I can get used to that. I've been praying that if there is no future, would God please take away my love for him? It's odd... this is not a feeling like I've ever had before. I don't know how to describe it but "pure"-- at least, purer than the love I had for C. It's like, I really, really want the best for D, even if that means I'm out of the picture. I want him to draw close to God, and if I can somehow help lift him higher, then that's what I want. If God needs me to be a supportive friend for him, and that's it, then that's what I'll do.

Even after praying for God to take away the love, it's not gone, but very quiet. Laying low. Subdued? The surging, infatuational emotions are gone. It's just... steady. Steady and quiet.

What's going on inside of me?

I'm fearful that B may be gathering his forces to make another attempt at romancing me. Don't do it! He's lonely, but that still doesn't make it right, or comfortable for me.

We're getting ready to head out of town for a church gathering in a neighboring state. When you have so many food limitations, it's difficult... and I know D and C are stressed about K and her bf once we get there... I'm glad for this brief reprieve to try to collect my thoughts. It seems I've been going nonstop today, and it doesn't look like it's going to ease up for the next month or so. Strength, Lord, give me strength... body, mind, and soul...

K is out in the kitchen, listening to Disney songs on the internet. Why? She's been going through many changes lately, it seems... I think she's trying to figure herself out. I see it in the way she dresses, what she's listening to, what she says... it's interesting. I bet that it was "interesting" to watch me go through all those changes and struggles last year. I have to remember that I was just there myself. I cannot look down on her for this, or I will be a hypocrite of hypocrites. I'm trying to remember to pray for her. That helps change my perspective, for sure...

Found out today that people whose cancer has metastasized have practically a zero percent chance of survival. D's cancer has metastasized; that's why he's having surgery next month.

What can you do in the face of such odds but pray?

I have some tasks to finish yet today before the whirlwind of tomorrow hits me. I should go.

Oh, yeah... Mom called me. She watched Forks Over Knives, and she and my littlest sis have decided to adopt a completely plant-based diet, and try to limit their intake of refined, processed foods. Iiiiinteresting, especially now that she's calling, picking my brain for quick, healthy vegetarian food. I knew there was a reason I've been "training" in specialty cooking these past few years :)
As amazing as that may sound, I actually LIKE not having the option of using the internet whenever I want. It helps me be so much more responsible with my time...

Been having struggles trusting God lately. I'm scared... O ye of little faith... but I'm scared that I've misread God's will and I'm doing the wrong thing that he didn't actually want me to do and so he won't take care of me and I'm going to run out of money and have to sell my body on the streets or something (yeah, right) or maybe marry for money... or run out and get a "real" job so I can support myself, because I know that I could, but then the very things that I came back to Idaho for would go by the wayside. I could get a "real" job anywhere. But where, oh where, does God want me to be?...

Struggles breed intimacy, right? So, logically speaking... God and I should be pretty tight by the end of this rough patch. C reminded me that God already set me up with some jobs here real soon that I had (conveniently) forgotten about in my stress and worry.

I hate tires, by the way. They're so darn expensive, and it seems like they ALWAYS give me issues when I'm running low on funds. Oh, wait... I'm never not running low on funds. That's right.

I really, really, really want to trust God with this... but it's hard. I don't want to be a bum, begging off of family and friends. I'll ditch the gardens and get a "real" job before I do that.

I think that I just need to sleep and talk with God some more. Hopefully he'll let me know if I'm on the right track or not.