Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Thanks

Here I sit,
on a lovely bench under a tree with falling leaves,
with cobblestones under my feet and a sun painted all shades of orange setting behind me.
I can hear the squirrels romp through the leaves around me.

If there's one thing this semester has taught me, it is this:
I live immersed in beauty every day.

Sometimes I must do more searching to see the beauty,
but it is there all the same.

Thanksgiving is not a day.
It is not just Thursday, November 24.
If thanksgiving were that, just a day- how bland life would be.
How many blessings around us would go unnoticed if it was constrained to 24 of the 8,760 hours we are given each year?

No- Thanksgiving is a posture in which I am to live.
It is the final article I must clothe myself in daily.
It is the lens through which I am allowed to see beauty,
to see the blessings the Lord surrounds me with.
Without thanksgiving, the beauty is drawn out of our lives.
Our selfishness,
our dissatisfaction with life,
is magnified all the more with this ignorance.

Thanksgiving is the staple.
It is the acknowledgment of all that the Lord chooses to bless us with.
It softens our hearts to His love and opens our eyes to His blessings.

So, during this holiday, I am thankful.
Thankful for home cooked meals.
Thankful for the sweet friends and families that I got to spend time with this week.
Thankful for my own family

And my thanksgiving must not stop here-
in this moment,
in this day,
in this week.

It must continue-
day by day,
moment by moment,
as the Lord opens all of our eyes to the blessings surrounding.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Years That Go By

 "The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom"
Psalm 90
 The hands of God.
Out of the same hands that bring beautiful autumn trees comes the wild winds that rip them to shreds. Life is fragile.
Time owes us nothing.
We aren't guaranteed another minute, another hour, another day.

Ann Voskamp describes time as a river that rushes through without any regard of travelers passing through. I think if the Lord instilled the reality within all of us that our days truly are numbered,
we'd all live so differently. We'd be so much more intentional about our life. We'd treasure and nurture the relationships in our lives. As a Christian, I would feel the urgency to love on others so much more. I'd be more direct in telling everyone of all that my Lord has done for me. We really aren't promised anything. As cliche as this is, we all need to learn to live as if tomorrow wasn't there. And if we are honest, it's not. We don't know what the future holds, but we stroll through life as if we do. If I live to be 60, I don't want to wake up and realize that I've wasted 21,900 days of my life with meaningless tasks and unintentional conversations with people I never took the time to deeply care about and a relationship with the Lord that I never tried to tell others about. Even just with college. Time is fragile, and this is such a vital time to learn from the Lord. Why would I waste that by seeking out selfish desires, so I can learn the same lessons I did in high school 50 more times? Not that I have the ability to choose the higher road, because I don't. But there is a desire to live and grow close to the Lord. Teach me to number my days.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Beauty

"We want to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become a part of it."

Beauty is what I've been missing.
I get glimpses of it on a daily basis
(autumn anyone???)

 Life is good, friends.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Grace

"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in You my soul takes refuge. In the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge"
All sense of self-pride is gone.
I am humbled and realize my need of my Savior.

No, Madelyn, you're not perfect.
Even more specific-
you're wrong.
Even more specific-
you're not as mature as you think you are.

I cringe as these thoughts run through my head. But then I open the Psalms and I see David's pleas for mercy from the Lord and I see the beauty in grace. I'm not always going to do the right thing. I'm going to let people down, and people are going to let me down. But that is how the Lord made me and it is Him that chooses to fix me. He fixes me. He loves me back to eternal perfection. He loves me back to wholeness. Whether this love is expressed in rebuke or blessing, it is love all the same and it is what binds the broken pieces back together. So I hide under the shadow of His wings. I mess up and see for myself what grace like rain really is. He wraps His arms around me and I know that in all of my imperfections, I am treasured.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Really Strong Opinion

Lately, I've just been really frustrated with the subject of relationships. And what better place to vent about it than my blog, right? It'll be great to go back in 2 years and cringe as I re-read my profound thoughts of freshman year haha. Spoiler alert- I'm a girl and I don't really understand how all of this is for guys. I'm not saying Im right, just sharing my opinion.

A lot of what I see these days is people around me trying to rack up connections with the opposite sex to make them feel good about themselves. All I see is girls and guys not respecting one another, and as a result, using one another for a temporary source of self esteem.

Girls try their best to sell themselves to guys as a desirable individual to be around. They get to entertain themselves by playing mind games with one another. Each one knows they don't want to date, but it's something fun to do and every now and then it makes you feel a little less lonely without the work of a relationship. It temporarily pushes their own insecurities to the background, and inflates this false sense of self worth.

Why not friendships with substance to them? Ladies and gentlemen, you can do better. Respect yourselves more than that. And I'm speaking to myself here too. What a cheap form of satisfaction that surrounds us. It's easy to casually date or "hang out" or whatever else you want to call it, but immensely less rewarding.

To be a friend, to value someone not for how they make you feel or what they can offer you, but for who they are- there is alot to be said for that. This is a friendship of substance. A friendship that involves girls and guys respecting one another. Friendships that encourage you and build you up. Friendships that respect the boundaries. Guys that encourage you to be the best that you can be and look out for you.

I guess I'm slightly confused and mostly tired of people hearing that girls need to "put themselves out there", you know, in the "you should probably spend more time on your makeup and be slightly more commanding for attention" kind of way. Nope, I sure don't. I'm not interested in the business of pressuring myself to be appealing and be entertaining and be the guy's girl. Don't friends just happen? Since when did we have to start trying to sell ourselves to everyone around us? I just don't really understand it.

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