Friday, December 21, 2007

Posted by Erin Posted on 2:55 PM | 1 comment

Becoming Updated

Well, it has been over a month. I have been at REI for almost 2 months now and some awesome things have been going on there. I have had some fabulous conversations with co-workers about the Lord. AND...I never initiated a single one. One co-worker, Alex, is really searching for truth. I got to giver her a Bible...the first Bible she has ever had. It was awesome and she was so excited.

But, retail is hard and not my cup of tea. I love what the Lord is doing there but I don't like retail. If you are going to be in retail, REI is for sure the place to be, it's just not what makes me come alive. I decided it's because I don't have much patience with people that get so upset over material things. They can't find the right size in the brown northface so they throw a hissy fit. I just want to shake them and remind them that there are more important things in life to worry about. Geeze! But enough ranting.

I had two interviews this last week, both for girls' ministry positions. I feel really good about one of those...the other I can't figure out. But, I am excited to see what God does. December 28th will be my last day at REI so hopefully one of these other jobs will come through. If not, it will be ok. God is good.

I really miss my College Station friends (the ones that are still there and the ones that are not). I miss Breakaway and Coffee Station. I miss Walton street. I miss being able to get anywhere in 10 minutes or less. I miss Living Hope. But I also love my new friends. I love HFBC and the Lighthouse class. I love that I get to sing here. I love the community. I love that I have free rent.

Overall,life is great. Some things are hard. Somethings are hard but improving. But most things are great. ...because God is good.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Posted by Erin Posted on 12:02 AM | No comments

Becoming Thankful

Today I was overwhelmed with thankfulness. I went to the church today to volunteer in the singles office. It will be a regular occurrance. I make copies, type up sign-up sheets, and other officey things. But last week and this week when I went in, Steve gave me some personal work. He had me do a personality test last know the ENTP stuff....I was ENFP...Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving. Then he had me take a strengths finder assessment. It gives you your top five strengths (or super powers as some like to say). Mine were connectedness, communication, strategy, empathy, and woo (winning others over...I had to ask too). Then it gives you a description and suggestions on how to improve and use each of those strengths. It is fascinating.

This week he had me do a worksheet with my strengths. I picked three and for each one drew out three phrases from the descriptions that stood out to me most and then used those phrases to make a scentence beginning with "I come alive when..." So, for example, I chose WOO as one of my focuses. My sentence that I made up from three phrases in the description of woo was "I come alive when I get to be part of a team in which members and outsiders feel comfortable and when people share parts of their story with me."

As I did this excercise I was overwhelmed with joy. It is so encouraging to be able to put to words the things that make my heart come alive. It is encouraging to know that what I thought God was calling me to do lines up with how He created me.

I left church so thankful for these last two months. I never thought I would be back at First Baptist, where I grew up. I didn't think I'd be back in Houston. I didn't want to be. I knew what I wanted to do but not where. As a result I spent so much time looking for a position instead of a purpose. I didn't care where I was as long as I was doing what I thought I wanted. That is so not the right way to do this. The Lord was good. He continued to shut doors. He didn't allow me to stay in Austin or return to College Station or move to Dallas. He shut all those doors so I would have to move home. I am supposed to be at HFBC. And I now realize that it is better for me to be WHERE I am supposed to be doing what I love as a volunteer instead of getting paid to do what i love in the wrong place. I love this church. I love pretty much everything about it. I'm sure if I wanted to I could be nit-picky and find things that should change, but why would I do that? God is moving here. He is growing the church. He is growing me. He is using me. I am so thankful for that.

I am thankful for Steve requiring honesty on Sunday mornings. I am thankful for new connections and old ones that have been renewed. I am thankful that my Pastor believes the goodness of od so much that he will promise to refund my money if God doesn't take care of my financial needs when I tithe. That's just goofy but it is a testement to God's faithfulness. I am thankful to be in a church that uses it's finances to reach the world....from the apartments next door to Africa.

I am thankful to have a job that requires faith, that stretches me. I am thankful that the Lord is providing opportunities to share my faith even when I don't ask for them. I am thankful that I get to work someplace that requires that I love to be outside.

I am thankful that the Lord has given me songs again. He has removed the block from my writing and begun to spill out songs through me again. I am thankful that i get to sing with others on Sundays. I am thankful that I am slowly becoming friends with my cousins. I am thankful that I get to worship with them at church and hear about wht the Lord is teaching them.

I am thankful for coffee with friends. For small words that encourage so greatly. I am thankful that some people think i am joyful because that means the Lord has not allowed my selfishness this last year to affect everyone in my path. He has spared some from the hurricane of self-deprecation that ruled my heart for awhile. I am thankful for the ones that were patient with me during "hurricane season" and thankful for the honesty of someone who loved me enough to tell me that i need to be joyful and that even strangers have said there is a sadness about me. I am thankful for the wake-up call.

I am thankful that the Lord has created in me certain strengths and passions and left others out...on purpose. I am thankful that He is leading me to places where those strengths can be used for His glory and my good.

I am thankful for lessons in discipline and financial responsibility. I am thankful for lessons in health and for free rent. I am thankful for my parents trying to treat me as an adult instead of their baby girl. I am thankful for the moon roof in my car so I can enjoy the wind as I drive to work. I am thankful for cooler weather and goofy costumes. I am thankful for the past...and I am thankful that the past has passed.

I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Posted by Erin Posted on 11:31 PM | No comments

Becoming Transparent

Today was so good.

I suppose I should catch you up (you, being the imaginary people that read this since I am fairly positive no actual people do). I am now working part time at REI. It is not my dream job by any means. However, I am glad to be there. They treat their employees so well and I have a feeling that being in that culture will bring out the adventurer in me that has been screaming to get out for years. So, I am glad to have income and something to do. Work is good. Work was given to us before the Fall...before we messed up. Work is good for us. The frustrations with work...the little fruit from work is what we have to deal with as a result of our innate sin.

I have also been getting involved at church. I have been going to class events and volunteering in the singles department. I am also going to join the Sunday morning praise team. I absolutely love my class! First of all there are a ton of Aggies so it can't be too bad right? The teaching is fabulous. Steve (the teacher), has been really drawing things out of us. He is very conversational in his teaching and has us talk amongst our table about whatever question he presents. He also presents questions to the class as a whole and waits for answers.

Last Sunday, he asked, "Who is it that you need to forgive?" *pin drop*

It was silent. I think we are so used to rhetorical questions in church. I mean, that is an extremely personal question. Who do i need to forgive? If I tell you that, you are going to know my areas of pride. You will see my pettiness. You will think I am weak and silly.

Steve just waited. He actually expected us to answer. He wasn't offering that question for us to ponder until the next Sunday. He wanted us to tell the entire class...the other 36 people in the room what our forgiveness issues are. He finally said, "If you can't be honset here, where will you be?"

A voice spoke up from one side of the room, "My parents. I come from a broken home. I'm angry about the divorce."

Another girl from the back said, "A customer that came in to my workplace and falsely reported me to my manager. He just made it up because he was flirting and I wasn't flirting back. And he had his son with him. He is teaching that to his son. I need to let that go but it's hard."

I finally said, "People from high school. Ugh, I hate that. It breaks my heart that I am so bitter about things that happened. I need to forgive people that for the most part have no idea that I was hurt by unintentional words or by being ignored or whatever."

A couple more people spoke up. It was beautiful. Honesty. In the church. I think people are afraid to honest. It's dangerous. What if you spill your guts to someone and then they don't help you, they tell someone else, or they blow it off like it's not a big deal? Yeah. It's dangerous. I've been hurt before because i've been honest. Because I have asked for help and not received it. But if we are all waiting around for other people to prove themselves to be trustworthy, then we will all be waiting forever...holding all our junk inside, pretending we have it all together. So, I have decided. No more waiting. When it is appropriate, I will be honest. Is it always appropriate? No. I have had to learn that too. But honesty is needed and someone has to get the ball rolling.

I am learning to be transparent. On Sunday is was about forgiveness. At REI it is about my faith. I am so out of practice when it comes to being a Christian among the lost. That is so sad but it's true. At A&M it was easy to just sink into the Church. Everywhere I turned I was surrounded by believers, at work, at home, at church, in the neighborhood... That is not the case here. Now, I am not the only Christian at work, but I know of far more co-workers that are not than ones that are. So, I am having to consciously make statements in love and about faith. Have I shared the gospel yet? Well, no. It's not time for that yet. Right now I need to love my co-workers. I need to show them that I am trustworthy and fun and that I care about them. So I am learning to e transparent about my priorities at work.

And on that note I am going to start a second post about thankfulness.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Posted by Erin Posted on 12:54 PM | No comments

Becoming a Songwriter

Well, It has been two months, a week, and 3 days since I was last employed. It hasn't been as hard as I thought. Of corse, there have been days that have been terribly hard, but I have been learning alot, getting to see old friends, making new friends, and writing songs. I use to write songs all the time but I've been in a drought for a couple of years. But the last two months have been great for my writing. I've written three full songs, one with the help of Kelly Nall, and two partial songs. The great thing is that they are "happy" songs....most of them.

First, there is "Perfect Love"(with help from Kelly). It's about those quiet nights when you can just sit with the Lord and be in love with Him. After that one came "Come Alive". It's fairly country. It came out of reflecting on hard days of my own and of friends and taking comfort in the fact that we can find joy even in the hard days because we have been made alive in Christ. Next came a partial song about a week ago. I need to finish it. I have heard a few sermons lately about Peter going fishing after he denied Christ and when the sun rose Christ was standing on the shore waiting to draw Peter back into His love. So that is sort of what the songs is about...letting go of old habits and running into the sunrise to meet the giver of life.

And then last night I wrote a parital song that would have to be sung by a male. I decided I need to try to write songs from other people's experiences and not just my own. So that's what this is. My first real attempt at that. It's a country song...must be all those years in junior high and high school that I listened to KILT.

And right after my country song, I wrote "Fair Days". It centers around a carousel and being content to stay on the same ride all day at the fair. I really like it. It's not a "happy" song. It's a reflective song, but I think it's pretty good.

I love writing. All sorts of writing, but particularly songs. Hopefully one day something will come of my songwriting and they won't just be songs in my head and on paper. I've written about 38 songs....of which only 14 or 15 are complete. I just love it. I love that I can pick up a guitar and express my heart better than if I just try to tell someone how I feel. My guitar has been a great companion these last several weeks and I am so thankful for the free time to write.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Posted by Erin Posted on 7:48 PM | No comments

Becoming Teachable

The following is taken from "The inner voice of love" by Henri Nouwen.

"You have an idea of what the new country looks like. Still, you are very much at home, although not truly at peace, in the old country. You know the ways of the old country, its joys and pains, its happy and sad moments. You have spent most of your days there. Even though you know that you have not found there what your heart most desire, you remain quite attached to it. It has become part of your very bones.

Now you have come to realize that you must leave it and enter the new country, where your Beloved dwells. You know that what helped and guided you in the old country no longer works, but what else do you have to go by? You are being asked to trust that you will find what you need in the new country. That requires the death of what has become so precious to you: influence, success, yes, even affection and praise.

Trust is so hard since you have nothing to fallback on. Still, trust is what is essential. The new country is where you are called to go, and the only way to go there is naked and vulnerable.

It seems that you keep crossing and recrossing the border. For a while you experience a real joy in the new country. But the you feel afraid and start longing again for all you left behind, so you go back to the old country. To your dismay, you discover that the old country has lost its charm. Risk a few more steps into the new country, trusting that each time you enter it, you will feel more comfortable and be able to stay longer."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Posted by Erin Posted on 4:38 PM | No comments

Becoming Sure

I am sitting in the coffee shop/lobby of Watermark Community Church, having just interviewed across town with a ministry-focused company for a sales position. The interview, as most have been, was a great experience. It was full of good conversation and lacking awkwardness...two very important things in interviewing. However, keeping in step with most of the other interviews, at least the ones that have been less relational and more data based, the interviewer asked pointed questions about whether or not I was excited about the position. He wanted to know why I was applying for sales. I explained why I was capable of sales. But through the rest of the conversation, I admitted, in repsonse to his questions, that doing sales joyfully would be a challenge. That while I think the purpose of their ministry is fabulous, that particular role would not be a good fit for me long term. He kindly encouraged me to keep looking for a job that I wanted (and didn't just need). He explained that, while, I could be successful at the position, he could tell I would be a fish out of water because there is no creativity involved. And he rightly, sent me on my way without a job.

And you know, I'm ok with that. Surprisingly, it didn't feel a thing like rejection. On the contary, it felt much like reassurance. There is something I was made to do and there is a lot more that I was not made to do and to settle into the not's would be suicide. So while I still would very much like to have a job (very soon), I am also ok with waiting for one that Lord can use me in best. I know he can use me anywhere. But I want to be where he can make the most of the things he has created in me. Who knows where or when that will be. Maybe tomorrow at my interview with the college pastor. Maybe not. Maybe not for 7 more months. But I know he is moving things so that he can move me into a certain place. He is moving me (in what seems like aimless fashion) right now so that I do not settle for the not's. As unemploymet becomes increasingly boring, I am becoming increasingly sure of where I am not supposed to be.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Posted by Erin Posted on 9:23 PM | 2 comments

Becoming the Body

Well, it has been a few weeks since the first post and my circumstances have not changed. However, my heart is changing a little bit every day. I am learning to trust that today, the Lord will provide. I am learning to live out letting my anxieties be made known and not worrying about tomorrow. Tomorrow will be whatever tomorrow will be, but today I need a meal and fellowship and a roof and the Lord has provided those things. Tomorrow we can deal with what i need for tomorrow.

It is the means of the Lord's provision that is really teaching me. As I said before, having to rely on others smashes one's pride. But having to rely on others is how the Body of Christ works. The church in acts owned nothing as individuals. Everything they owned blonged also to the rest of the Body. I have seen such beautiful examples of that during this season. As friends have opened their homes to me, sharing their groceries, couches, space...I have seen the Body of Christ in action. It is amazing. It is so encouraging and it makes me excited to be able to love others and share the little I do have with those who need it. Right now, I may only be able to offer time, of which I seem to have a superfilous amount, but I can give that away. It's awesome.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Posted by Erin Posted on 10:45 PM | 1 comment

Becoming 24

Yesterday was the first day of the 24th year of my life. I spent the day alone in the apartment of a friend. I could have gone out. I could have driven to Houston to be with my family, but I chose to spend the day alone. I think I needed to let some of the silence sink into my soul a bit. I have been unemployed and homeless for a week now. It sounds more dramatic than it is. I have friends and family that are willing to take care of me. They offer couches and food and company. Still, there is something about being 24 and having to rely on the charity of others that is just painful.

I can tell you what that painfulness is. It is my pride being sliced up into little bits. It is the illusion of control over my life being shredded with other so-called important documents. That painfulness is what is good for me. It hurts like hell and it is scarier than that time I was stuck on a mountain. It feels something like the time I was waiting for my mom to come pick me up after school as a 5-year-old and she was late. I was the last little jumper-clad child in the hallway and there were no more cars in the circle drive. Turns out my mom had gone to lunch with her sister. I can't remember if she was just running late or if I was supposed to be relayed a message about going to lunchbunch for a little while. I do, however, remember an abyss forming in my stomach. I remember a fear the size of the ocean engulfing my senses. And tears. Lots of tears. I had the same feeling a couple of years later when, as I waited for the elevator that would transport me to the floor where I was supposed to meet my family, I looked out the window to see our station wagon pulling out of the church parking lot. I ran back to my Sunday school room crying because my parents had left me. They came to my room and got a me a few minutes later. Turns out they were just moving the car....I can't remember why now.

I can't really describe the sort of fear that those times induced except to say that every rational thought that I might have had as a five year old and later as an eight year old dissolved into a feeling of abandonment. Forgotten. I felt forgotten. I knew that my parents would never purposefully leave me behind which only left me to believe that they had just forgotten about me completely. They just forgot they had a daughter. They forgot that there was a little girl relying on them to take care of her.

I think, perhaps, it is the same feeling at the root of this fear that has crept in this last week. I think, maybe I feel that God has forgotten me. It is irrational, I know. I KNOW He hasn't forgotten me. I know that He has a plan and this time of unemployment is part of that plan. I know that He will continue to take care of me. I know all of those truths just as I knew my parents would never abandon me. But knowing and trusting are different. When you are 5, trusting that your parents won't leave you when you are holding your mommy's hand is easy. Trusting that they won't leave you when you see them drive out of the parking lot without you in the car....that's harder. So, that's where I am now; Jumper-clad and standing in a cold hallway staring at the door wondering when and if my ride is coming.

**I feel I should write a disclaimer in the chance that my mom reads this. Those experiences didn't scar me for life. Don't worry mom. I am not messed up because you were late to pick me up once.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Posted by Erin Posted on 11:39 AM |

Becoming a New Blog Owner

My old blog is still viewable. But read at your own risk...the crazy mind of a emotionally driven college student.

Erynne of the Woods