Friday, May 15, 2009

For Katie Apple

So I've been reading this amazing devotional by Ann Spangler. It basically walks you through the names of Jesus and how those aspects of his character apply and fulfill your life. I feel like God spoke to me straight up through the first entry: Immanuel.

I think my biggest struggle since YWAM was this nagging fear/doubt I had about all that happened in Jakarta. All the struggle and the sickness seemed to be because He had left me. It sounds totally ridiculous to write that -- I KNOW that he didn't leave me. But, I struggled every day to really know and feel his presence, when it felt and looked like He had just left us there. There were no breakthroughs. There was no relenting of struggle. And it ended in me being in the hospital in Indonesia and promptly returning home -- not even allowed to debrief and enjoy my friends in Hawaii. For all my striving to pray and believe that He was faithful to complete the work, I doubted every single day that he was there and had heard a single prayer I prayed.

So, in places of deep intimacy with Him lately, I have found this coming up in my thoughts and prayers: "Lord, why did you leave me there?"

It's like, despite me knowing for a fact the contrary, I can't stop myself thinking it: He left me. He left me when I needed Him the most. All I had to cling to was His word, my constant prayers for help and nearness, and the sweet melodies of worship that were close to my heart.

As I opened up this devotional, the words rushed over me about His being Immanuel: God with us. The scriptures of promise where He said he would never leave nor forsake me, and that He is with me wherever I go were like water washing over my heart and doubt. I KNOW that I read - I clung to -- those scriptures when I was in Indonesia, but for some reason, the doubt in my heart was distorting how I heard them. Instead of "I will never leave you nor forsake you," I heard "I will never leave you nor forsake you -- except for now, because you can't hear my voice or see my hand."

And now, suddenly, I could see the truth in those words again.

He has never left me.

In the last entry for Immanuel, it quotes that verse we talked so much about, Katie:

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you cross the rivers, they will not over take you" (Isaiah 43:2-3).

Why is it such a struggle to hear his voice and see his face in the freakin' midst of the waters? I don't know. The bible has so many instances of his ever-present faithfulness in the middle of battles and struggles - but it seemed that those were reserved and confined to the fragile pages of my Bible itself. They weren't for me. Was it so wrong for me to want Him to show up in bright lights and shakina glory and cause our slum to fall to its knees in repentance?? Was it so selfish for you to wish He would take away the pain and fear in all those surgeries, Katie?

I don't know.

But I know that His word says that He is an ever-present help in time of need; a refuge; a hiding place; a God Who Is With Us. And I am choosing to let those words and promises wash away my fears and doubts and hurt, so that I can see what is hidden more clearly the next time around.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Well, Annie's birthday was last Friday, so here goes an "Everything Annie" post.
In my ripe old age, I have found that true friends (like, down to the core of who you are) are really so rare. And I have the most wonderful privilege to call Anne my Friend. (Capital "f," because that's the only way to address her without having to say weird things like "ultimate friend" or "only best friend.")

Anne and I's friendship began in the weirdest way. It started with both our good friends being out of the picture, us deciding on a whim to room together, a handful of weirdos who gathered around us, and the ensuing "Anne and Jennie" world that then quickly developed.
I don't believe I have wanted to be apart since.
Generally, Anne is just me - revised. Hah. She has a filter that I envy, a moral fortitude that is unmatched, a kindness unwavering, and a humor that is uncanny. I think one of my favorite things to watch is how she cares for other people. As simple as it sounds, she is so unselfish when it comes to others: the way she listens, the way she serves, the way she goes about her day. I can't think of anything she wouldn't do for her loved ones.
(trip around hawaii)
And that's what makes her time at YWAM so amazing. Right now, Anne is living 700 miles away from all her closest friends and family, and has committed to doing so for over a year in order to give her life to advance His Kingdom. Her choice may be a biiiiiiiiit padded by the beauty of Hawaii (beach), but I know she feels deeply her sacrifice even in her bravery.

Even if I'm not right there beside her through all this, I can be sure of a few things: one, that she is handling change and uncomfortableness with a grace that is pure and gentle; two, that she is loving those strangers around her with as much strength as she would love friends she's known for all her now-24 years; and three, that she misses me terribly and would do anything to have me there, because, duh, it's just better when we're together.
I was talking to my mom just last night about relationships and difficulties within them, and she was asking me about my friendship with Anne. All I could say was that "we do life the same." And that's one of my very favorite things about her. There is such a peace and rest that comes with being with someone who you don't have to pretend around. I don't have to pretend to be good, or be whatever because Anne understands me better than anyone I've ever known. Even if I tried to pretend -- she'd know I was pretending and then call me out on it. And it's not like we've never had conflict (thank you, YWAM). We have. And it only made me appreciate her more. In my tendency to ignore and to withhold, her gift is to seek out reconcilation and peace. Her life is so submitted to His voice and His leading that she could never be comfortable with not being honest if she felt something was out of step with who God is, or who He has called her or I to be.
(thanks for the amazing capture, Zhenya)

And yet, even at my worst -- head over the toilet, vomitting my guts out from a liiiiiiiiiitle too much to drink -- I never felt less loved or less cared for. For that, I am so grateful. How the h she manages to balance integrity and grace like she does I will never friggin know.

And now, a brief listing of my favorite things abour her (or her and I).

1. How we both wear panty hose still to nice events -- because that's how good girls are raised.

2. Her love for sweets. Specifically, cookies.

3. Her ability to draw hilariously true, insightful Paint pictures of awkward/memorable/imaginative situations.

4. How we manage to be doing the same thing/thinking the same thing even when we're miles and miles away. (ie: reading Weight of Glory without telling one another...)

5. The way we laugh when we're jogging.

6. The way she hits me with her racquet in racquetball.

7. Her inappropriateness when no one else is watching.

8. Her love for the ridiculous.

9. How she is always learning and trying new things.

10. Her unfailing honesty and grace.

(TTF for life)

And to end with one of my favorite quotes from Anne...ever:
"I might set you on fire if you wake me up in the morning."
- Anne Elizabeth Hennighausen