Being Open To Ordinary

An ordinary shopping day, fraught with b ad decisions.  Standard.

Just me on an ordinary shopping day, making bad decisions.
Standard.

Okay, let’s just ignore the fact that I’m gonna bust into this blog post like I haven’t been gone for half a year. Well, not gone from here just, you know, gone from anything that would allow me to put a cohesive thought down on figurative paper.

Writing skill. That’s what it’s called. Anyway, moving on.

In the past few months, I’ve re-structured my life about six times, caught up on all the latest dances, had way too much coffee, conquered my fear of ever returning to California, and developed an unhealthy obsession with Hawaii:

Me: Hey you see those rain clouds? And those trees? And those bushes? And the Walmart? And notice how the wind is kinda blowing but not too much?

Friend: Yeah so?

Me: It just reminds me of Hawaii. 

Friend: Yeah…. you keep mentioning that.

I know what you’re thinking, and of course it sounds stupid when it’s written out like that.

Perhaps a lack of proofreading is the problem with real life.

But seriously, as I was going over all that in my head to find something for this blog post, I just felt like I hadn’t done anything, seen anything, experienced anything, or even enjoyed, like… anything. Of the Triune God, that is.

I mean, I’m certainly not writing this blog to showcase my degree in sarcasm. I have a purpose, after all.

So of course, the more I thought, the more distraught I became over the idea of me swirling around in some vacuum of non-progress for forever. Meanwhile, in my human spirit, this utterance managed to get to the surface:

“Learn to be satisfied with a life of ordinary days.”

Honestly, I don’t think I’m satisfied with ordinary anything (ex. my ginormous, drive-in movie screen of a phone that’s all the rage on the Korean dramas, I hear) but I appreciated that the person who said this emphasized the “learn” part. It’s not easy, especially when you keep dreaming of coconut water straight out of the source (see, you didn’t believe me when I said it was an issue), but this learning is the realm where God’s purpose touches down in real life. To learn to be open to the Lord in our ordinary moments is what brings our living into a miraculous normality: receiving the dispensing of the Triune God.

So, as I spend another delightfully uneventful week at home with my family (well, somewhat uneventful, since I’m expecting my dad to get even with me for all my past trickery), I’m looking forward to making it count in the divine realm.

Ordinary Peeps, (God’s) Extraordinary People

Great Book

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob… in book form. Also on my bed.

Awful title, I know. Our creative department is on a lengthy and fictitious holiday.

Still, it’s that time again, dear, faithful, long-suffering audience (yes you, that one person there in the back)-

Camille has had another epiphany.

Okay, to be fair, I had help. Meaning, I mostly heard it all and did what I do- reiterate it in Camille lingo and try to keep the main point in tact.

So here I go.

You may have heard of a few guys by the name of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (like, in the Bible, hopefully). Abraham becomes the father of faith, literally the “father of a multitude”, Isaac does nothing and gets EVERYTHING, and even sly, cunning Jacob becomes someone that can bless Pharaoh  at the end of his life. But the thing is, as fantastic as all these things sound, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob definitely were NOT fantastic in their own right- as a matter of fact, they did fail. Like, more than once (If you need this moment to soak up some encouragement, see Abraham “My Wife Is My Sister” Pt.1 and 2, Surprise! Isaac’s Wife Is Also His Sister, and Jacob vs. Laban: Winner Take All… and Run, just to name a few highlights). Still, these were the ones that God was able to work Himself into in order to gain a people for the accomplishing of His purpose. The experiences of these three basically ordinary people are the experiences we must have to become in reality, the Israel of God.

Wow. How did that happen?

Very simple- they allowed God to make them into who they were.

Abraham,  seriously not even knowing where he was going, learned and experienced God as the source, and depended on Him for everything. Isaac saw that everything comes from the Father, and had the experience of a son through receiving. Finally, Jacob, at some point, experienced and cooperated with the dealing of the Holy Spirit . Individually, it just seems like a lot of interesting experiences (mostly dysfunctional family ones, if you think about it, but don’t ), but actually, altogether, these are the experiences of a corporate person.  Translation: We can’t just go down to Egypt and come back with everything and get a check mark for knowing God as the source (Abraham). We must know the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob to become God’s people, the Israel of God in experience.

Well. What Must I Do?

This is the part I liked. Congratulations to all the people like me, who didn’t want to hear things like “You must be overcoming!” or “You must be forgiving!” or “You must be some super specimen of spiritual  substance!”

Nope.

For today at least, you’re a winner, because all you have to do is be open to the Lord.  Abraham failed, but it was God’s appearing again and again that made him the father of faith. Isaac lived his whole life in grace, from beginning to end, so we see that he just spent his days receiving grace moment by moment. And of course, Jacob, the only person that is more of a Jacob than me, after Rachel (his natural preference, spoiler- OUCH) died, became a person that Christ could come forth from, because he allowed the Spirit to perform His work in him. So, we have many experiences in our daily life, where we can choose to cooperate with the Lord and become His people, or we can just, I don’t know, say our wife is our sister or run from our brother. But in the light of being open to the Lord, I enjoyed the behind the scenes process in these verses:

Ephesians 3:20- 21

But to Him who is able to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power which operates in us,

To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever. Amen.

When we allow this power to operate in us in our seemingly small situations, God is doing superabundantly above what we could ask or think: He is producing the Israel of God.

Life as A Contradiction

Okay, to be honest, that was a terrible title, but I thought that calling the post “The Death March Begins” was a bit dramatic.

Obviously, the last few weeks have been kind of rocky. And needless to say (why do we even have that phrase if something is needless to say?), the last few days have not been glamorous. And here I thought that at the end of the semester, I would be all happy and triumphant and glorious and possibly levitating…

Sometimes, a reality check is good for us.

Anyway, so the struggle continues, and in a few days, I will find myself exactly in the situation that I fought tirelessly NOT to be in, and I just have to be there. For like, days. With like, no escape. So as you can imagine, this became quite the passionate topic in my conversations with the Lord (“Why is this happening to ME”, “I would never do this to You if I were You”, “I thought we were in this together”, etc.), and the Lord eventually (between my many fits) reminded me of this verse:

2 Corinthians 4:7

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not out of us.

The vessel may be going through many things, oh let’s say, constant inward turmoil, but still, that vessel has a treasure. The verse doesn’t say “We have this treasure” and that’s it. But it’s the vessel that must hold the treasure, and even the vessel that must express the treasure. So even when we’re going through perhaps intense, personal psychological torture, somehow, mysteriously, we can still express the treasure. Like I said, I thought that I was going to be a bit (understatement– monumentally) more victorious in these days, and at first, that was really depressing. But in reality, the real victory is in the experiences that make us more one with the treasure. We may feel like pitiful, terrible, weak, and not overcoming Christians, but the real Christian life is that conflict- being a seemingly tragic earthen vessel but still possessing a marvelous treasure.

So, as I’m sure this week will lead to many more dramatic moments and wrestling matches with Lord (Who, let me say it in writing, will not save me from whatever perils I’m envisioning, AT ALL), my prayer is that those moments would really count in His eyes, and be unto the gaining of more of this precious treasure within.
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Guess Who’s Back…But Kinda Not

“Last We Left Our Heroine…”

Wow. Just when you thought it couldn’t happen…
She done done it again.
Yes, this is an actual blog post. Unbelievable.
Side Note: If some of you are still pondering what in the world that second sentence was, don’t let the fact that I’m somewhere in Arkansas influence any harsh judgements. For the record, that was all me, and the people of Arkansas are a lovely, articulate people.
Back to the main point: Oh yeah, I’m in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Land of Walmart, Kidsville, USA.
Seriously. There are children EVERYWHERE. Like a natural resource.
Good thing that’s not like a personal fear or anything.
Facing Our Fears

Really the Main Point

So, through a series of somewhat crazy events, I find myself writing again after 2 (going on 3) weeks of helping out on the campus at the University of Arkansas. It has been beyond awesome- getting to meet new students, enjoying the Lord with them, getting to connect with so many new believers of different stages in life. It kinda reminds me of something…

Ephesians 1:18

 The eyes of your heart having been enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints

Right. That.
But seriously, it’s such a mercy to see how rich the Lord is, and to be involved in something bigger than yourself.  It’s suddenly so real and clear in your experience that the Body is one, and how the growth of each one contributes to the Body’s building up.
It’s absolutely incredible to be a human being in the midst of all this.
And then of course that’s punctuated by moments of me trying to keep a baby from falling and crying. You would think I would see it coming each time.Well, the sad thing is I do. And each fall is still so, so humbling.
Anyway- highs and lows in God’s economy.
That said, at the start of what is going to be an unforgettable craziness (also known as a semester), it’s good to be back to my corner of the internet, attempting to utilize an English degree in tandem with my human spirit.
Yeah, hopefully it will turn out a lot better than that sounded.

Good News, Corinthians!

The All- Inclusive Christ

All-Inclusive? The Corinthians put Him to the test, and He was approved.

That’s right- I just called you a Corinthian. Offended?

Caution: Be careful how you answer, it’s kind of a trick question.

The point is, we’re all Corinthians, which is a reference to the believers that Paul dedicated two whole epistles to. We have all these problems, some great, some small, and outwardly, it might seem like there’s no possible solution to any of them, let alone all.

Well, this is the awesome part. The good news, in fact.

The thing is, nobody wants problems, but many times it’s the problems that open the door for the Lord to unveil who He is. The church in Corinth had some SERIOUS problems (heresy, fornication, lawsuits, you know, just to throw in some small things), but through them, the all-inclusive Christ as the all-inclusive solution was manifested. For example, in 1 Corinthians 6, there’s a problem of fornication- ones that are literally being “joined to prostitutes“. But in the midst  of something so dark and so damaging, one of the deepest truths in the Bible emerges:

1 Corinthians 6:17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.

Wow. Told you this was awesome news.

There will always be problems, but through these problems, we “Corinthians” have the way to know and experience the all-inclusive Christ as the unique solution. Even going into this weekend, I had a being FULL of problems-

“Lord, how do I take care of this person?”

“Lord, how do I help this person touch their spirit?”

“Lord, how do I even BE with this person?”

And that was just THOSE problems. But after seeing glimpses of the all-inclusive Christ for the past few days, I just felt that there’s nothing left to worry about, and there’s nothing else that we need. He really is the ALL- INCLUSIVE Christ, not just for the sake of being so, but for  the accomplishing of God’s goal to build up the church. After this, there’s nothing left to do but to enjoy Him (as indicated by Paul’s mentioning of grace at the end of 1 and 2 Corinthians- greater appreciation of that) and to PRAISE HIM!

Lord, continue to gain the praises and the glory through all your “Corinthians”!

Don’t Worry…It’s Okay to Be Happy

I hope I’m not the only one who gets this reference. Sigh. Probably am.

What is this? Another horrible title based on a trite (and outdated) saying? It must be…a new blog post! The thousand year writer’s block is over! (Makes crowd cheering noise as if there was a crowd to even cheer about such obscure things as my blog).

Seriously though, it’s good to be writing again, and as the title somewhat tried to hint at, yes, I’m actually happy. Very happy, in fact.

Person: Let me guess! You finished that play you’ve been talking about?

Me: What? It’s taken me months to write a post of 500 words OR LESS. Guess again.

Person: Umm, you opened a savings account and are now being responsible financially?

Me: Hmm. In order to continue to post only accurate things on this blog, let’s just say I opened the account, and we’ll leave it at that.

Person: Umm, you finally finished all those books that you were supposed to be reading? Like, both of them? That you started six months ago?

Okay, okay. I don’t have to be berated by my own psyche to know when something has become repetitive and invaluable. Let’s press on  from a different angle, shall we?

Person: So you’re not engaged?

(Eyes are rolled, and after a sigh of frustration followed by a selah, we are  ready to continue to our point.)

Take Two

So, I may be a lot of things, but first and foremost, I’m a believer in Christ. Which is awesome, because according to John 1:12, a believer is simply one who receives the greatest cargo ever- Christ Himself. Lucky for believers everywhere, this receiving was not just a one time, once and for all matter, but is ongoing, and moment by moment.

Now, ponder with me for a second. Receiving Christ for the first time? Happy experience.

So… what about receiving and enjoying Christ many times, and then again and again?

Exactly. It just gets better and better.

Now let’s make this a little more personal: You’re someone who daily (yes!) enjoys Christ, but eventually, through some clever working of the Master Himself before you even realize it’s happened, you end up hanging out with all these new people (younger than you in age and in the Lord) that are beginning to learn how to continually receive and enjoy Christ.

Happiness quotient: multiplied. At least by four. At least.

I enjoy Christ, they enjoy Christ, they tell me about the Christ they enjoyed and then we enjoy Christ together. Three words:  IT IS AWESOME.

So that’s why I’m happy.

I mean, recently my soul has discovered homemade pumpkin spice lattes and French macaroons (where have I been?!?), but come on, helping people enjoy God? Tons more happiness. Not even comparable. Perhaps it’s because enjoying Christ is exactly what makes God happy. And what makes God happy actually fulfills God’s plan that He’s had since, you know,  before time began. You see how that would explain all the happiness.

If not, it’s okay. I’m gonna close it out with a verse.

John 15:11

These things I have spoken to you that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be made full.

As we enjoy the Lord and bring others into this same enjoyment, we can’t help but to touch and become full of the very joy that’s in the Lord Himself.

Getting to Know You…

Getting to know ALL about You….

Since I’ve been hitting my (wonderful!) family pretty hard on these posts (especially my precious father), I think I’m going to follow suit with this post to get my point across.

Let’s work with my adorable little sister this time.

My sister says exactly what she thinks, LOVES dogs ( a bit too much), is probably one of the most selfless people I know, and-

She knows me better than anyone else in the entire world.

When I’m down, she knows exactly what quote from the Count of Monte Cristo or Lord of the Rings (“Why does it cry, Smeagol?”) to lead in with.

She knows that a new notebook will be received by me like a million dollars.

She knows never to touch my clothes (that one took awhile).

She knows exactly what my response will be to any action, question, or random happening.

Sickening, but my sister and I are like, one. We’ve spent most of the last twenty something years together, we obviously love each other in a way that can only be expressed in a repetition of old jokes and apparently foolish movie quotes, but when you really love someone, you really know them.

Okay, picture painted.  Let’s kick this up a notch to the divine level.

Songs of Songs 5:10-16

10 My beloved is dazzling white yet ruddy, Distinguished among ten thousand.

11 His head is the finest gold; His locks are wavy, As black as a raven.

12 His eyes are like doves Beside the streams of water, Bathed in milk, Fitly set.

13 His cheeks are like a bed of spices, Mounds of sweetly fragrant herbs; His lips are lilies, Dripping with liquid myrrh.

14 His hands are tubes of gold, Set with beryl; His belly is an ivory work, Overlaid with sapphires.

15 His legs are pillars of white marble, Set upon bases of gold; His appearance is like Lebanon, As excellent as the cedars.

16 His mouth is sweetness itself, And he is altogether desirable. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

The seeker in Song of Songs knew the Lord to such an extent that she could describe Him from head to toe. There are few people (my sister included) that I could describe in such great detail, but the seeker knew all this from spending much intimate, personal, affectionate, time with the Lord. I’m always freshly impressed when I read these verses. When we love the Lord in such a way, we will really know Him.

So at the start of a new semester, with many things to be preoccupied with, anxious or absolutely ecstatic about, I really don’t want to miss loving the Lord. The more we love Him, the more we know Him, and the more the Bride makes herself ready (Rev. 19:7).

Lord, I want to know You more this semester!