Friday, September 25, 2009


Usually when I think of the word "suffering" I think of someone who is going through horrible health issues, a loss of a family member, or some other equally life altering situation. I often feel like the frustrations I go through don't really qualify as suffering. But no matter what you call the trials you are going through, it's still hard to bear at times. As most Christians do when they face a period of suffering, I decided to start reading Job along with a psalm this morning. I really liked the passage I found in the introduction to the book of Job in my NIV study bible.

This is how it summarizes the presentation of suffering in the story of Job as a whole:
"In Summary, the author's [the author of the book of Job] pastoral word to godly sufferers is that God treasures their righteousness above all else. And Satan knows that if he is to thwart the all-encompassing purpose of God, he must assail the godly righteousness of human beings (see Job 1:21-22, 2:9-10, 23:8, 10; cf. Ge 15:6). At stake in the suffering of the truly godly is the outcome of the titanic struggle between the great adversary and God. At the same time the author gently reminds the godly sufferer that true godly wisdom is to reverently love God more than all his gifts and to trust the wise goodness of God even though his ways are at times past the power of human wisdom to fathom. So here is presented a profound, but painfully practical, drama that wrestles with the wisdom and justice of the Great King's rule. Righteous sufferers must trust in, acknowledge, serve, and submit to the omniscient and omnipotent Sovereign, realizing that some suffering is the result of unseen, spiritual conflicts between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan - between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness (cf. Eph. 6:10-18)."

I don't necessarily think we should always assume that the suffering we are going through is solely due to circumstances beyond our control. Sometimes we do allow ourselves to get so far away from God that we inevitably suffer because we have lost sight of the One true source of goodness and fulfillment in our lives but spiritual warfare is definitely a part of every person's suffering in one way or another. Whether we are giving into Satan's lies on the little things or the big things, inevitably these things draw us away. BUT if like Job, we are following God with all our heart, soul, and mind but are still in a place of suffering where all our earthly blessings seem to be stripped away from us, we must remain true to the one thing that we know - God exists. And because he exists we know that he loves us and knows what's best for us even if it might hurt us physically, mentally, emotionally - whatever way it affects us, he is doing it to refine us and remind us that He is in control and is refining us to be more like him.

In light of all this, we will learn how to separate personal blessings from our motivation for pursuing righteousness. In other words, we are often motivated to be righteous because we believe we will be rewarded with personal blessings because of our efforts. And maybe we will be rewarded in some way but God doesn't always work like this. In our times of suffering, instead of focusing on the question, "how will God reward me or fulfill me as a result of this suffering?" we should remain true to the foundation, that God is our one and only help in times of trouble. Instead of wanting to turn away from Him and give up we can do what Job did and remain true to the belief that God loves us and is our constant. We may not always feel like he loves us, we might get angry with him, he may not even save us from our suffering/trials when we want him to, and like Job, he may even do the horrible thing of taking the feeling of his presence away from us, BUT through all of this, we can choose to wait for God and believe that he will never leave us nor forsake us.

I know I sound preachy but I don't want to come across as if I have somehow conquered this. I really wrote this post not because I have come out of a situation like this but because I am in one right now. I feel led to write these truths not just to remind me of how I should deal with my trials in a godly way, but to remind you as well. I don't know where you are at in your life right now, maybe you are at a place of contentment and are praising Christ for his deliverance and blessings but if you are in a period of trials know that God is our constant. He will never change, leave or forsake us in our time of need or pain. Think of it this way, if you are in a period of suffering and EVERY earthly thing was stripped away from you - like it was for Job - your health, your entire family, and even the feeling of God's presence - what would be the most important thing to get back? Would it be your family? Would it be your looks and health? Would it be your possessions? Would it be people's regard for you (aka your popularity/likability)? Or would you desire above all else to feel that God has not left you? I know faith isn't about feelings but sometimes when we are stripped of everything and are even doing all the right things to try and stay close to God, we often expect to feel him changing us or moving us toward something but sometimes we still might not feel his presence. It's so much harder to remain faithful to him and continue to pursue godliness when we feel like he has deserted us. We might even want to just throw up our hands and say, "This Christianity thing is not working. I give up!" Even at our weakest moments - no matter what we feel - we can know that God IS there - even if we don't feel him.

I pray that wherever you are today, you would take comfort in the simple truth that we have the hope of God's consistency in our lives. Whether we feel him or not, he is there. That's what Job believed on and that's a hope worth fighting for.

Psalm 73 (NIV)

BOOK III : Psalms 73-89
A psalm of Asaph.
1Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.

2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.

3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.

5 They are free from the burdens common to man;
they are not plagued by human ills.

6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.

7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.

8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
in their arrogance they threaten oppression.

9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.

10 Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.

11 They say, "How can God know?
Does the Most High have knowledge?"

12 This is what the wicked are like—
always carefree, they increase in wealth.

13 Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure;
in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.

14 All day long I have been plagued;
I have been punished every morning.

15 If I had said, "I will speak thus,"
I would have betrayed your children.

16 When I tried to understand all this,
it was oppressive to me

17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.

18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.

19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!

20 As a dream when one awakes,
so when you arise, O Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies.

21 When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,

22 I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.

23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.

24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

(bolded emphasis added by me)

Psalm 27 (NIV)

Of David.
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.

3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.

4 One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.

6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.

7 Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.

8 My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
Your face, LORD, I will seek.

9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Savior.

10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.

11 Teach me your way, O LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.

12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing out violence.

13 I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Songs that are on my mind

So I love music even though I cannot play it and do not sing it very well. Music has a way of expressing what I cannot put into words so I almost always have lyrics stuck in my head. Here are a few I wanted to post because they are songs I continually find running through my head as part of a consistent prayer. Life is going very well for me right now but I am reminded daily of what it means to give everything I am and hope to be to the One that loves me with a perfect love.

Steven Curtis Chapman, "Miracle Of The Moment"

It's time for letting go
All of our "if onlies"
Cause we don't have a time machine

And even if we did
Would we really want to use it
Would we really want to go change everything

Cause we are who and where and what we are for now
And this is the only moment we can do anything about

So breathe it in and breathe it out
And listen to your heartbeat
There's a wonder in the here and now
It's right there in front of you
And I don't want you to miss the miracle of the moment

There's only One who knows
What's really out there waiting
And all the moments yet to be
And all we need to know
Is He's out there waiting
To end the future's history

And He has given us a treasure called right now
And this is the only moment we can do anything about

So breathe it in and breathe it out
And listen to your heartbeat
There's a wonder in the here and now
It's right there in front of you
And I don't want you to miss the miracle of the moment

And if it brings you tears
Then taste them as they fall
Let them soften your heart

And if it brings you laughter
Then throw your head back
And let it go
Let it go, yeah
You gotta let it go

And listen to your heartbeat

And breathe it in and breathe it out

And listen to your heartbeat
There's a wonder in the here and now
It's right there in front of you
And I don't want you to miss the miracle of the moment

And breathe it in and breathe it out
And listen to your heartbeat
There's a wonder in the here and now (here and now)
It's right there in front of you
And I don't want you to miss the miracle
Of the moment

Mercy Me, "Where You Lead Me"

What is life?
A thousand roads, a thousand ways
Why am I so afraid to move
I crossed the line
I'm stepping out so come what may
I give it all cause I'm drawn to You

As long as my heart is beating...
Where You lead me I will follow
Where You lead me I give my life away
Where You lead me I will follow
Forever and a day
Forever and a day

I can't deny Your very presence is my life
And why would I ever turn away
Cause deep inside I know that I cannot rely
On anything less than faith

As long as my heart is beating...
Where You lead me I will follow
Where You lead me I give my life away
Where You lead me I will follow
Forever and a day

This is all I'm dreaming of
To live completely in Your love
So this is life

Where You lead me I give my life away
Where You lead me I will follow
Forever and a day

Where You lead me I will follow
Where You lead me I give my life away
Where You lead me I will follow
Forever and a day
Forever and a day

I am just constantly reminded of what it means to have faith as I continue to figure out what God has for me in LA. I am also learning what it means to give Him the praise He deserves no matter what the circumstances of my life are - whether things are going well or not.

I want my faith to be grounded in the truth of His deep love, His rich mercy, and His free grace and not let my faith be ruled by a rollercoaster of emotions. I am getting better but I am so glad to have dear brothers and sisters in Christ to share struggles and triumphs with in the good times and the bad.

Today, I pray that you would be reminded that God loves you and that his truths are the foundation for our lives even when our emotions get in the way. Even when we don't believe that He has our best interests at heart, He is still there with us and he still loves us.

Ephesians 3:14-21
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Colossians 3:12-17

I came across these verses today and found it very encouraging and a good reminder of past situations I have been in where I did not exercise some of these values. Oh how wonderful the word of God is that offers such great wisdom to us so plainly - the tough part is learning to take His advice. lol Especially when it's something we don't want to hear.

Colossians 3:12-17 ESV

"12Put on then , as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do , in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Friday, July 10, 2009

I am so not good at keeping this up...

So obviously it has been a while since I posted here. Let's just say it's been a crazy 7 months since I moved to LA. There are so many amazing things about this place - the weather definitely being one of them but even after being here for a while I still have no real idea of what I want to do with my career. You would think I would be headed in the right direction but I still honestly have no idea. I mean okay I think it would be great to be a director or producer but am I really cut out for that? Is that really where my talents lie? If I only go for the other levels of production such as production coordinator or AD, won't that get a little boring? And after all, will all these things really matter in the end? I mean I don't want to be chasing after a career so much that I miss the bigger picture and what's really important in life.

I don't know...I definitely still think that I am out here for a reason. I really DO like it here. It's definitely a good sign that I haven't really considered going home every time something did not work out right. I still really want to be here even with the traffic and the fact that I live in The Valley (which I actually really like so I still don't understand why it gets such a bad wrap - Ohio people you might not get this reference but I can explain it to you sometime.) Anyway, I have had a lot of time to think lately since I have been practically unemployed for about a month and a half. It's sad but I definitely feel like my life has more purpose when I have a job to go to every day. It is definitely nice not having all the distractions of work and having more time to work out and do some things that get pushed to the side but I am definitely getting to the point of frustration. It is so hard to be patient! I know that God has some sort of plan in all this but it's hard not to get a little restless while waiting. Some people I know have gone without work for five months so I am definitely feeling blessed with the few days worth of work I have gotten since my last full time PA job.

On the bright side, there have been more job postings on the Internet the last month that are entry-level so that's good. At least there has been more I can apply for. Most importantly, it has been a good time to refocus and at least try to discern where God might be leading me career-wise. As I said before, I am really no closer to figuring out what that looks like but at least I have the time to think about it and listen to whatever He wants to tell me. I have finally come to accept that even though I am so scared of failing and having to move home for financial reasons - not there yet - I have decided that I don't regret one minute of taking the leap of faith to move here. I have grown so much in my walk with Christ. I have been praying for years that God would help me take our relationship to the next level (not to sound cliche). For so long I have wanted to see how far my faith would go when really put to the test. Granted this test is pretty mild compared to being a martyr but I know that if I would have stayed in Ohio - in my comfort zone - that I would definitely not be as in love with God as I am now. It's hard trusting Him with my finances, my family, and trying to build a new life out here but He has shown himself to be so faithful and I am continually learning what it means to really put my faith in Him every day.

Enough about the job woes though. I have so many things to be thankful for and one of them is the fact that I will be going home soon to see my family for the first time since I left Ohio. I am soo excited to see them! I will be home Thurs, July 30-Thurs, August 6 so if anyone wants to hang out - let me know. I would love to see as many people as I can. I am also very excited to go home since I will be able to celebrate the marriage of my former roommate, Kelly, and see the other 804 girls. I can't wait! As always, I have to put in a good word about my A-mazing roommates here in Cali - without whom I would have gone running back to Ohio a long time ago and the great new friends I have made out here. One of the best things about LA is the fact that so many people here have a similar story to mine. They moved out here to start a new career and don't have family nearby so everyone becomes each others family. Many of us are a bunch of misfits but it's great to feel the love from people you just met and can instantly connect with them because they often truly know how you are feeling about your own transition and vice versa. The church I have finally settled on is great as well and really challenges me to move closer to Christ. It has also provided some great fellowship. Even though I have only been going to the church for about 6 weeks on a regular basis and a small group about the same time, I already feel so close to the people there. My small group has very mature and incredibly loving and unselfish people. I haven't experience such great community with Christians in a very long time and in such a short time too. So praise the Lord for that!

Well that's about it for now. I still have so much to be thankful for and I hope that you are encouraged today knowing that God will truly take care of us when we seek Him with an open heart. A God that has the power to create the earth out of nothing can certainly take care of us especially when he knows what we need even when we don't. I hope He allows me to stay longer and continue this adventure with Him.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV (one of my top 5 favorite verses)
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

November: The Month of Networking and Waiting

This month was pretty much spent getting adjusted to LA. Since I moved out here with no job I decided that the best way to get work would be to register with some temp agencies and start there. The first week I registered with two agencies, AppleOne and Spherion. My roommate Daphne was so helpful with my whole job search. She started out as a temp and eventually, got here job a Warner Bros. Interactive as an assistant. I was so excited because I ended up getting a one-day assignment right away from Spherion on the Warner Bros. lot. I can't really tell you too mcuh about it but I filled in for the receptionist at Lengendary Pictures (the company who produced movies such as Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, 300, Superman Returns, etc.) so that was cool. I ate lunch at the cafeteria and saw a few people I recognized from TV shows. It was definitely a good first experience. As I sat there during the day, it was weird to realize that I had been in LA less than 3 weeks and already I was sitting on a studio lot. Pretty exciting!

Well, unfortunately, the rest of the month was spent waiting for a job. Neither temp agency seemed to have any work to offer me when I called. I met with a Miami alumni, who works over at Fox Studios and that was a great experience. He directed me to the manager in charge of hiring for productions and they did not have anything to offer me but asked me to check in with them periodically so I was thrilled with the contacts there. I also met with a director I knew from the Oxford International Film Festival last year and he said he would pass my name along to a few people. But since the industry shuts down most production around Thanksgiving and through the first of the year, there was not much to do but wait for the temp agencies. One day, I actually decided to go register with a casting agency so I could possibly get on a set as an extra. It was probably one of the best days I had that month because I was able to finally get out and meet people who had worked in the industry. I got a chance to have some interesting conversations with people while I waited in line to get my paperwork approved and have my picture taken. It was not very expensive to do and I was able to get a little understanding of what it is like for actors trying to make it in the industry. I really give those people credit - it is NOT easy that's for sure!

Overall the month was a good experience because I was continually reminded to have faith that God would provide something and that we often need to wait faithfully on the Lord's timing and not our own. I was able to reflect and realize that God really had provided so much for me already. My roommates and my apartment are one of the most important manifestations of that. I could not have asked for three more wonderful women to live with in such a big city and our apartment is such a nice size for the price we pay. This city can be SO lonely without some good, friendly, trustworthy people to go to when things get tough and it is wonderful to have roommates that are so inclusive and welcoming. The first week I was in LA, I was immediately invited to do so many things with them. I met a bunch of their friends and I even met my roommate, Rosalie's family the second weekend I was here. God provided and continues to provide so faithfully.

Finally, the week of Thanksgiving, I finally decided that I needed to get a steady job of some sort - even if it meant working at Starbucks - which don't get me wrong, I am not dissing that job but that was my go-to last option job and I had desperately hoped not to have to go there. Anyway, I decided to touch base with Spherion one more time before the holidays and see if there were any jobs that would require more work over the holidays since I knew I would not be going back to Ohio and would have more time to dedicate to a position than other people might. Anyway, I emailed back and forth with a lady at the agency and did not get a call until the day before Thanksgiving but it was so worth the wait! She offered me one of their best paying positions as an executive assistant to two producers at Fremantle Media (a reality TV show company). Not only would it pay well, but it would last through the holidays and into February 2009. Of course, I accepted the position and started working there December 1st. I will update you later on work though since this post is pretty long already but the Lord definitely provided at just the right time and it is so fun to look back and see how faithful He was and is. :)

Thanksgiving was a fun experience. Not only, did I now have a job but I was able to spend it with friends and not be alone. My roommates friend, Angela, hosted a Thanksgiving Extravaganza at her apartment and we had a delicious meal with about 15 other "LA orphans" complete with all the usual Thanksgiving trimmings. I got a chance to meet some really great people and discovered that being friends with a bunch of aspiring writers is pretty cool, especially when they are in the Writer's Guild because they get screeners for Academy Award nominated films and we ended up watching one that day. P.S. so glad I did not pay money to see it in the theaters though. haha But fun to see it anyway.

Looking back it is hard to believe all of this stuff happened in one month. It seemed like it lasted FOREVER. I can't say truthfully that I did not get nervous, upset, or have moments of doubt about moving out here but God showed up just when I needed Him and I can't wait to see where He takes me in this New Year!

An update - FINALLY

I am so sorry to all of you who have been waiting to hear from me. As I mentioned in my first post, I cannot promise to keep up with this but I will try. At least you can get some more info now that I am motivated to write but don't forget to let me know what is going on in YOUR life, I would love to hear about anything you want to share, even if it is sad. Don't be strangers!

My First Week Continued:
My dad and I spent the second day in LA trying to decide whether or not we were going to go to the beach or downtown LA and do all the touristy things. Since I did not know which beach we should go to or the best way to get there, we settled for the touristy stuff. It only takes about 30 minutes to get to downtown LA from my place - with traffic so that's nice. We stood outside Grauman's Chinese Theater - which is really small compared to most pictures and we also went to the Kodak Theater complex which sits right next to Grauman's. The Kodak Theater is actually surrounded by a big outdoor mall so you still have to get tickets to see inside of the actual theater, which we did not do. But you can see the big Hollywood sign from the north end of the complex. My dad and I ate at a California Pizza Kitchen and I am pretty sure I had my second celebrity sighting that day though I couldn't get a good look at her face. But I think I saw Busy Philipps from "Freaks and Geeks", "Dawson's Creek", and "ER". Anyway, after lunch my dad and I walked around downtown a little more then drove into Griffith Park and up to Griffith Observatory. It was such a neat place to go. From the mountain you can see the entire city spread out below and there is a great view of the Hollywood sign not far from the Observatory. That's pretty much it for the rest of the week. My dad and I spent the rest of it shopping and getting things set up in my apartment. (You can view photos on Facebook.)

Oh! But I did get a chance to go to the beach on my first Sunday in LA. My roommate, Rosalie, invited me to go to church with her. We went over to the Kodak Theater complex and had Red Robin, which was an interesting experience since we were mobbed by little girls in their moms because it was opening weekend for High School Musical 3 and Disney's El Capitan theater is across the street. But we finally escaped and ended up at the beach. It was so much fun! We stuck our feet in the water and ended up getting really wet since the tide was coming in. It was a great way to cap off the week of new experiences in a new town.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My First Week in Cali (Part 1)

The day after I arrived in California, my dad came over and we went shopping. The first thing we did though was eat at a little cafe near one of the many shopping centers. We sat outside in the 70 degree weather and I enjoyed looking around at the palm tree-lined road and the general hustle and bustle of my new home. After breakfast, we headed over to the AT & T store. Before I moved I was still on my parent's family plan so I had to get my own account and I decided to change my phone number while I was at it. The girl who helped us was named Whitney and when I gave her my new address she got really excited because she used to live in a house right across the street from my townhouse. How cool and random is that?! Anyway, she assured me that it was a quiet, safe neighborhood, that had a great landlord (he own the house she rented across from my townhouse), and I was getting an awesome deal on rent for living in one of the best places in the LA area. I told her I had just moved to LA the day before so she even gave me some great restaurant recommendations. It was so amazing to meet her because it just showed my dad and I that God really seems to be blessing this move and making sure I am taken care of.

I don't want to make this post too much longer and bore everyone with details so I will just finish it up with one last story.

Anyway, after the AT & T store, I needed to get a desk for my computer and a mattress since I had nothing to sleep on except an air mattress which led to my first Ikea experience. I had never been to an Ikea before but there is one a few blocks from my house. So my dad and I took a look around picked out a few things in the showroom area and then headed downstairs to pick it up. As I was walking through the accessories area I had my first celebrity sighting. I looked over to my right and saw Andy Dick pulling two carts full of stuff, he smiled at me but I quickly looked away since I was totally not prepared to be so caught off guard. LOL Not an amazing first encounter with a celebrity but a funny situation none the less since I had not expected to see anyone there much less someone so blatantly recognizable. No mistaking that it was him. So anyway it was a great first day in LA.