Wait

Sometimes, I don’t blog every day because other things take precedence over writing. Recording my life and sharing my heart here on Lead Me Where are a very high priority for me, but developing and maintaining relationships with people and spending time with Jesus are a higher priority. I love writing very much, and I miss blogging on the occasion that I go a day or two without, but sometimes it’s just what I need.

Other times, though, the reason that I have not posted something new and exciting is not that I am spending hours of quality time with people whom I love, or poring over the Word of God, but rather, it is because I don’t know what to post.

It’s that kind of predicament that I have found myself in this past week. I’m learning things about myself that I might have preferred to not know, and I’m growing in areas that I thought I was done growing in. I thinking about things that challenge my mind and heart, and you better believe that God and I have been having some interesting conversations this week.

And how do I blog about that? How do I encapsulate lessons that I am not even sure that I comprehend into 500-word blog posts? How can I show you what it feels like to see where I need to grow made blatantly obvious to me, and to not know what to do about it? How can I tell you what the answer is, when I’m still waiting for God to clue me in?

And so I wait. Wait to see. Wait to grow. Wait to understand. Wait to write.

~Natalia

Don’t Get Too Comfortable

Upon my return from work this evening, I stepped off the elevator three floors early and poked my head into Anna’s room. She looked up from where she sat on the floor, surrounded by a handful of her floormates. She wasn’t expecting me, but she grinned and motioned for me to come in. I stepped under the Christmas light wreath that dangled gracefully over the door, and let my purse slip off my arm and slide to the floor.

The girls had been watching an episode of Castle; gathered huddled around Anna’s laptop, swathed in blankets and leaning on fluffy pillows propped against the dresser. They had paused the show for a brief conversation that covered everything from the boys on their brother floor, to working out, to shampoo. The rhythm of girl-chatter was often broken by bursts of laughter, and it wasn’t long before Anna’s RA poked her head into the room, herself chuckling at the laughter that she could hear from her room halfway down the hall.

The conversation settled down quickly when Castle came back on, and I found myself leaning forward in rapt attention five minutes in, regardless of the fact that I had missed the first half of this TV show that I had never seen before anyway. We balanced on the edge of our proverbial seats until the end of the episode, when the swing of conversation once again picked up as the credits rolled.

I checked the time on my phone, and decided it was about time to finish my trek up to my own floor. I slipped my shoes back on, grabbed my purse, and bid farewell to the gathered girls. They wished me goodnight and told me I was welcome back any time. I smiled to myself as I passed the RA’s room and realized that she could indeed hear much of the laughter and chatter emanating from Anna’s room.

I skipped up the stairs two at a time and skidded to a stop in front of the door with a black “6” painted on it. I heaved the metal emergency exit door open and slipped through it into the bright hallway that is my home for now. I smelled the distinct smell that I now associate with my floor, and slowly padded down the hallway to the lounge.

I retrieved my dinner from the fridge in the kitchen, and sunk onto one of the worn, red couches in the lounge to eat my late dinner. Tiana sat across from me in her customary purple chair, her legs tucked up under her in her customary studying posture. Bible, notebook, and textbooks lay on the couch around her.

“Where you been?” She asked, looking up from her notes.
“Work, and then just hung out on 3 for a bit.” I told her in between bites of my tuna sandwich.
“3, huh?” Tiana asked, then “Don’t get too comfortable down there.” She added.

I put my sandwich down on my plate and looked at her across the coffee table.

“Thanks, Tiana. I appreciate that.”

And I really did. Because it’s nice to have a home here at Moody, but it’s especially nice to have people who want you to stick around your home, too.

~Natalia

Life Right Now {#17}

Rollerblading class sounds like a bit of a joke, but let me tell you; it’s tough work. Rollerblading all over the city, cruising up and down Lakeshore Drive, speeding around to the backdrop of The Chicago skyline.

Honestly, I’m working hard over here.

~Natalia

Always a Flipside

The flipside of seeing people as God sees them is seeing the pain and the hurt, as well.

The flipside of opening your eyes and heart to see beauty is seeing the broken that is so often mixed right in together with the beautiful.

The flipside of learning and growing and living is that growing has a reputation for being rather painful sometimes.

There’s always a flipside, isn’t there?

~Natalia

Our Privilege

I unlock the door and push into my dimly lit room. My roommate looks up from where she sits at her desk, grinning in welcome. We swap words back and forth as I dump my backpack on my bed; how was your night? Get some homework done? Sleep well last night? Anything fun happen while I was gone?

I sink gratefully onto my desk chair and flip open my computer. Rain has soaked through the edges of my shoes, and I slip them off as I wait for my computer to roust itself into working order.

I peruse my email, googlereader, and facebook for a moment or two, keeping an eye on the clock in the top right corner of my screen. For some reason unbeknownst to me, my “internationally synced” computer clock insists upon running nine minutes fast, and I am perpetually mentally adjusting the time.

At 2pm, I am to be in Sweeting 209 to participate with Student Outreach’s ministry to the residents of this grand city. The premise is simple; students from this school go out into Chicago to share the message of Christ’s love with whomever they encounter.

I have mixed feelings about the endeavor as I pull on a jacket and fish my Upass out of my wallet. It is a class requirement to go at least once with Student Outreach, and my heart cringes at the idea of sharing my faith only because it’s part of my grade, but I know there is a bigger issue, as well.

I open my closet to pull out my purse, and suddenly think, “It’s going to be great!“. Surprised by my own enthusiasm, I stop and consider what I had just thought. And then it hits me; yes, it could be great- if I have the right attitude about it.

Because here’s the deal: I have in my possession an indescribably wonderful gift. Eternal life and an intimate, deeply personal relationship with the same Lord who made me and you and the entire world. That’s what I have, and it’s amazing. But the other side of that is that not everyone has what I have. In fact, many, many people do not have a relationship with God, or eternal life, and without either of those, their lives are not only empty and dark, but headed to ultimate death.

It’s real and it’s heartbreaking.

But I can share what I have. In fact, I’m called to share it. It’s my job, and when I look at Christ’s excruciating death on the cross, which is the price that it took to bring me eternal life and a relationship with Christ, then telling others about Him becomes not only of utmost importance, but also less of a chore and more of a privilege.

I love Him and I want them to know about Him.

He loves them and I want them to know about that.

I’m still thinking about this privilege when I arrive in the classroom minutes later. Seated in classroom chairs in a make-shift circle, we bow our heads and pray to the One who it’s all about. We thank Him for loving us. We ask Him for boldness and courage, because we’re people, and sometimes we just get scared. We ask Him to give us wisdom, to help us, to guide us. Because we know how much we need Him.

And then we go out. Go out to tell about Him. Because that is our job; our privilege.

~Natalia

Fork Note

I was fifty-six minutes away from weekend freedom. Friday does not beat around the bush about things, and I’m seated in class by 7:30am each week. But that was hours ago; it’s now 11:54am, and I’m on my way to Church and its Doctrines. The entry way to Sweeting is customarily busy, with students bustling in and out, going to class, coming from the library, going to lunch. I hurry into the building on the footsteps of a young man who is kind enough to hold the glass door open for me.

The public safety worker standing just inside the building nods approvingly at the ID hanging proudly around my neck, and I instinctively put my hand up to stop my keys from swinging as I pace past the elevators and towards the stairs. After the whole episode wherein I broke my pinky toe during orientation week and spent the next several weeks hobbling around campus, I became rather accustomed to taking the elevator. I am currently in the process of weaning myself off the elevator, which is actually easier than one would think, especially when my classroom is one floor up, and the elevators insist upon making strange noises and occasionally jumping several inches after they have come to a complete stop.

My life is not in danger when I ride Moody’s elevator’s but sometimes it feels that way. So I take the stairs.

But I’m barely past the elevators, two of which have just arrived and are emptying their studious contents into the lobby, when something catches my eye. I am just about to round the corner and pass the library when I notice it. The push of people who I entered the building with dissipated significantly when I passed the front stairwell, and again at the elevators, and I am now briefly alone in the hallway.

So I stop to look. I stand next to the library window, one hand steadying the purse on my shoulder, the other still clutching my lanyard, and I look.

There is a yellow Post-It note stuck neatly on the windowsill that separates the library from the rest of Sweeting. Whoever left the Post-It note was clearly worried that it would un-stick itself from the sill and drift softly to the ground, for they left a metal fork on top of the note, thus securing it indefinitely.

I leaned down to read the small, neat handwriting that lined the yellow bit of paper. “But Jesus often withdrew to quiet places and prayed”. The Post-It quoted from Luke.

I stood where I was for a moment or two longer, considering this message from the Word of God, secured to the Sweeting windowsill by a fork lying neatly on top of it. I don’t know why someone wrote the note, why they left it where they did, or what would possess someone to abandon a perfectly good fork, but I’m intensely curious. And I rather liked hearing from the Word of God, too.

~Natalia

Casablanca Refreshed

I am here to inform you that my cultural awareness increased this evening. Although, actually, I’m still attempting to figure out why there is an unspoken rule that all women must see Casablanca at least once during their lifetimes. I’m honestly a little confused as to the main plot and conflict resolution involved in the film, and is Casablanca even a genuine place?

But really, it was a refreshing and relaxing time spent with other girls on the floor, enjoying a cultural staple on this fine September evening.

And now, to Bible study.

~Natalia

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