Hi Folks. ‘TIS THE SEASON FOR UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATERS, JINGLE BELL TEACHER EARRINGS, AND DECKING THE HALLS WITH TACKY CHRISTMAS LIGHTS LEFTOVER FROM CHILDHOOD. I write this in a strange mood (aka my blogging mood), as various bits of my life weigh heavier than normal. DISCLAIMER: I think this post will have pieces of many blogs thus far.
First I can’t forget to talk about iced lattes. But that’s for later. Second I need to remember to talk about RUF because it’s major important. Speaking of major, that’s the third thing I need to remember to address. Of course I will at some point (sooner rather than later) inform you that I have been crying, because what’s a blog post without my influx of unprecedented tears? And I also need to talk about Jesus but He will come last because he envelops it all.
I guess I’ll rave about Food Science first, because this writing urge has hit me in the midst of a study attempt for my last test of the semester. What, you say? A test on dead week? Yes a test on dead week.. In fact, a lab practical on dead week.. In very fact, a lab practical in my worst class on dead week… IN FACT, a lab practical in my worst class on dead week PLUS the only class with a final that’s keeping me here four extra days. *sigh* I shouldn’t complain because PURDUE EDUCATION. Being a junior in food science is like eating a cake that looks ok because you don’t really like your typical cake, but then you take a bite and it’s M-O-I-S-T + melted chocolate is flowing from the inside + the icing is not just icing but cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, and anything else that makes your mouth water + there’s ice cream. Yep. I love my major. Classic questions I am asked: “So do you get to eat every day?”, “Why do you need to study for finals if you’re just eating food?” , and the likes… Answers are no (but at least once a week) and FOR THE LAST TIME I’M NOT EATING FOOD GOSH DANGIT. However, a coolest thing: companies come to the food science department to test new formulations/products on consumers, and guess who one such consumer is?? ME!!! Minor rewards for completed testing of food samples include more food, a Target gift card, or a Starbucks gift card. I’m talkin’ more than once a week kinda test. Ya.
Maybe I’ll talk about iced lattes now. They are delicious. I hated iced drinks for a sad part of my life (in retrospect) but recently I HAVE BEEN BLESSED WITH THIS GLORIOUS DRINK. First it was iced latte, then somehow I forgot its depth of blessing, so I moved on to an obsession with cold brew (quick interjection: I was at the cafe and asked if the iced coffee on the menu was cold brew or iced coffee, and the boy said is there a difference? and I proceeded to enlighten him, and then one time I saw him on his bike, and next time I saw him at cafe I said “I think I saw you on your bike” and he said “Yeah, I was like, that’s cold brew girl!” so then I achieved a lifetime of successful knowledge dropping), then I made too much home-cold-brew and it got cold outside so I drank hot coffee and remembered how wonderful it is, then I randomly ordered an iced latte and regretted the past four months of forgetting it. Moral of the (story?): enjoy an iced latte (and order an extra for me).
Now RUF. This is where I transition into sap mode and get all emotional and not my impassive-ish self. If you were to take RUF out of the semester’s equation (which, if you were unaware like I am, is: semester= RUF + school + kind-of-research-job + cooking) I would be left with my awesome major, a couple hours spent on my job, a heck ton of cooking for nobody, and 99.76% of my social life diminished. I can’t begin to explain what a huge factor RUF has been in my sanity this semester. That is opposed to other semesters, when relationships did not click, I went to RUF out of self-imposed guilt and reluctance, and I had little desire to spend time with RUFians outside of large group. Looking back on the way God has changed my heart just in this semester has been an enormous encouragement alone; sometimes I am tempted to become prideful when I see how much I have grown- a growth that is entirely not due to my own methods, but instead God’s hand in my life. The friends I have grown to love and appreciate are huge encouragements and remind me that there are people who are just as weird, not normal, and awesome as me (last one is kind of a joke but kind of not). They also remind me that there is a God who brings people from all backgrounds, personalities, interests, families, and places to serve him at Purdue, a likeness that alone is the most crucial thing to begin and hold a friendship, to both have the understanding that we are OK because of Jesus’ sacrifice, and because of that, we are free to struggle, be vulnerable, be ourselves, and have hope TOGETHER. What a beautiful thing to see at work in a group of college students. We have begun this Sunday night dinner, where after church, a bunch of us go cook and eat together and spend the night enjoying unorganized fellowship with others. IT’S SO FUN. Again… we COOK and EAT together. Basically EVERY WEEK. God is at work, in my life and at Purdue!
So with that, I guess I haven’t really addressed my crying. It has been a strange off-crying-cycle semester. I guess it’s because of this: I used to view my Christianity as cyclical, or rather, one week I would be doing fine because I lived “like a Christian,” then the next week I would sin big time and “not be a Christian.” This reflected some innate understanding that my Christianity and faith and forgiveness was based on my actions, where if I was living right, I was “in,” and if I was living badly, I was “out.” I’ve learned and known my whole life that my Christianity is far from built upon my good works or sinful behaviour; if it was, I would be screwed! I couldn’t go one day without messing up. For some reason, I was thinking and living like I could earn my way into Heaven. However, this semester I started out great. I was living well and not doing dumb stuff. After a while I was like, “this is too good to be true; when am I gonna hit bottom?” I started to expect it and began waiting for the moment that I gave into sin and as a result started back at square one. Soon enough, the “desire to give in” popped up yet the temptation wasn’t there for me to cave to (in retrospect, hey thanks God!). I was processing all of this as it was going on, and went to talk to Curtis (my campus minister) about it. He brought up a very good point, something I needed to hear:
Maybe it was not that I wouldn’t continue to face the same temptations, but rather I would approach them differently. Maybe, instead of caving to the desires that continued to tempt me, I could say no and run to the cross, not with my own strength, but the understanding that I will always be a sinner, but that does not disqualify me because Jesus has qualified me. I can struggle with the sins of my heart and still be ok, knowing that God loves me so well that he sees His Son in my place.
What good news! Tying it back, today I was struggling with all of the hard things and all of the good things. I too often forget how much I need Jesus, regardless of the circumstance. I too often forget Him until something happens and I am helpless left to myself. So I started to pray, then I started to cry, because I was scared and sad being powerless in the face of hardship and that’s not an easy thing to be. But then I was crying in rejoicing, because my God is good to me. And then I kept crying because I needed to see the tiny post-it on my wall that reads:
“Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” Ps. 116:7