The Joys of Femininity

I read an interesting post about being a woman yesterday (International Women’s Day too, lol). It was written from a perspective I don’t usually read (seemed kinda feminist empowerment-y… it was suggested by WP, lol), but I thought the author had an interesting point: being female is hard, but there’s also great things about it and good stories we can tell, not just the horrible things coming to light in the #metoo movement.

What even makes femininity desirable, anyway? It’s a position of vulnerability, in all honesty. Women can’t walk home in the dark without feeling at least a slight threat (which is why we buy handguns and Dobermans, haha). Men might worry about being mugged once in a while (esp in big cities), but it’s nothing close to the risk to women when they’re alone. We’re vulnerable and easily preyed upon, and that’s no secret.

So the author of the post bemoans the lack of publicity for the good sides to being a woman. People don’t talk about the great sides to it: men killing spiders and cockroaches for us and opening doors when it’s perfectly unnecessary but they just want to be nice, etc.

Personally, I can cheerfully say that there is something empowering about being a woman. We’re great organizers of things, events, and people, can smile at random babies in stores without totally creeping out the moms usually, and we can bring forth life from our own bodies. God chose us to continue the human race, for crying out loud! That’s amazing!! (there are more benefits of womanhood, but it’s kinda hard coming up with them on the spot, so please remind me of some in the comments!)

Yeah, some aspects of life are harder as a woman; no one is denying that. But God specifically planned gender out this way, and I’m inclined to trust Him.

Thoughts? Leave a comment and start a discussion! (but you guys do that even without that reminder #shoutouttoamazingfollowers 😎👉👉)

-Mizqyd (Ms. Squid, hehe)

EDIT: for another interesting Jewish feminist perspective, check out this link.

Doubting Doubts Gives Us Faith

I just read a really, really, really good post called Faith and Doubt (and how they coexist) at Rethink.
You should go read it. Then you can read my thoughts on it.

It starts off with a great hook:

I’d bet that at some point every person has had some doubts about their faith. But despite the prevalence of doubt in our spiritual walks it’s rarely talked about or acknowledged. And when it is, often I hear doubt talked about negatively. You shouldn’t doubt. You can’t question that. You know what the Bible says is true. We downplay this pivotal piece of our faith journeys.

I can’t tell you how excited I was to read that first paragraph. It was so good to hear someone being honest about the onslaught of doubt that most serious, thinking Christians experience.

I’ve just been reading through Job as part of my yearly Bible plan, and this quote (from the abovementioned post) resonated so much inside my soul.

I screenshot parts of posts that I really like, and this was all just so good!

I left a really long comment/testimony on the post and then realized I should just turn it into a blog post, haha, so here goes:

I am a very analytical person, so I want to understand everything. This means that I put myself in the shoes (and the brains) of other people so that I understand their position. This can get me into trouble when I don’t have a good way to rebut their ideas. I also have a strong dislike of pursuing worthless ends and wasting time. Thus, I constantly analyze what I believe so that I know it’s the truth.

I went through an intense period of examining my faith about a year ago, coming up with what-if situations for Christianity like what if it’s actually a conspiracy, a fake, a lie that we’ve been indoctrinated into? It was really hard for me, despite having grown up having no doubts that God existed and that His Word was true. I struggled mightily for a long time, asking God to confirm His Truth to me in a way I couldn’t doubt.

It all culminated during a staff Bible study this past summer when the staff of Camp Gilead were reading through and praying Psalm 139. All the doubts I had pushed away or half-explained came pouring and pounding into my head, and I realized it was a make or break moment. Either I let the doubts destroy my faith by ignoring them (making me insecure in my faith), or I needed to follow the doubts to their logical end and destroy them once and for all.

I ended up crying a lot that night, but I didn’t shy away from the doubts. I followed them to their source and dared them to try their very best to destroy me.

They couldn’t.

Our God is so much greater than any of the doubts I could ever have, and no doubts make sense without the context of absolute Truth, so they automatically fail anyway.

I was set free that night from the overwhelming doubts that had plagued me for so long, and now I have a new unshakeable confidence in credulity of the Bible and in the God whom my faith rests in.
I still have to ward off the little doubts on occassion, but that comes with the territory of being right, I suppose, haha.

God is not scared of our doubts, so we shouldn’t be either. I listened to their sales pitch and then watched them self-destruct when confronted with Scripture, logic, and The Truth.

Recently, I stumbled onto a song that gave me the title of this post, Doubting Doubts by Citizens & Saints. I wanted to imbed it, but my YouTube app is acting up so you’re getting a link, haha. I absolutely love the musicality of this song, but also the authenticity of the lyrics, their raw vulnerability.

In another vein, our God is so great. I’ve been digging Joshua Aaron’s version (half in Hebrew, half in English) of How Great Is Our God.

Thanks for reading; I hope it encourages you as you work out your salvation with fear and trembling.

Deus est Bonus! (God is Good!)

-Sydney

Giving vs Getting

It always feels good to receive good things, doesn’t it?  Help with some hard things, hugs, money, wise counsel, birthday presents, etc. are all exciting things to get.

But have you ever experienced the joy of giving those things?

Giving someone money isn’t always the easiest thing financially, but seeing their joy when they are able to buy something they need or maybe just want is priceless.

Giving (and receiving) wise counsel bonds you with the person on the other end.  I received some amazing advice this summer from a friend I trusted, and I gave some good (I hope) advice to a couple different campers.  When you have serious talks about serious things that directly relate to someone’s life, you get to learn more about the person’s heart and thought process, bonding you with them in a very unique way.

When I need help, I don’t struggle with letting people help me because I think I’ll look stupid.  Instead, I freely accept their assistance and thank them profusely for their help while smiling hugely because I did need the help!  I often want to become better friends with those who go out of their way to help me, especially if I don’t know them very well.

But giving help is something I’m not very good at, simply because I don’t see the opportunities around me easily.  Some people have a gift of sensitivity to the needs of others around them, but I really have to work at it.  So, usually, by the time I realize someone needed help, someone else has already taken care of it.  But, the few times that I’ve been able to help someone by carrying something for them, opening a door, explaining a math problem to them, etc., it has been extremely rewarding to hear them thank me or see them smile.  Doing or saying something that brightens at least one person’s day a day is a goal I read somewhere that I really try to strive for.  Being the light, you know?

I hope this inspires you to get out of your comfort zone and give something to someone, whether it be your time, effort, money, or kind words. 🙂

-Sydney

Quatro Años

Guys…

I started blogging in 2013, so I was 13 (which just seems crazy to say).  In these four years, I’ve gained 324 followers. (Hoooowww???) But, more than that statistic, I’ve gained an uncountable number of friends; on WordPress and in real life.  Some have been good for a short time but faded away, and some are still here since 2013.  

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship because God also has recently given my family a bunch of new friends through our band/orchestra/choir program, GCHFA, through our synagogue, and through random (I mean God-designed!) encounters at the beach.  Like, how cool are people who are incredibly cool but yet also think that you’re cool??  It’s so great!

Thank you to all of these amazing friends (online and in person) who have made an investment into my life.  I wouldn’t be here without you, and I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without you. 

Praise God for friends!

-Syd the Squid

P.S. I’m going to see The Last Jedi with a bunch of my church friends (FAMILY) tonight!  

Christmas Tiiiiimmee Is Here!

I’ve been really busy practicing Christmas music for my upcoming band and choir concert.  Even my little brother has started singing “Jubilate Deeeeeoooo” around the house. 🙂  

My internal 10 year old Jewish girl still doesn’t know how I learned all these songs so quickly, but here we are, haha.  

But, she’s placated by the fact that my family is going to be leading worship at our synagogue’s Hanukkah celebration… Which is the day after our Christmas concert (but we’re just going to ignore that). 😄

Since my life’s been so wrapped up in music, I thought I’d go back and find some of my favorite music-related posts to share again. 

Strumming in Vibrato – A poem, the style of which is based loosely on The Bells by Edgar Allen Poe, which is my favorite poem ever. 🙂 

Ivory Keys (also a poem)

Little Drummer Girl – A short, slightly cringy contemplation of the gender gap in percussion… However, in my percussion class now, guys:gals is 4:3, so it actually feels pretty balanced.
I want to thank the people at GCHFA for their incredible mentoring and friendship.  GCHFA is Gulf Coast Homeschool Fine Arts.  It’s pretty much the coolest thing ever invented, cause now I’m playing the xylophone, snare, and bells in a band, while also singing in a choir, all with other Christian homeschoolers!  I appreciate this program and the people who run it immensely.  Thank you!

-Sydney

When Things Don’t Go As Planned…

Disclaimer: I originally wrote this sometime in late September, but apparently forgot about until now.  Enjoy!

Last year, when we went to Ohio, it was a rather mashed together, spontaneous, more-stressful-than-necessary trip.  

So, once we got home, my dad started immediately planning the next year’s (this year’s) trip.  We called up friends and got dates settled for us to see them, researched white-water rafting places, etc..  

When we started our trip in late August, however, things immediately began to fall apart.  

First, because of the beautifully chilly weather and because it started raining, our rafting trip was cancled.  Next, some friends who were going to host us got sick.  Then, Hurricane Irma made returning home on the planned day rather impossible.  

However, through all of it, God’s hand shone through:  

Instead of going rafting, we went to an American Ninja Warrior gym in Atlanta and saw ANW legend Ryan Stratis!  

When we realized we had no place to stay for the night when our friend had to cancel, we got the opportunity to spend the night at another good friend’s house.  That 24 hours was one of the funnest I’ve experienced in a long time, and it wasn’t even planned. 

Staying up in OH for an extra 4 days meant we could go to church (twice in one morning!) with our family, hear powerful sermons and great gospel worship, and reconnect with old friends.  It was a huge blessing that we would have otherwise missed out on had we left as planned on Saturday.  

My sister and I rather fond of our cousins (understatement of the year), but we were supposed to leave early Saturday, the one day our cousins didn’t have school.  We were very happy to not have to leave then!  We made a lot of fun memories in the extra days we had with them. 🙂 

Thank God that He always knows which plans should prosper and which shouldn’t! 

Squid

Sh’nah Tovah!

This post was written during my stepdad’s sermon at our synagogue on Yom T’ruah, so it’s a mixture of convictions, insights, and sermon notes.  Please listen to the actual message too, which I’ve linked to twice now in the same paragraph.  You’re welcome.

Sh’nah Tovah! (Happy New Year!) The blessing of a new year is not to be understated.

A new year, one without the mistakes and regrets of the last. One without the choices that haunt me still, nearly a year later. What a blessing indeed! The past is behind me, Hallelu Et Adonai! (Praise to the Lord!)

Lev 23:24
Yom T’ruah is a holiday of remembering, a memorial.
Memorials exist so that we never forget the good in the pain.
We remember the selfless heroes who died defending our country with memorials erected in their honor.

I want to forget the pain, but
I want to remember the lessons.
I want to forget the sinful thoughts, but
I want to remember the way God brought me back.
I want to forget the mistakes, but
I want to remember the way my mom fought for me.
I want to forget the hurt I caused, but
I want to remember the ones who forgave me.

God is both holy and loving. He calls me to be set apart, to set my heart apart for Him. He, in His love, gives me a reset button: a new year, month, week, day. He forgives me the sin that I confess to Him and repent from.
I want to turn from the patterns of thought I fall into, I want to run as far away from what entices my heart away from Him.

Love is not truly love unless it’s communicated, verbally and through actions. God loves us, and He has shown it.  Have I shown my love for Him?

–Exodus 19:9, 16, 18-20
While in the darkness, you rely on what you can hear. God wanted His people to hear Him.
–Deuteronomy 4:10-11
“I will make them hear.”
–Genesis 1:2
“darkness of darkness” out of the darkness, God speaks.
–Psalm 33:6
“A breath from His mouth” is very similar to the Sinai shofar blast.
–Genesis 3:8
“evening breeze” could equal “breath of God”
–1 Kings 19:12
Mount Sinai again, and Elijah was afraid, just as the Israelites were afraid. In the darkness, chaos, destruction, fear reigned. But in the quiet voice of God, Elijah found his Adonai.
–Psalm 33:18, 20-22
God hovers over the darkness of our soul so that He can bring forth life from it. He announces His presence with the sound of a shofar.
–John 10:11, 14
“We know the voice, the still small voice, of our Savior.”

The shofar blast is our cry for help. But we don’t need a trumpet blast, we have the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) interceding for us when we have simply wordless groans.

8 is symbolic for new beginnings.
Welcome, year 5778!

Holy Unto You (a song that makes me cry every time I sing/hear it 😊)

Happy New Year!!

Sydney

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