Are You Texting God?

Have you ever texted God?

You know, when you send up a quick prayer in the middle of something else, like you’d text a friend.

“Hey, God, I can’t find my keys and we have to leave in 5 minutes.  Please give me clarity!!” 

“God, You are so good!! Thank you!!” 

“How do I reach this person?  Lead my words please, Holy Spirit.”

“Please heal [friend who is sick] and give them your peace during this time.”

Recently, I’ve realized that this has become the bulk of my prayer life, which I’m not OK with.

Why? (you might ask)

Have you ever met a friend at a camp, vacation, or other short-term experience?  You get close to them, exchange numbers, and promise to keep in touch. But how often does your relationship stay that close or get better? Not very often, at least in my experience.  Some friendships are close enough or evenly-enthusiastic (where both of you desperately want to talk to each other) to stay close, but it’s always a different dynamic over text. You can’t help it!

In my experience, when you have a solely text-based relationship, it deteriorates. 

Example: I have/had two very close friends from camp this summer, one I text, one I email.  The email relationship “lasted” longer, as in, we talked more, and more frequently, than my texting friend, but it still was less fulfilling than talking in person, and we’ve drifted apart by virtue of busy schedules and other important things.  My texting friend is a lovely person, one of my favorite people I’ve ever met, but we have different lives!  If we hung out in person, I know we’d reconnect really well, but it’s just not the same over text.

But when you spend quality time with your friend, even when that’s just hanging out after church because your moms are talking (this never happens to me 🙂 ), you get a feel for their tone, their personality, and their character. You invest in the relationship in an almost tangible manner, and that counts immensely.  (Also, as a physical touch person, being able to interact physically (waving, hugging, smiling, making eye contact, hearing actual laughter, and pretending (or not) to hit them when they’re teasing you) is huge.)

(wow, a three-deep parentheses nest! … I’m not sure I should be proud of that, lol)

This applies to our relationship with God tremendously. 

When the only contact we have with God is over text, we lose the personal connection we had with Him whenever we last (first) truly connected with Him, whether it be at church, church camp, or in a middle-of-the-night prayer session.

In the Psalms (I’m mainly thinking about 119, but there are definitely a lot of others), David raves about his joy in God’s commands, how they direct his life in blatant ways, how they give him a reason to live, and how God is really incredible (but that’s obviously a huge understatement).  He sounds like me when I talk with my friends about a close friend who we all think is awesome and are just really thankful for.

But do you know how we got to know that really awesome friend? BY SPENDING TIME WITH THEM.

We have to have “face to face” talks with God to really keep the beauty of our relationship with Him alive.  This usually works best in a private place, though I’ve had some intense prayer arguments with God that left me in tears at His goodness in a group setting. 🙂 Setting aside time for, well, anything is something I struggle with, but it’s so important that I can’t afford to let it slip away from me. 

This is my resolution. To stop letting other “priorities” in my busy high school lifestyle get in my way of my time with God. Texting Him needs to be a supplement to our awesome recurring “face to face” conversations.

Sydney

The Privilege of Prayer

It’s a privilege, Lord
To talk to You in prayer
You bend your ear
And listen there

My filthy soul
You see as clean
All because of
Christ in me


I know this is the third poem in a row, so if you don’t like poetry, sorry, haha.  If you do like poetry, then here’s a little background:

The first stanza was written in March 2016, and the second stanza over a month later. But I wrote them on the same piece of paper, so I read them together, and I quite liked it. So, this is a composite prayer-poem. I hope it touches you as much as it continues to touch me. 🙂

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

Don’t Fight It!

I worked as a Junior Counselor this summer at a Christian summer camp.

But I didn’t sign up to be a counselor.  I never would have signed up to be one.  

This winter/spring, my friends were trying to convince me to apply to CG.  I told them ‘nah’ over and over again until they finally sent me the job description for Media Assistant.  After realizing that fit it to a tee, I begrudgingly agreed to fill out the application and see what happened.  

As I filled in my crazy long application, I realized that it was something God was leading me to do, and I felt very strongly that I was going to be accepted, though I couldn’t have told you why.

Fast forward a couple months, and I got a call from the co-Director, Mrs. K.  I was super nervous, but she was very sweet and put me at ease. 🙂 She told me that they were removing the media positions, but that they still wanted me to work for them, so would I consider being a Junior Counselor?  I was so elated by the fact that they actually liked me that I said ‘Sure!’  

Later, I realized that I had valid reasons for not signing up to be a counselor in the first place.

  1. I don’t know how to talk to/handle little kids.  
  2. I’ve only been to camp once in my life, and that was for a teen week, which is always different than every other week.
  3. *most importantly* I didn’t know how to be a counselor!!

So, I was slightly panicking in the weeks after that phone call.  

However, the two weeks I worked (plus a week and a half of staff time) grew me in ways I could never have imagined.  

I went through an intense stretching process in that very short (yet extremely long) time. I almost had a nervous breakdown, took a couple of voluntary naps for the first time in my life (which helped stave off the previous point), and bonded with an amazing group of people who were just a bunch of scary strangers (#homeschoollife) a month or two before.  I wouldn’t have survived without God’s strength in me and without the support group (we’re called counselors for a reason!) that He generously provided.  

Our assistant director, D, and his girlfriend, the head counselor, Miss E, poured into us counselors as our spiritual “parents.”  They had prayed for a whole new summer staff, and we were their answer.  They genuinely loved us and expressed that verbally and practically as often as they could.  

Everyone knew that God had brought each of us there for a reason, and the full-time staff members made us feel appreciated and loved, individually and corporately.  

It was a summer beyond my wildest expectations.

And to think that I had fought it.  

We usually don’t know what’s good for us. However, God does.  If you let Him plan your life instead of you (not with), it pays off.  Believe me. God knows. 

Before you set your mind against something, pray about it and make sure that you aren’t about to miss God’s next right turn. 🙂

-Squid

Light Has to Be Fastest

Today, I had to make a left turn from a two-way street. There was a car coming towards me, so I quickly analyzed how fast he was goingl, how quickly he was going to reach me, and whether or not I had the time to turn before he reached me. The conclusion I came up with was, “No.”
So I waited.

As I was waiting for him to pass me, I looked at his headlights. It was overcast and sprinkly but not dark, so I didn’t lose my night vision or anything.

During this period of time, I had a very odd thought. “I wonder if the time that the light takes in reaching me affects my perception of where he is?”

Almost immediately, I realized how foolish of a question that was. Light is the fastest, well, thing! in all of creation!

Then, I realized that God had to make light travel seemingly-instantly because otherwise all of our actions would be disastrously delayed. Can you imagine driving when you had a 5 second delay between when someone did something and when you reacted? Even giving people high-fives would be a feat of the highest difficulty!

If light traveled even only at the speed of sound, the world as we know it wouldn’t work at all.

However, would we even notice, if this was how it had always been?

Food for thought, eh? 🙂

-Sydney

Cracks in My Soul

I’ve made mistakes

And gotten cracks

In my soul.
You can fix me —

If I let you

Heal me up.
Puzzle pieces

Fit together;

Incomplete
Like a jig-saw,

He and I are

Incomplete.
We can fit well

But never right

Without you.
Originally written on 5-4-17 

Inspired slightly by the song “Make Us Whole” by Out of the Dust and “Concrete” by Britt Nicole.

I know that any relationship that God will lead me into someday will never work perfectly if He isn’t the true glue between us.  Love only goes so far.

The syllable count for each stanza is 4/4/3, which was really fun to write.  🙂

Squid