Friday, September 30, 2011

If Ignorance is Bliss It's Cuz She Never Heard of This

I pray daily about whether or not I'm in the right place right now... and in less than a week I have to know for sure. Though my image isn't clear, just when I think I've got it figured out, I'll have moments like today.

It's Friday, I'm recovering from one of the worst 24-hour illnesses I've had in years, and the last thing I wanted to do was stay after school for several hours. So, when one of my students walked in and reminded me that I was supposed to help him with his project (which was due DAYS ago), my stomach sank a little, realizing that the other work I desperately needed to do was going to have to wait. I had been looking forward to getting my grading done, grabbing a pumpkin spice latte, and strolling the streets of Harlem while listening to Andy Mineo's new mix tape (which you should definitely click on the previous text and download for FREE if you haven't done so already). I'm into these long walks around the city, especially when it's in neighborhoods God has laid upon my heart.

So, I begrudgingly pulled up a desk for my kid, and set my computer up on another desk, while I walked him through the beginning steps of his project. I decided to put on some Jesus hip-hop in the background (which I like to do during class sometimes), and after a few minutes discussion on our favorite rap artists and some reminiscent late-90s Cash money "I'm from New Orleans, I knew 'bout Lil wayne before you were born, and this is what we do" moments, we bonded over a love of all things hip hop, and I put on the aforementioned mix tape. I've always struggled with the fact that I absolutely love the sounds and beats and hooks and such of hip hop, but the language and themes drive me nuts, so when I discovered the amazingness of legit Gospel Hip Hop, it was like an answered prayer. I now like to share. The Westbank in me is very thankful. I shared with him my thoughts on this music, and how I like it better because the talent is the same, but the message is so much sweeter. We continued to listen, and he jammed along.

So now to the point. A few minutes in, while he's working on his project, the kid turns to me as I'm grading timelines, and says "You know, sometimes I wonder about God. Like, how is it possible that he like, created everything but like, he was never created?"

Floored moment. Quick prayer.

I proceeded to answer him in my best "we can't put God into our human box and try to rationalize him, he's way bigger than us," explanation. He then pressed on with a variety of other questions like, "So if he's God, how could he just suddenly turn himself into like, bones and skin and organs n stuff and put himself inside Mary?" and "If this guy can save the universe, why would he let himself die and get beaten?"

This conversation lasted for about half an hour. I don't have time to put everything into details, but suffice it to say, I got to do some seriously awesome sharing in this time. I got to share about how amazing Jesus's love for us truly was, and how he GAVE HIMSELF so that we wouldn't have to suffer - and that our stupid ways put him in that position. We talked about heaven and hell and spiritual warfare. We talked about Grace, and forgiveness, and good and evil. He had some fantastic stories and thoughts to share. I was so blessed by this conversation.


I was completely floored by the way God opened up doors today.

I think my favorite question was "Well, how do you KNOW he's real? Like, what makes you feel so confident that God is there?" which allowed me to share the amazing things he's done for me, and how his Holy Spirit is living, breathing, and flowing through my life.

So amazing. This kid's an aspiring rapper, and has shared some pretty creative and clever rhymes with me in the past few weeks. I'm so thankful that there are guys out there with the same talents as this kid who use their talents for his Glory so they can specifically reach this group of people, and seeing as how these are my kids, I am more than thankful for their willingness to serve in this way.

I'm also really thankful I didn't dart out the door and grab that latte this afternoon. This was soooo much sweeter.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Why do I keep trying

Why do I keep ignoring the Lord?

What am I trying to do? What am I trying to accomplish? I voiced these questions to a friend just a day before deciding to make another Danielle-centered decision. Why am I so focused on my OWN desires when I know the greater reward he has for me?

I have been working at a school for two weeks now, and it's a GREAT school. It's everything I looked for in a school.

but I am unsatisfied.

I have realized that I am unsatisfied because, ultimately, I don't want to work in a school (at least not as a teacher). Rather, as I've known for at least three years now, I want to be in full-time ministry.

But I keep makin excuses.

I have loans to pay off. I need to go back to school so I can be better equipped and therefore need to go make some money first. Etc.

Like God can't take care of that.

I knew 100% in my mind that he wanted me to work at Graffiti again this semester, and I've chosen not to. Technically, I'm on a trial period at this school, and, in all honesty, I feel myself sabotaging my chances of getting hired. Like, I submit lesson plans late without care, etc. I do like the kids, I do like my staff, and it's a great neighborhood, but it's not ministry. It's just not the same.

Then agian, other days I love it. I don't feel what I'm feeling right now. I feel like I definitely made the right decision by putting myself in a situation in which I can start working toward those loans, move into a cheaper apartment, and go back to school.

It's all a mess.

The truth is, even this morning diggin into Monday morning Jesus time, I read the passage about beinga anxious. We are higher than the birds, and they don't worry about having their needs taken care of, so why should we?

I guess I'm just going to keep praying that in the next few weeks God will show me how what I am to do.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pumkin Spice Lattes The Good Word

In the madness of starting a new job, I've also had to create for myself a new routine. In said new routine, it's especially important to pray through how my time with the Lord can be best spent. He's provided me with the time to spend, and I need to steward my time in a way that I can both keep my job, and more importantly, grow daily in my relationship with him.

This balance is crucial, in that I am on a trial period with my job, and it's not just a trial period for them to test me out, but also for me to see if this is truly where God wants me for at least the next ten months of my life. but more on that later.

What I wanted to share most, is the ABSOLUTELY RADICAL AMAZINGNESS I read while enjoying a pumpkin spice latte last night (ahhhh, fall!). I took myself to starbucks so I'd be removed from the distractions of work and my apartment. It's a routine I plan to work into my routine, even if it doesn't include starbucks (considering the only time of the year starbucks is my preference is during the fall when the pumpkin spice is in full force)

Have you ever had one of those moments where you were diggin through the word and you just wanted to stand up where you were and do a little dance because you were so pumped up and charged by the passages before you. That was me, last night. These moments rock my world.

I marinated in the words of Titus 2:11-14:
"For the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, waiting for our blessed hope, then the appearing of the glory of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for his own possession a people who are ZEALOUS for good works."

Retyping that, just blew my mind again. Dude, GAVE HIMSELF FOR US so we will be ZEALOUS for good works. What?! He wants us to live upright, self-controlled, and godly lives while we WAIT for him and his glory. really




don't read this lightly. In digging deeper last night, I came to know that the Greek word for waiting connotes eagerness. It's not like when I'm waiting on the train for work, its like, when I'm waiting from the time of the superbowl/BCS national championship games to the time when the first ball of the season is kicked off in the late summer/early fall times infinite numbers of awesomeness.


we are waiting on the GOD OF THE UNIVERSE. This big dude, who knows more than we will ever ever every understand, comprehend, or pretend to know. Things we could never wrap our mind around. He's coming to bring us into his fellowship. Like, for real. Take that in. and in the meantime, he wants us to be CHANGED by his promise.

Like, what is salvation if we don't let it soak us up. Why on Earth would we want the things of this Earth when we can be friends and live in community with the most infinite, unimaginable, greatest person who ever walked this earth. Like, think about this. Really think about it. I read this stuff every day, and sometimes I get complacent, but when I truly sit in amazement. WOW.

you'll prolly want to dance around a starbucks too.