Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hard Times

A lot of things have polar opposites- there’s the obvious North and South Pole, but there’s also black and white, warm and cold, up and down, ying and yang, happy and sad. But does that mean that for every good moment there is a bad moment too? Lately I’ve been thinking about the hard things we go through in life. I’ve had really good moments in life, but also some really bad moments.
For the past few days I’ve been studying from the book of Job. Job is described as being blameless and pure, a man who fears God and shuns evil. He has to go through many trials- losing his wealth and family, painful sores. Yet he never blames God or curses Him. That made me think about how I handle bad things in my life. It’s odd that during deaths of family members, choosing a university and a program that hardly anyone supported or wanted for me, an injury that resulted in me losing my swim career and chance at a national spot and almost losing a semester of school in the process- big, life changing moments, I’ve relied on God. Even during my teen years when I tried to walk away from God, I still knew in my heart He would sustain me and watch over me. But last week my faith was weakened over something much smaller. I guess “the rest of my life” isn’t small, but what I saw as a bad thing was really a blessing. I’m finishing a degree, and I have so many options and exciting things ahead of me. When I should have seen that the Lord has provided me with many paths to take, I chose to see and focus on the negative. So, it is my prayer lately that I keep the same faith that Job had.
Following the theme of opposites, I have good news and bad news. The good (no, fantastic!!) news is that….my applications are done!! Done, done, done, in the mail, done!! I mailed them yesterday, and I felt like I just floated out of the post office! It was such a relief to have them all done and not have to worry about finishing them anymore. Now I just have to worry about the results-haha!
This week has definitely been the busiest of the year. Due to the fact that we all overload on our courses, the exams for my program are scheduled a week early, giving us time to properly study for our elective exams. So, this week I’ve written three exams in four days, with my last one this afternoon. Then, tomorrow morning I have my thesis presentation. Three and half years of work is culminating in one presentation tomorrow, and I am SO nervous! So, here’s the bad news: I woke up yesterday with an awful cold, and I’ve completely lost my voice. In about fourteen hours I have to stand in front of all my classmates, the head of my program and a panel of professors to discuss the implementation of mandatory physical education in schools, and I can’t talk!! I’ve been drinking tea and honey like crazy and doing every trick I can think of, so hopefully I’ll wake up in the morning with my voice back, loud and clear.

Job’s friend Eliphaz talks in Chapter 5 about the faithfulness of God. He says:

“He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. He bestows rain on the earth; He sends water upon the countryside. The lowly He sets on high, those who mourn are lifted to safety”.
- Job 5:8-11

Trusting in the Lord’s faithfulness-

*L

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Waiting patiently can be so hard!

Doesn’t it just make it worse when everyone around you is having fantastic luck when nothing right is happening for you? That’s been my past week.
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but lately I’ve had the attitude of “who cares?”. I’m being honest on this blog, even if it paints me in a bad light. I’m usually a very organized, responsible person- the kind that gets their homework done and finishes assignments days in advance. Definitely Type A, and a textbook-definition eldest child. Lately…not so much. Last Friday I found myself sitting in class, staring out the window half the time and the other half of the time I sat their thinking “who cares?? I mean really- in the grand scheme of things, it is crucial that I learn about long term athlete development?”. For the first time in my life, I actually don’t care, and to be honest, it scares me. This is new, unfamiliar territory for me.
I’m also panicking over my future. My typical Type A self used to have it all planned out. I knew exactly what I wanted, and had my entire life plan mapped out. Now, it’s just a bunch of murkiness. I have about the next 24 hours planned, and that’s it. Teacher’s college applications are so stressful I think they’ve taken about ten years off my life. Plus, after paying for them I have officially emptied out every last penny in my savings. Then, I found out yesterday that the number of applicants admitted has dropped. One school dropped their admittance from 800 to 150. So, not only am I completely broke, but my chances of getting in have been slashed dramatically.
I’m really starting to wonder if my whole degree is worth it. This summer at the youth centre, I organized a basketball league. I’m a terrible basketball player, but I would always warm up with the kids and shoot baskets with them. The janitor at the centre one day was helping me with my free throws, and he made a comment about how women needed men to teach them about sports, to which I replied “you do realize you’re talking to a female human kinetics student”, to which he replied “yea, but no one will hire you, because you’re a female in a male business”. I thought he was just being a jerk, so I ignored him. Later that summer, I organized a mini-NHL tournament, and the kids picked their favourite teams, and the programmers at the centre were the general managers of the teams. One of the girls at the centre one day told me “hey Lauren, you’re the first female NHL GM!”. I was telling this story to two male friends the other day, and they told me that that would never happen in real life because a female would never be hired by a pro-sports team. We got in to this major debate over this, and I think I came out on the losing end of that argument. My dream job, my reason for picking my degree in the first place, was to work for a pro-sports team. This just made me feel more frustrated and confused.
For some odd reason, I’m one of the only ones in my group of friends to go to university. Some went to college, others didn’t pursue post-secondary education. Most of them are married or engaged, they all have real full-time jobs and are so much farther ahead in their lives. My friend Erin is getting married this summer, has an amazing job with an amazing salary, and just bought a house. A HOUSE!! I don’t even have enough money to make rent to the end of the year. I just feel as though the past four years aren’t really doing anything for me.
Right about now I just want to scream to God, “alright, I know you have a plan for me, but I’m sick of waiting! Just show me the way. Make it clear, let me know it’s all going to work out!”. I sound like such a spoiled brat, complaining over stupid things, most of them trivial in the grand scheme of things. But, this is where I’m at right now, and I’m going to be honest, even if it’s ugly. Besides, it makes me feel better to type it all out.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him”
- Psalms 37:7

Waiting patiently for my Lord-

*L

Thursday, November 16, 2006

E.E. Cummings has it right!

I'm taking a class called "Gerontology and Exercise", and today's lab portion was done in the pool. We'd just finished a project about class and exercise planning, so we were putting our skills to use by trying out our aquatic program. The class is mostly comprised of girls, and every single girl, except for two, showed up in (I kid you not) scimpy bikinis. The only to who didn't ? Mal and I; the two Christian girls in the group. It was like a game of "spot the Christian". It was an exercise class!!! What were they thinking?!?!
Sorry if this sounds whiny, but lately I've been really frustrated. I've actually been taking a lot of criticism this week about taking a stand, or being a "good girl", and it's just starting to wear on me.
I've got a stack of reading to get to, so I've unfortunately got to cut this short. PRAY for me, because this has been a trying week!

"To be nobody but yourself- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting".
- E.E. Cummings

We are so lucky to have to Lord on our side in this fight!

Love In Christ;

*L

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Confessions

I have a confession to make- I have an addiction to Post-It notes. I can’t get through a day without using them. I use them to write little reminders to myself, post favourite quotes on my mirror, write questions on my class notes so I won’t forget them, leave people notes, bookmark pages, leave reminders on my calendar and day planner…they’re everywhere! I have a collection of Post-It notes: big ones, medium sized ones, little ones, standard yellow, neon, pastel coloured, flower shaped, heart shaped, standard square shaped. It’s definitely becoming an addiction. I even get a little giddy when I see a new design or colour in the store.
Sadly, I spread the addiction, and my friend Ellen fell prey. When we used to go to the same church we would leave each other Post-It notes in our devotion notes and Bibles. Sometimes we would find them right away, sometimes we wouldn’t find the notes for weeks or months. They were always fun to read, and I think I’ve kept every one Ellen left for me. Ellen and I haven’t seen each other in years, but every once in a while I’ll stumble across an old Post-It. The other day I was flipping through the Bible I used when I was younger, and I found one of those notes. It was a simple note that Ellen had left- in the middle of the Post-It were the words: “Put God in the centre, and everything will come together”.
Here’s my second confession of the night: life for me has been pretty crazy lately, so I’m guilty of not putting God “in the centre” as much as I should. I’ve let my deadlines, applications and studying overtake my life. The newspaper, my future after graduation and my school work are all very important. They deserve my time, effort and dedication. But so does my Heavenly Saviour!! I have to admit, I felt more than a little guilty after reading Ellen’s note. That made me think more about how easy it is to slide God down our priority list.
The first draft of my teacher’s college applications are done (finally!), my reference letters have all been sent out, most of my articles are done for the paper, and I spent the whole day making study notes. Why is it so easy for me to get all of those things done, but my Bible sits unopened and my devotion book has no entry for today in it?
Guess where I’m headed now? I’m spending the rest of the night with the best textbook of all- the textbook for life that the Lord has given us!

“He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken”.
- Psalms 62:8

Love In Christ-

*L

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Application anxiety

So, it's official: if I ever hear the word "application"again, I'm going to be sick! Journalism applications, teacher's college applications, internship applications...and when it couldn't get any worse, I had a meeting with my academic advisor yesterday, and guess what she gave me? My application to graduate! AH!!
I guess when it rains, it pours, because this week is insane. Essays due, applications times a million (a hyperbole here and there never hurt anyone!), labs due, a looming deadline at the paper, and one of my friends is going through a really rough time right now, so I'm trying to make time for her too.
So...please pray for me!! I'll pull myself away from applications in a day or two to actually write a better entry! I have to say one thing- I don't know what I'd do without the power of prayer, because I've been praying like crazy lately!

Love In Christ-

*L

Friday, November 03, 2006

Marvelling at God's creation

I snapped these pictures last fall on my way to class. My apartment is really close to campus, and I walk along a path everyday and this is the view I get to see:


Every day that I walk the path I always think about how amazing God's creation is!
Now that winter is closer and closer, and it's getting colder, I thought it would be neat to share some pictures of nicer weather!

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
- Psalms 139:9-10

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Seventeen

When I was growing up, one of my favourite songs was about a girl who was seventeen and thought she had her life planned out. The song focused on how na├»ve the girl was, and how when she would grow up she would realize how silly she was when she was seventeen. When I was in my teens I never realized how true the song was. When I was seventeen I definitely thought I had everything figured out- I wanted to work for a sports team or be a writer. Because of my late birthday I was seventeen when I started university, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do after my four years were up. Well, I’m in my fourth year and in my twenties, so even though logic would predict that I should have “it all planned out”, I’m just starting to realize that I really, really don’t.
This afternoon I sat down with all my applications for all my options after this year is over, and it suddenly hit me that I have absolutely no clue which option I want the most. I’ve always been incredibly organized and had everything planned and mapped out, and now I don’t.
I knew from the time I was little I wanted to be one thing- a vet. As much as I love cats and dogs, I wanted to do large animals, and eventually open my own farm and practice. That fell through (which is a long story, which I’ll save for another day). When I was fourteen I started to help coaching the younger kids on my swim team, and when I was sixteen I got promoted and got my own group, then when I came to university I got hired to coach here for the city team. I completely fell in love with coaching and teaching, and most of my jobs have involved one of the two. I’ve worked my way up through the ranks and I’ve been working on my national coaching levels, and I really love it. I’m not coaching this year, and it’s incredible how much I miss it.
Now, switch over to my other career option- journalism. Ever since I was little I’ve loved reading, and that led to a love of writing. I’ve written my whole life, and was the editor of my high school newspaper. After a lot of hard work, I got the job this year of sports editor for my campus paper. Even though I’ve done a lot of writing in the past, this is the first time I’ve been paid to do it. The job’s been challenging, but in a good way, and with every article I get more and more comfortable with the job. Earlier this week I received an e-mail asking if I would interested in covering a story about a presentation the GM of the Peterborough Petes is making on campus later this week, and I jumped at the opportunity. This will be my biggest story yet, so I’m excited! I can definitely see myself doing this for the rest of my life.
Sitting beside the two big piles of applications to teachers college and journalism school is a mish-mash of applications for other random programs. I decided to get my degree in Human Kinetics so I could eventually work as a physical trainer for a pro sports team, and even though I somewhat changed my mind, I’m still applying just to see what happens. So, right now I have no clue which path I want to take. Now more than ever I’m so happy that one day I stumbled across Jeremiah 29:11. Even though I, for the first time in my life, have no idea what’s happening next, I know the Lord has everything all planned out. All I need to do is pray and trust.
I know I’ve been rambling, but I just had to write this all out, in the hopes it would help clear things up! I just re-read what I wrote, and I actually do have my life together, but I just think today was one of those overwhelming days. Oh, to be seventeen again!

“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not harm you; plans to give you hope and a future”.
- Jeremiah 29:11


Trusting in Him-

*L