Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Seize the day!

So, I had my first experience ever visiting someone in the ER today.

It all began when I got a call in my office from the Animal Science Department secretary.
She had Dan's dad on the line; he wanted to speak with me. At first I thought, "What? Why would he want to speak with me? And why would he be patched from Animal Science? Maybe he's calling about misquoting him in my editorials to save Extension. Crap. I should've asked him." (Man, I had a lot of thoughts.)
Then he began, "Hello, Jessica. Dan is in the ER."
"What?" Talk about a sentence to call you from "your" world and "your" potential problems.
"Yes, he apparently passed out in the lab and he was taken by ambulance to the ER."

Uh, okay. His dad was very calm on the phone, which caused me to not freak out. (Yea Dean!)
I mean, he was conscious now.... In fact, his dad was so relaxed that I wasn't really sure if it was necessary for me to go check on him. However, if the tables were reversed, I would definitely want Dan there - no matter how trivial. (But, really - how "trivial" is a trip to the ER?!)

So, the story goes like this: Dan was working in the lab and felt light-headed. He made a strange grunt/groan - alerting the only other guy in the lab that something was wrong. He then slumped over and fell to the ground (but it sounds like it was sort of slow-motion). He bit his tongue (hard - but not in half as his dad feared) and was out for 15 minutes.

Weird, I know. Anyway, he appears to be fine; his CT scan and bloodwork were all normal. Praise God! Thank God for his protection - Dan could have been at the farm...and then no one would've seen it; it could've happened at 6 when he first got there - and then he would've been alone.... But, he wasn't. Please continue to pray for him. He meets with a neurologist tomorrow. The doctor today didn't seem to think anything was really wrong; sometimes, this just happens. Let's pray that this is just a one-time thing!

It was really neat to see how concerned people in the An Sci department were. So many people showed genuine concern and helped out...or stopped by...or called. It was nice.

We just never know what a day will hold.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Too much

You know what's hard about life? Living. Caring. Loving. Giving.
You know what's scary about life? Living. Caring. Loving. Giving.

Why? Because it requires us to give ourselves. Not our money. Not our time. Not our intelligence. (well, it does actually require all of those things) But to the greatest extent, it requires our hearts. To live: to care, to give, to love - we've got to expose our heart to the scariest thing of all: death, rejection, hurt, wanting something so much and not getting it.
But if we don't, we risk never living. Never experiencing the greatest thrill of all...being cared for, receiving, being loved...being alive.

I don't consider myself to be a brave woman by nature. But, by the grace of God, through His power, may I live unafraid...staring fear in the face and going for what will require all of me.
I don't want to get to the end of my life and say, "You know, I really wish I would've stood up for what I cared about. I really wish I would've spoken when I had the chance." I don't want to say, "Sorry; but, what could I have really done? My one voice didn't really matter much. Who am I to speak? Sorry, God, but I didn't realize you created me with power." Rather, who am I not to?

At church this weekend, I was approached by two older women who read my editorial. (my letter to President Geoffroy) And they both say, "Jessica, what can we do? I can't believe that this happening in Iowa - and it makes me just sick. Will your letter really make a difference?" After getting President Geoffroy's response, I don't know that it will make a difference. I wonder if all my passion and zeal to "save Extension" is just hot air and ridiculous...and I hear these women ask in earnestness, "What will it do? What can be done?" And I can't believe that no one will listen to them, to me...that nothing can be done. That we can have something so important ripped out of our hands without any one standing up.

It just can't be the end. ...and I am so afraid that it will be...that the effort will be in vain.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I feel as though I've needed an outlet to express what I've been learning or found interesting. Truth be told, I haven't had a "people" outlet to discuss novel things in the Word - and I miss that. (Yes, I've got Connection group and 180 - but I'm referring to things learned "on my own time.") I learn by discussing, so here's me talking:

Last night at 180, we were discussing the choice you will make: will you choose to either serve the Lord or the gods of your forefathers/the gods of the Amorites? (Joshua 24) Joel used the 3 chairs illustration: 1) born-again, on-fire believer - hot; 2) a "Christian", but has one foot in the world and one foot at church - lukewarm; 3) wants nothing to do with Christ - cold. As he continued, though, he said that Chair 2 isn't an option. In life, you can't be Chair 2 - it's either hot or cold. Lukewarm isn't an option. Then he took us to Revelation 3:15.

3:14 - 18: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
19 - 20: Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
21: To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Honestly, lukewarm is an option. I think our students confuse the chairs with whether you are in Christ or not - saved or not. And you can't be half-saved; you either are or you are not. ...but you can be lukewarm. The church in these verses has become lukewarm because it no longer is dependent on Christ; it's become trusts in its abilities to provide for itself and acquire wealth/prosperity. It has lost connection with the Head - with Jesus. Who among us hasn't wandered into this area of unbelief in our walk?

"You don't reliaze that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked." Did this church become self-righteous? Yes. Do I become self-righteous? Oh, more than I would like to admit! More than I would like to admit! If dating Dan has revealed to me only one thing about myself it is that I am self-righteous. I so want to elevate myself - into what I have done or not. In v15 Jesus says, "I know your deeds - but you aren't hot or cold." So, it's not that this church wasn't doing anything (good or bad) - but, that isn't the point. Jesus wants our heart not our works!

In v18, he counsels us to buy from him gold refined in fire - so that we may be rich; to buy from him white clothes - so that we could be clothed; salve - so that we could see. He is asking us to go deeper in our trust, in our walk with Him. He is asking me to spend more time with Him and to ASK. To ask for the refinement - which will come in the form of a trial, most likely (1 Peter) - but the result is that we will be rich!

He is asking to come in to our hearts. (v20) Jesus loves the lukewarm church - that is why he is spitting them out of his mouth. He wants them to recognize that they need Him! And they don't need to work harder(v15) - they need to open the door of their hearts (v20). He is asking for us to surrender and let Him be the God of our lives, the Lord of our heart.

As I examine my life, I need to open the door more. That's the deal with this lukewarm-business, I don't think it's a one-time thing. It is a continual process where we submit to Jesus. The promise, though, is the right to sit with Jesus on the throne! Can you imagine? We, who were lukewarm - who were going to be spit out - we get to sit on the throne if we only surrender to the Lord Jesus.

That's pretty awesome.