Category Archives: Struggles

Why I Cried

Last night I cried. Overwhelmed by emotion, I was sad, elated, confused, and oh so thankful. I have never felt so much meaning and purpose in a single moment. Just thinking about it now brings me to tears. 

Last night was closing night of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, this year’s Spring Musical at my school. I played the part of Caleb Pontipee, one of the seven backwoods brothers who learns about etiquette and gets himself a girl. I was the dumb brother and I loved every minute of it. I was able to make people laugh with my mannerisms and then turn around and sing and dance with people that are much more skilled in those departments than I am. I put so much work into this production and now that it’s over, I’m still not sure how to think straight.

After the last curtain call, Mr. Batchelder, our amazing Director, brought the seniors up to the front of the stage and talked about us all individually. When he talked about me, it all came crashing down. A wave swept me up on the inside and forced its way out my eyes. While he was explaining it to the audience, I was imagining my theatrical career at James Madison.

My sophomore year, in drama class, I could not deliver a monologue in front of my class because I was so scared. Just the thought of performing in front of people terrified me so much that I made myself sick and stayed home from school for a week. That was the worst week of my life. I was so depressed and did not want to live. By God’s grace, my mother helped me out of the depression and Mr. Batchelder encouraged me tremendously and gave me the confidence necessary to perform in front of others. The next year, I tried out for the Impressive Clergyman in The Princess Bride, got the part, made people laugh and had an absolute blast. That year, I was a salesman/dancer/townsperson in The Music Man. Next was Sir Galahad in Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail then Caleb Pontipee.

My journey rushed through my mind, paralyzing me in a state of raw emotion.

And so I cried.

I cried because I was so happy to have the oppurtunity to be in those plays.

I cried because I was so sad that it was over.

I cried because I’ll miss acting on stage with my friends.

I cried because of all the times I laughed.

I cried because of how much I’ve grown.

I cried because I was so thankful for all the encouragement.

I cried because being on stage made me feel special.

I cried because I could not hold it back.

I am crying now because this is so meaningful.

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Late Night with Random Thoughts (#2)

It’s 12:34. I can’t fall asleep. My body is exhausted but my mind is in midday stride. I have a test tomorrow that I need to study for but I can’t concentrate on the material so I find myself delivering my thoughts to you.

Just finished reading a book called Tribes by Seth Godin. It’s all about leadership and it’s importance in today’s world of movements and tribes (groups united by a single vision/motive/product). Really enjoyed it and got a lot from it. Need another good read now.

Sometimes I get behind on stuff and it overwhelmes me. It happens with schoolwork. Today, it happened with my room. I was supposed to clean it (we just moved into a new house and are in the process of unpacking boxes) but I didn’t know where to put anything so I just didn’t do anything for awhile. After some time of doing nothing, I felt behind and overwhelmed. My mom gave me some practical/obvious tips and You gave me some much needed encouragement. I was able to get a lot done. I hate being immobilized.

Regarding the new home, it is quite amazing and fits our needs perfectly. It is a lot smaller than our previous behemoth of a house but I like that very much. It forces us to be closer as a family. We can no longer all go into separate corners of the house (all the kids rooms are about five feet away from each other). We have a huge (by East Valley, Arizona standards) backyard with a pool and patio with fireplace. And we have numerous parks and fields in our neighborhood. I love it. Thank You so much!

When someone encourages me, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. I want to give other people that feeling.

Sometime soon, I need to apply to college.

Packers. Ouch! Losing to the previously winless Bucs? They only had to go about ten yards everytime they touched the ball. Our offensive line is stinky.

I’ve been listening to Switchfoot’s new album Hello Hurricane and it is really good. Sound is rocking, anthemic, and ambient. Lyrics are full of hope in the hard times. Really, really like this album!

Wondering, if I had the chance to go back to either Morocco or Rwanda, where would I choose?

Goodnight. I hope I dream about freedom.

Sometimes I Think God Must Be Stupid

Sometimes I think God must be stupid. I mean, despite Him adopting me into His family, I continue to be an idiot. He embraces me with His love and for that I smacked Him right across the face and told Him He’s not good enough for me. He introduces me to all of His beautiful children and I ran back to the demons I was fleeing. He offers me the only thing that will ever truly satisfy me and yet I drink the wine that will never fill. I know all of these things and I keep doing them over and over again. I walk by God everyday and spit in His face. I punch His gut, kick out His knees, and crucify Him… daily. I’m supposed to pick up my cross but instead I nail Him to His.

How stupid does God have to be to love someone like that?

How?

Why God?

Why would You love me?

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realise just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.
Oh, how He loves us.

Man, sometimes I just feel like an idiot. I don’t feel like anyone has a reason to love me. It seems like God should be ashamed of me. But oh, how He loves me! He blankets me with with Himself. There is nothing more to ask for. Never changing, so amazing!

last year as a kamper…

wow!!! i just spent two weeks in bayfield, colorado, having the time of my life. this was my last year as a kamper at k-colorado and it could not have been any better. i had by far the best cabin of guys i’ve ever had in my five years as a kamper there. the twelve of us (10 kampers, 2 counselors) hit it off pretty quickly. coming from all over the country, we bonded incredibly. throughout the term, we were able to open up the deepest parts of our hearts to one another. we shared everything from our stuff to our struggles. we became brothers. we became close… real… true… friends. we had each other’s back. we loved and deeply cared for each other. it was an amazing community. a great family. along the way, we had many great adventures. every kamper chooses three specialties that they get to do thoughout the term. i picked rock climbing, lake fun & sun, and institute. during the three days of climbing, we bouldered at turtle lake and top-roped at x-rock and in cascades which is one of the more beautiful places on this planet. the wheather was pretty horrible (or awesome depending how you look at it) at the lake. it was extremely windy, ghastly cold, and the waves became whitecaps. i did some jetskiing, mostly with my buddy caleb. it was a fun time. most of the time was spent sitting around on the dock or in a boat ride listening to explosions in the sky. it was pretty chill. it was also a great time to just slow down and experience God’s beauty around the lake. the last specialty i chose, institute, is very unique to k-colorado. it consists of teaching from andy braner or luke parrot about worldview, apoligetics, religions, origins, sex, dating, culture, media, humanitarian issues, global crisis’, community, discpleship, and many more things. the part that i did was mainly focused on discipleship as well as the global community and issues that it faces, and we actually went out into the local community and did some service work. we talked about what breaks your heart? the things that make you get up and move. the things that make you pound the the table in rage. the things that make you cry out. we talked about poverty, genocide, sex traffiking. we talked about what we can do about these things. actually, i, along with some guys from my cabin, are in the process of creating a company that can help out with some of this stuff. more on that later.the last day, we (about 60-80 of us) went to nearby durango and cleaned up some mountain biking trails. it was a really cool thing to be a part of. all of these kids taking a whole day to clean up a trail that they will probably never use when they could be doing some crazy activity instead. it was just really cool. about every other night, we had parties and they were off the hizzy!!! the first one was the 90’s party. we all dressed up in jorts and sweaters and flat-billed caps and lame mustaches. it was quite the spectacle. very funny. we went to a gameshow called double dare and got slimed. then we went and danced to every kind of music imaginable. it was so fun and crazy. the next party was the best. it was the goldrush party. every year at k-co, their is a western party. the name changes but the party is exactly the same. we all dress up in our best cowboy and hicktown garb and then we have a barn dance. we eat steak with our hands, learn about five or six dance steps and then head to the barn. every guy is strongly encouraged to dance with a different girl every dance. it is a great way to meet people and to get everyone involved and feeling special. once the song ends, the guy spins the girl, says thanks for the dance and then walks to the outskirts of the crowd and picks another girl who isn’t dancing. they then dance and talk and have a grande ol’ time. it’s a staple of k-co and for good reason. the third party was the masquerade. we made silly masks, watched a hard fought duel, and listened to phantom of the opera music. it was actually really fun despite the non-manly aura of the situation. the dance wasn’t just opera music. we had some good stuff playing. the last party was perhaps the most epic. it was the pirates vs. ninjas party. we played some huge warball games and raved the night away. it was fun and tiring. we also had a guys and girls night. the girls probably watched a movie and ate chocolate and cuddled up in blankets. we, the men of the camp, had commando night. each cabin paired with another cabin (8 with 1, 7 with 2, etc…) and then preceeded to embark on the biggest mission of our lives. we had to deliver our glowsticks to strategically placed commandos around the camp. we waded through chest deep freazing cold water, trekked through a freezing stream for hundreds of yards, and ran for our lives as paintballs went whizzing over our heads. once we completed our objective in record time, we learned that the counselors had betrayed us and were now hiding in the woods with our glowsticks. we had to find them and bring them back. it was one epic night of running, darkness, stealth, teamwork, encouragement, bravery, and mud. so good. we also had something called k-life which happened on the non party nights. we had worship music. by the way, i have never experienced a place that can even begin to compare to worshipping through song at k-co. there is nothing ornately special about it. it is just real. it’s usually just a guitar and maybe a lap drum. but the voices are amazing. not great, just special. anyways, their would be a speaker everytime. the most meaningful talk for me and my cabin was that of nate friend. he just opened up to us. earlier that day, he got slight pneumonia while saving a neighbor’s boat at the dock. so he said right up front that he wasn’t able to prepare as much as he’d have hoped for the talk but he was just gonna let God speak through him. boy did God speak that night! nate spoke about how his mother had struggled with depression and suicide for a very long time and through some very intimate stories nate just opened up. he let us see who he was and what was really going on in his life. i will never forget that night. that night, jack, one of my cabinmates, opened up with us about the sorrow and fear and pain in his own life and that’s what sparked our unity and brotherhood. from then on, everynight, we just opened ourselves up for each other to see. that is how life is supposed to be lived. every morning, we took some time and walked with God, literally. we just walked around and talked with Him in the midst of His beautiful creation. it was the greatest way to start off the day. we culminated the term with the annual ultimate frisbee tournament. my cabin’s first game was one for the ages. we came back from 4 – 0 to beat the oldest cabin 5 – 4 in overtime. it was great. sadly, we lost our next game. after the tournament ended, the parents came and we did the whole closing ceremonies thing. it was kind of weird knowing that it was my last time experiencing all of that as a kamper (because my school gets out so insanely late, i cannot be a kamper first term next year because i have to graduate). it would’ve been downright sad but i know my time with this camp is far from over. next year kanakuk colorado becomes camp kivu (kivu is a lake in rwanda and literally means big). it will basically be the same with some stuff added on. the reason it is changing is because andy, the director, has a more global and expansive vision for the camping experience than what is offered under the umbrella of kanakuk. he is looking into music camps and surfing camps in the u.s. as well as many international camps. there will be many facets to the new ministry and i am extremely excited for the change. next summer i hope to work at camp kivu doing whatever they need me to do. i cannot say enough about the community and family that is in this place. during the two week term, God united people from arizona to missouri to cairo, egypt into one big family of believers. it is how life is supposed to be lived.

Why?What?

I found this saved in my documents from about a week or so ago.

watchingtheworld

Quite often, I hear about how the world is becoming smaller. While that statement does have some merit, what with the advancements in technology and all, it does not describe, accurately, how I see the world. The world I am experiencing seems bigger everyday I look at it. The world I see is no longer just America. It is no longer black and white. I am a part of a global community; a community of neighbors, some of who are hurting… hurting badly!

The suffering of others across the globe has popped the bubble of comfort that I live in. My heartstrings have been yanked at by the screams of the oppressed children in Africa. The whisper for hope echoing out of the Middle-East is lodged in my ear. My mind is overwhelmed with the fact that there are 150 million orphans in the world and that at least 20 thousand kids die everyday because of poverty and malnutrition and other stupid things that could be prevented if people actually cared enough to do something.

These thoughts have consumed me for about a week, so much so that I could not concentrate on my schoolwork at all. All I could think was if all this crap is happening in the world, why am I sitting in these classes doing nothing about it?

Why? Why? Why? It is such a great question. There is another great question to be asked. What? What am I going to do about it?

What Breaks Your Heart?

I have not been able to write for some time. It was not because I had nothing to write about. Actually, I probably had about ten topics bouncing around in my head that I wanted to be fleshed out on this blog. But every time I tried to write it was like my brain went dead; just shut off on me. I was getting pretty frustrated because I knew I had stuff to say but for some reason the words could not leave my thoughts. I wanted to write about how I felt God was calling me for something big but unknown. I wanted to write about Muslims, Christians, and Jesus. It’s a book by Carl Medearis, a good friend of my Dad and a truly earnest follower of Jesus. I wanted to write about BoneMan’s Daughters, Ted Dekker’s latest book. I wanted to write about taking pictures (a newfound hobby of mine), creating things, the end of the school year and many other things. But I just could not get the words out.

Today, I was looking through the different blogs I read regularly and I found an article entitled Turning the Pages to a New Chapter by Luke Parrot. In the article is a really cool speech he wrote. And in his speech he asks a question that that kind of hit me upside the soul. 

What breaks your heart?

brokenheart

The things that break your heart are the very things that feed your passions. What are the things that keep you up at night?  What are the things that disturb you the most?  What do you get most passionate about?  What makes you pound the table?  What puts you on the edge of your seat?” – Luke

So I’ve been thinking about it. What breaks my heart?

When I went to Rwanda and saw so many orphans who would more than likely never know what it feels like to be loved by a father and a mother. That broke my heart. 

Knowing that there are about 150 million orphans in the world I live in. That breaks my heart.

Knowing that something around 25 thousand kids die everyday because of dumb stuff like not having clean drinking water or enough food or clothing or shoes to protect their bodies. That breaks my heart.

I cannot even begin to understand suffering. Oh my gosh!!! I cannot stand being comfortable. It does not bring me joy or intimacy or faith. It provides an escape from the harsh reality that cultivates real, gritty good. Living in comfort breaks my heart.

When kids are treated like dirt because they are poor. That breaks my heart.

When kids are brainwashed and made to kill. That breaks my heart.

When kids are torn away from their innocence and sold into prostitution. That breaks my heart.

When the church is focused on pushing a piece of legislature that will further their agenda rather than focusing on loving the people they are trying to fight. When teenagers are looked at as nothing more than a nuisance. When family members bicker and fight over stupid stuff. When I do not understand how much God loves me. At the end of movies when they pop the big question and it is “Do you want to move in together?” instead of “Will you marry me?”. When I drive onto the freeway exit and the homeless guy is standing there and I want to talk to him but I cannot because I am too busy and scared. These things break my heart.

“Allow Him to break your heart for the things that break His heart.  And in that brokenness you will find your way.  You will find your path.” – Luke

I hope the things that break my heart are not just “me” things but that they have been put there by God. I think the ultimate thing in life is being a part of what God is doing and I think He has given me the passions that I have so that I can be a part of something that He is doing or is going to do. I just don’t know what it is yet. Maybe it is happening right now!

Taking Some Time Off

I haven’t posted in a little while. It’s mainly because I haven’t gotten on a computer in a couple of days. It’s been kind of a weird, slow week. I haven’t been desiring God’s Word and I haven’t been very motivated in general. This weekend has been good though. We had a cool family discussion today about what it means to follow Jesus. I’ve started reading Blessed Child again, amazing narration of real faith. I also watched the Cardinals play their way into the Super Bowl; who saw that one coming?

I don’t know when I’ll write again, hopefully soon. I guess it’ll be whenever I feal God has given me something to say. I just haven’t had much to say the last couple of days. I hope that God will bless you in a very unique way this week. Talk to you later.