About this whole “blogging thing” . . .

Blogs about Heather, updates

Blogging is scary.

Blogging means you’re vulnerable.

Blogging means potentially offending people.

Blogging means that people know your thoughts.

Blogging is a tension of journalism VS personality.

Blogging means that you’re the center of attention.

Blogging means you’re being forced into community.

Blogging means that your identity now relies on the affirmation of others.

Blogging means that people will disagree with you, and that’s scary but also really beautiful.

Blogging means that you have to sort through what in is true and what is a lie.

Blogging means that you may get caught up in lies at times.

Blogging means that, eventually, you have to “grow up a little bit more” as a former coworker of mine used to say about the teens we worked with.

But for me: Blogging is a way of sharing information. Of sharing what I’m learning. Of learning from others.

I’ve never been gone completely.

But I’m back.

(JUST LIKE THE TERMINATOR MOVIES!)

(but now is not the time to freak out about that)

Why Being a Christian Young Adult is Lonely

church, millennials, updates

I think I’ve hit the loneliest point of my life. I don’t mean this in a “woe is me, take pity on me” kind of way…I just mean that bring a young a adult and trying to live your life for Jesus is hard.

First of all, this is the first time in our lives that we we aren’t surrounded by people our own age. We’re no longer in an academic setting of peers, but in a job of intergenerational people. That means that we have to figure out new ways to make friends. That’s weird.

Add in singleness for those of us who didn’t get our MRS or MR degrees, and now we’re doing this alone.

Add in the whole “Bible College” factor, and you’ve got a bigger dilemma: culture shock. What’s funny is, I didn’t think that would happen to me.  I grew up in an urban environment and didn’t think that would apply to me. But alas, I came to the real world and was shocked at how much I didn’t relate to it.

Let’s add moving to a new city or state for our first “big girl” job. Not only am I alone, not only do I not know how to make friends, not only have I lived in a bubble, but now I don’t know anybody. And I can’t find a Target.

So let’s throw in Church. Churches ignore young adults. I have some speculation as to why. Perhaps because they can’t tithe to make an impact, they aren’t given programming. The Church sees no return from it (monetarily at least. We forget spiritual returns in the Church a lot). And since many of us don’t have children, people aren’t forced to give us programming… but this is just speculation. ;)

And how about those of us who take it a step further and work in the Church? That can be a lonely job in itself. Add in all those other factors, and you have a mess.

Let’s not even talk about moving to a new denomination, or how we’re all wrestling with our faith to begin with, or the mass amounts of media advertisement tempting and swaying us to abandon our moral compass.

All I’m saying is, this is a huge struggle.

And I’m not alone. As I confide in peers, I know that we all are experiencing this to a degree.

And Church, we need you. We need community and if you don’t give it to us, we’ll make it for ourselves.

Update on life :)

updates

Hey friends,

Well… it has finally happened: I am moving on to the next stage of life! I’ve been praying for over a year and a half that this could be done in a perfect way at a perfect time, and I feel like God has really outdone himself. I am now serving at a fantastic church in Indianapolis as their Associate Director of Youth Ministry (Junior High will be my baby). I’m so excited for like 20487 different reasons. Can’t explain them all here. #rickwarrentweets (remember when that was a trending topic on Twitter? no? okay…)

I think it goes without saying that I’m probably going to be a little spotty in the blogging world for a while. I mean, who can blame me? I just moved my life 300 miles away in a very short period of time. What others felt was overwhelming and quick, felt a long-time-coming and perfect to me. 

I’m excited to share this news with people. I’m more excited to begin loving on parents, volunteers, and teenagers. Not only is this my first full-time churched gig, BUT it’s on a completely larger scale than what I’m used to. As I dig in, I feel a peace. As I meet people, I become more convinced that this church represents the Kingdom of God. I’m so excited to be a part of this.

Toodles!

Update! :)

updates

Happy Summer everybody! What is going on in my life?

Last week I went to New Jersey for a wedding.  I was Maid of Honor!  I couldn’t believe that I was selected for this role, as I live in Missouri and don’t consider myself to have “regular” contact with the bride.  But there were more important factors that have honestly been a theme throughout our relationship:  Christ.  I talked about this in my non-alcoholic toast; Katie and I have not always been the most compatible friends, but that didn’t matter; we sought each other out because we were the only ladies in our high school graduating class who sought after the Lord.  So 8 years of friendship later, I’m ripping my dress up the stage as her MOH.  The experience really added to my ponderings of what Christian community looks like.

This three weeks of unemployment is really teaching me that.  I quit all my jobs on a leap of faith and moved to STL, in with my grandparents so that I could sort out things within my family.  I almost regret it, because I don’t have a job yet and I am NOT not the type of person to not do anything.  At the same time, it’s relaxing.  I’m finding peace.  I have time to…have time.  I hate relying on my grandparents, because I have always been an independent person.  It took me a long time to learn to rely on the Lord and not worry.  But He’s teaching me that relying on God also means relying on His community. Both are meeting my needs extravagantly.

How can you pray for me?  That I find a job working with youth.  I’ve applied to churches, residential facilities, and even nannying jobs.  As long as I’m able to communicate Christ, I will be fine doing whatever the job.  Pray for my spiritual life, that I keep studying Christ even when I’m not studying academically.  And last, pray for my family, that the Lord will provide their needs and start a spiritual awakening.

I hope that as I don’t have classes and 40+ hours of week, I can get back into the blogging and student ministry network!  I missed it immensely.

Value of Community

church, updates

I am twelve days away from graduation, and it’s starting to feel extremely nostalgic.  Who I was four years ago is completely different from who I am today.  It’s hard to even compare who I am to who I was, for God has done a great work in me; I’m sure that I will continue changing and perfecting in my sainthood as a disciple.

When I think my last four years at Southwest Baptist University, it’s crazy to see the way my life has gradually formed.  I have had so many groups of friends over the past few years, but my relationships with everybody have changed as we’ve grown.  This isn’t a bad thing; for I have learned what it looks like to live in community with people without seeing them every day.  This is one of the greatest lessons I have learned: community.
Growing up, I was drawn to the church because of community.  There was something about church that drew me to it, and I always assumed that it was “love” that I didn’t get at home.  I got love at home, but it was different at church.  This is probably the reason I loved youth group so much when I got to high school; I grew a family that I did everything with and that I sacrificed other things for because I believed in the group as a whole.
So college has affirmed these things and caused a paradigm shift in what church, community, and even my relationship with God look like.  I used to think that my relationship with God was “just between Him and me,” but I’m beginning to understand that this relationship is more about God and His Church.  I am important, and have individual value in His ideas; yet there is something more than the individuality that my culture has emphasized so greatly.  Worshipping God is about more than prayer, song, and reading the Bible; it can also include fellowship (and I’m not talking just potlucks).  Spending time edifying the church is an act of worship that is something I enjoy so much.  Sometimes we picture eternity and think, “Well what are we going to do all day?”  The Bible mentions that we will be worshipping God all day.  Our immediate thought (if we are really honest with ourselves) is, “We’re going to be singing all day? That doesn’t sound like too much fun.”  But worshipping God is more than just singing; it’s a communal act of just being His Church and giving Him glory.
So what does this perfected community, the Church, look like?  The Church is a community of broken people who exist to interact with their Creator…and with each other.  Our love for the individuals of the community is not based on conditions; this is something that I have heard but haven’t really seen in practice.  I have a dear friend who is the biggest gossip I know; she says the most awful things about the people close to her.  So many times I have wanted to give up and not be her friend any more, and then I realize that I can’t cut her off just because she’s sick in sin.  In 1 Corinthians, Paul tells a hilarious analogy of members of a body telling other members that they don’t need each other; if my foot had has a charley horse, should I just cut the thing off?  If my throat is sore, do I rip it out?  The Body of Christ is full of sick body parts; to cut members off because they have sin wouldn’t be beneficial for the body.  And I think about how irrational, arrogant, and impractical I have been to members of this Body; I have been thankful that people haven’t decided they didn’t need me when I wasn’t working the way that I needed to be working.  The Church helps each other through sin with humility, and is direct and truthful at all times.  The Church is also gracious, just as Christ was gracious.  And even when the community can’t get together as much as it desires, love for each other does not change even when the conditions do.
I keep that last thought in mind as I move four hours away.  Going to a Christian University is a unique opportunity; college is a time of “finding yourself,” but at a Christian college it’s more about finding out who God is and how that shapes your identity.  I have lived the past four years in community with people my own age, and it’s becoming the time for me to learn what it’s like to live in community when dispersed throughout the rest of the world.  I can imagine how freaked-out Jesus’ disciples were; they were with him, learning for three years.  Then Jesus left, and told them to get out there and do what He did.  Uh, what Jesus?  I’m not ready for this.  I haven’t learned enough.  I need you to hold my hand and show me how to do this right.  But Jesus left us His Holy Spirit to live inside the community so that we don’t have to do this alone.  So even though I might live in a different community, and learn how to do community with them, the Church hasn’t changed, and my community with those I’m leaving behind isn’t changing even though conditions are.