Tuesday, June 17, 2008

beauty in time.

man, is God doing a lot in my heart.

so basically, every sermon since i've been home has been exactly what i needed to hear at that exact moment - like a personalized "here, blake, this one's for you." i actually started crying in the middle of church this past sunday - can you believe that? (i hid it fairly well.. but there were tears nonetheless.) the sermon was on ecclesiastes 3. yes- that famous chapter on the "times for everything." basically, like the chapter title says, there's a time for everything... sometimes this weird, crazy mix of things we call "life" adds up. sometimes it clicks and it makes sense and it's good. and sometimes it doesn't. for example, death. how is the heck is that good? how does that make sense? in the "times for everything," it says there is a time for mourning. for grief. it's a part of the greater picture, and to deny it is to deny being human.
here's what gets me (this might be a lengthy entry - i took a lot of notes) - God never designed for us to die. we were made to LIVE. everything about death seems wrong and strange to us because we weren't designed for it. at funerals, we celebrate life, we honor... we try to see the good. but if we're being honest, it sucks. it aches in that place inside you, where words cannot express.
this is when it really hit me. "he has made everything beautiful in its time." (ecc. 3:11.) this means that everything, everything will be beautiful eventually. do i believe that? could it be that there's something far bigger and far more beautiful about death than we could ever fathom with our finite, human brains?
april 26, 2006 happened, and i was crushed. i was crippled by the pain. maybe that sounds dramatic, but that's exactly how i felt for a long time. it's taken me over two years to be able to feel like i'm beginning to "heal"- whatever that means. it still hurts. it hits me at random times, and i don't hold back the tears. i let myself remember, because i think it's important to remember. but i also let myself realize all that's happened in those 2+ years. it's hard to say that "good" has happened because of it. i hate saying that. but i have to acknowledge that God has moved mountains in my life. i have to. it's very possible i wouldn't have gone to ireland without laurel's enthusiastic and earnest encouragement to go. (which still gives me goosebumps, by the way.) and i know i wouldn't have the perspective i now have on life. it's a gift. a precious gift. i've learned that time after time after time... after losing my sweet grandma; after losing a dad in our small group to suicide; after walking through life with a close friend who, at 20 years old, unexpectedly lost her dad.
all of that to say, we cannot even begin to fathom the way God works. we are fools to try to put him in a box. he does beautiful, permanent things in his time, not our's.
it's like this. God is weaving our lives together into a beautiful, permanent tapestry. (none of us know the picture.. not yet.) but we know it's beautiful and we know it's intricate.
sometimes, i think we get glimpses of the picture. we see the beauty of redemption, and we get a taste. we see sacrifice and grace and brokenness and healing and we see a little more. but often, for me at least, all i can see is the back - the confusing, frustrating parts - the knotted threads, the gaps, the tangled mess. i can't see beyond it. but what's so amazing is that while i can't see past the mess, the picture on the flipside is becoming clearer and more beautiful. i fully believe that. and i also trust that God uses the the gaps and the tangled threads for good. it's all part of the plan. to wish those away might mean to wish away the very things God wants to use in our lives to make us more like him. (WOW.)
God makes everything beautiful in its time. everything happens for a reason. everything. and there is a time for everything. God, please help me remember this.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

time to... save?

lately, i've been trying to save money.  (that's the responsible thing to do your last summer before your senior year of college, right?)  perhaps the best way to do that for blake bachman is to cut back on the relatively frequent trips to coffee shops.  but you know what?  i've realized i can only do this so much.

on the way home from dropping my sister off at volleyball early this morning (9am on a saturday is early...), the all too familiar craving came over me.  remembering that i have a giftcard in my wallet (recently found while cleaning up the basement, probably from 3 christmases ago), i navigated to the nearest caffeinated haven.  (giftcard = totally justifiable.)  grande caramel macchiato, please and thank you.  the first sip was heaven.  a smile instantly spread across my tired face.  as i drove home from the webster groves starbucks, windows down, music high, sipping my macchiato, i wondered if it was my imagination or if life was actually better?  it was then that i came to this conclusion: you can only deny yourself so much expensive coffee.  yes, it's good to save money.  yes, $4 is quite a lot to pay for a cup of joe.  but there are other drinks...  such as the iced double shot which is only $2.50.  (which only makes for more justifying on my part- i'm good at that.)  but money aside, it's coffee we're talking about, here.  the lifeblood of...  many people.  life paired with coffee is a beautiful thing, friends.  they go hand in hand.
my brother, paul, made a good point the other day.  "you can't really put a price on the joy you get from a good starbucks drink."  well said, young grasshopper.  well said.
in conclusion?  screw money.  not worth it in the end.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

filling the vacuum.

"there is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus." -blaise pascal

so... the past couple church sermons have got this head thinking.  i think one reason why they've resonated so much with me is because they go hand in hand with some advice i got from my dear friend julia this past semester.  she told me that she has to be filled up with God before anything else makes sense.  even though she has a boyfriend and grad school and whatever else, those only satisfy certain parts of her heart.  her deepest longing is to be filled with Jesus.  and if she isn't, then none of the rest make sense.
last week, our church decided to start a new sermon series called "living life on empty."  (again, i resonate, because this is kind of how i felt last year.)  the question was posed last week and this week: "what are we trying to fill our lives with that ends up being inadequate to satisfy the 'vacuum' in our hearts?"  hmm.  for me?  being busy.  i'm pretty sure that's my big one.  because if i stopped for one freaking second, i would realize that it's not all about what i have to get done or where i need to be.  even being home, taking a break from school, i struggle to make sufficient time for my Lord.  busyness cannot fill my God shaped vacuum; it only distracts me from it.  only when i make the time to make Christ my center will anything make sense.  (but you know, when things don't make sense, when my heart hurts, i shouldn't ignore the pain, because pain is what reminds us that we need God.  it reminds us we're human.  ...which sucks, but we need a reminder every now and then, right?)
i don't know if this makes as much sense written out as it does in my head and my heart right now.  it's kind of a bunch of truth jumbled together... but sometimes i think i need to just write it down to let it sink in.  i know for a fact that i fill my life with things that are ultimately unsatisfying at the end of the day.  it's my prayer that i start seeking eternal things more, that i start seeking God's face more, that i let God fill my God shaped vacuum.