Sunday, August 30, 2009
I got dressed the way I thought was appropriate for Catholic mass, the way I always have with one minor alteration: an ankle length skirt, 3/4 length shirt, and a head covering. It was a cute one too, nothing out of the ordinary religious/amish, in fact I have seen other girls wear similar ones around campus. I thought nothing of it. I got lost walking into town, as I knew I would (hence why I left 30 minutes early), and finally found the church. I excitedly walked in alone and took a seat toward the back. Soon as people filed in, the seats around me filled. On either side of me was a mother with a baby and a mother with 2 young boys. At first all was well, I got a lot of stares, but I didn't mind. I knew I was a "new comer", I understood some curiosity!
But it got weird fast. The one mother would NOT stop glaring at me. I smiled, but I was really unsettled. It didn't take long before her boys started acting up too. They were rustling bags, yelling, walking down the aisles, and JUMPING on the hymnals and NEW TESTAMENTS! I was awe-struck! What in the world?! Why wasn't she stopping them?! Where was the respect and reverence in these children?! When I was their age I was absolutely SILENT! Not only would my mother and grandmother not allow bad behavior, but my religious ed teachers were serious about respect in God's house. I wasn't scared into being well behaved, I did it to please God. I knew he was in Church; this was HIS house and I was a guest. That's why watching this train wreck in front of me baffled me! I was literally disgusted.
Once in a while I would look around at the parish. The women behind me looked uneasy and I didn't know why. By this point I thought I had done something or had something on me. They were looking me up and down, and since I was in a white skirt, I thought I had had my period (sorry to be so blunt lol my room mate had just previously gotten hers off schedual and so it was on my mind as a possibility)...or sat in something unpleasent. Why else would I cause a distraction? I kept looking behind myself to see if I could see anything to freak them out, but I saw nothing. My skirt was white. So I tried hard to concentrate despite the stares, the baby throwing things to my right and the wild boys to my left.
The hand shaking moment came. For the non-Catholics, we shake hands at one point in mass to show peace to your neighbor. No matter who is around you, whether it be strangers, friends, family, or enemy, you shake their hand and say "peace be with you!!" You just do! I put my hand out and *get this* I was ignored by the man and women in front of me, ignored by the mother and the baby, and the woman behind me WAVED at me as I had my hand waiting for hers in the air!! She waved. You don't wave! And it wasn't like she was just a germ-a-phobe, she shook the people around her's hands fine. So I stood there, alone, with no hand shakes for a good couple seconds while everyone else participated in the ritual.
I can't help but laugh now because as I re-read my blog, I see how rejected I am by everyone I come in contact with. I must have a sign on my forehead that says "stay away!" hahahahaha. However, I was invited after mass to the catholic campus ministry at my school by the members of the club and I plan to go. I never had a problem in the RCC/mass before today...such a weird/freak expirience. When I told my 2 Catholic room mates, they laughed so hard! They had never expirienced it either, everyone shakes, even if you desperately don't want to. You just do!
Anyways, I don't know why I was stood up :P Maybe it was my covering, maybe they just didn't trust outsiders...I don't know.
I have been swamped with reading and homework for classes so the rest of my day consisted of solid work, a work out at the gym, a shower, and dinner. That's about it! Class in the am though, so I gotta sign off and get some shut eye!
Peace be with you all ;) hahaha
your sis in the Lord, RA
Thursday, August 27, 2009
This weird experience really threw me off. I had to hide in my dorm to get some peace from him. I even started to notice myself sliding. And in my head at the time I was justifying it...I didn't want to be like him! I didn't want to be that way to people around me; how do I know how they see me? It gave me flashbacks to when I hurt my atheist friend with my "Christian talk". I must have sounded like an arrogant _____. To be honest. I was freaking out inside. When my covering slipped, I took it off. I was getting excited about the nightlife with my room mates, I was lusting and flirting, I wasn't thanking YHVH for my food before I ate...
and then english came. We had to give a writing sample (all freshmen) the first day. We were supposed to get like an hour, but my teacher gave us 35-ish. I bombed! (well in my mind I felt it was the worst essay I had ever put my name on.) If the teachers felt my essay was bad enough, they would put me in a remedial class. How awful. Maybe it was my own insecurity, but I had a feeling that essay was bad enough to be deserving of such action. I had to turn to God to calm my nerves and assure me. It was really hard repenting that night...to acknowledge the sin from a mere few days! The next morning I put a full covering on and just trusted God with my fate in english. That night my teacher told me my essay was great, vivid, and compelling. I was shocked. It deserved no praise and yet my teacher did not hold back. I remember blurting out "Praise Yah!" after I read it with the biggest, cheesiest grin on my face. I didn't even care that my door was open and that my room mates were in ear shot.
It's still hard for me to wear my covering though. They don't stay on! I've tried bobby pins, clips, hair ties...nothing will keep it in place. Also, since I share a suite with 8 other girls, shower time in precious and I usually shower before class and putting cloth over wet hair is not comfortable or practical. And the food crisis....oh boy! Pork everywhere and sometimes they just label it "meat"...as in what? mystery meat? I saw lasagna tonight and I just scooped it on my plate not noticing the "meat" next to the sign. As I took a bite, I couldn't tell what it was...beef? pork? both? All day they had pork. Sausage this, pork quesadillas that. I was starving come dinner! I hated not knowing if what I was eating was kosher. The frustration was overwhelming and just writing this upsets me. Being a religious college freshman is almost an oxymoron. Week one was rocky...I hope it gets easier from here.
I am trying to get in touch with my friends who I may have offended at home though. If anything, this week has taught me how NOT to be a Christian! I definately know Campus Crusade and those people are NOT the crowd for me. Which means I have no where spiritual to go lol. No Chabad, no Campus ministry. But my room mate did ask me last night if I would go to church with her. At first I was dreading it...I didn't know what she was. (baptist like the guy? episcopal? lutheran?) I almost didn't want to deal with some crazy protestant church, but she's a Catholic. Baruch HaShem!
So this weekend I'm off to Catholic church with my wild roomie :) Hopefully she appreciates and feels YHVH there. I'm ready for some comfort in the word, even if I don't agree 100% with the RCC; it's been my home for 18 years.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
As you may have read below, I wanted to participate with the Chabad during the school year, and the Rabbi had encouraged my friends and I to fill out a mailing paper and come to the services. I even went to the website, excited as ever, and read how they want everyone: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Non-Jews to come to their meetings! So you must understand how much hope this gave me...especially when the rabbi found me on facebook!
I left him a comment about participating, despite the fact I'm a non-jew on his wall and he responded enthusiastically. So I went to bed with a smile on my face knowing I have a place to keep Torah and another place to worship Yeshua here on campus. And then after my morning run and shower, I logged on to facebook and I have a message from the rabbi in my inbox. Could it be an invitation? My excitement quickly turned to despair with a twinge of embarassment as I read his letter. He said if I really wanted to come I could, but there will be many things I shouldn't go to. And at the very least I should bring a Jewish friend with me. I felt like an idiot!
I don't know why he encouraged me multiple times before and just now is telling me I'm not exactly wanted; kind of like the kid you didn't want to invite to the party, but they found out about it, and now you don't want to be rude, so you let them come anyway. haha that's me! :P
I'm debating whether or not I should respond to his message. I don't want to look like I desperately want to go, especially if they find out I'm a Torah-keeping Christian. The Jews I have met say that's not a real religion and I'm making one up/hijacking theirs...so I don't want to impose on the Chabad since they already seem a little put off by my interest.
It's so weird not to fit in anywhere. I'll definately participate in a Christian group; I saw some boys with bibles going to church this morning so they must be in it already. I just found it annoying when the man the other night was speaking of "the Law"...The 10 Commandments. The Law is not just the 10 commandments people! But alas...what's a girl to do? lol
Wow it's 11:00 exactly! Perfect timing. I am STARVING since I didn't eat dinner last night. I took such a long walk with my friend that everyone ate without me haha oh well! Fasting never killed anyone :) well maybe a prolonged one...hmm...nevermind that's not a happy note to leave off on haha
Have a great day everyone! thanks for supporting my blog/cause!
May YHVH bless you and yours always~
Saturday, August 22, 2009
My school is pretty liberal, which I don't/wouldn't have minded if it wasn't shoved in my face so much. We had to watch a play at orientation in the summer about homosexuality and that I MUST accept it because it's natural and any other form of thought is bigotry. Needless to say I was offended. And whenever people talk about it I just sit back and listen. I will not nod to enable them or voice my opinion in protest. It's the same with all the sex/drugs/and partying going on too though. A lot of it is sinful, but whatever I say will only instill anger and won't change them. (I've learned that the hard way) They even give out condoms as poker chips in the CAMPUS RUN casino night! what are you serious!?
The funny thing is though, the school does all this work for "liberating" its students and yet they completely forget, or perhaps it's ignore, the religious body on campus. I know Ramadan has started and I noticed a few muslim students walking around. And then it hit me. The dining hall didn't open until 11:30 today. Forget the fact that I was starving, but the muslims didn't get to eat before dawn and the hall closes before the sunsets today. Even though the hours are weird because it's move in/orientation weekend, how is that fair?! The students in this situation obviously must have brought their own food, but I find this wrong that they aren't provided for. It's the same for me though, I want to keep kosher (biblically, not rabbinically) and the only kosher food is served on Shabbat. Once a week. And the school doesn't offer it I think, i believe the off-campus Chabad does. Crazy, no?
I went to a little carnival the school held where local shops and banks and clubs gave out free things and food (yum!). My favorite part was the religious organizations represented. I saw a sweet little baby and I immediately went running haha and to my surprise I ran into her Orthodox Jewish mother. Her husband was the Chabad director and they had games and a mailing list and they invited me to services and Shabbat dinner. My heart melted! I wanted to go so bad!! My excitement was soon gone when I looked to my right and realized I had to go to the campus functions with my friends. Once school starts I will go to services and Shabbat dinner, even if the students don't acknowledge Yeshua, they uphold the Torah. The revere the Word and the Word is God.
I was then called over by the Crusade for Christ ministry and they gave me a whole bag of goodies I truly appreciated. The man was nice and I didn't mind his evangelizing since I wanted to know what his club had to offer. But my room mate...oh you should have seen her face. Sheer uncomfort! She looked attacked, scared, and offended. The same way I feel when the staff put on their programs.
I see so much opportunity for religious growth here, and yet so many traps. I have been hanging out with the boy I met here who is religious. And while I have enjoyed having a Christian friend (my only one so far) I just have trouble getting past the different mindframes. It's crazy how we are both very religious and we consider ourselves very Christian...yet we don't agree on so much. It just proves the scripture
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. --
"Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?""Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.'
"But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.' -- I am not saying he's a bad person and will go to hell, but there are so many churches, so many doctrines due to man's perversion of the word, and so many cover ups in the Bible! Oh we should be modest, chaste, virtuous, and strive for good? Well that doesn't fit into my lifestyle. Hopefully I will find my niche. I will do it with or without a friend. Speaking of which I have to switch from my little headband coverings to bigger ones. I just need some time. it's hard to wear them and not look like a cancer patient...it's harder for Christians because people will be like why are you wearing that on your head? and our answer is meaningless because the head scarf seems to be a muslim thing only...or to cover a bald head. :/ However...that's a good way to spread God's Word. hmmm....
Baruch HaShem for every blessing he has given me :)
(this took me 2 hours to write almost...college life...is distracting)
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
This is such a weird time in my life! But I think it's needed. I need to learn true independence and I absolutely must meet new people. Baruch HaShem; I am able to afford such an education and experience!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
The relationship between a father and daughter is a very special one and sadly many people miss out on it. Those who do have that close tell-all bond with their dads are truly blessed. But it made me realize that, as Christians, we have this relationship no matter how connected we are with our earthly fathers; we have another Father. One who is much more dear and much more important. And we are far more blessed than those who have the bond with their dad, but not Adonai. We are a people unlike any other because our God is our Father.
This never really crossed my mind. No matter how many times I recited the Our Father, I never grasped how wonderful this relationship is. The Bible is so unique in this aspect because God stresses his role as a Father and not so much as a distant entity. Through the messiah we are brought into this intense intimacy that no other religion can grasp. Many of us take this gift for granted. Relationships matter and they especially will on the Day of Judgment. Those of other faiths will face God as a judge (as their faith teaches). A stranger. One with no real sympathy for you. How could He if you have no relation? He'll view you as a lawbreaker and a sinner and what would be more fitting than to lock you away. For a Christian, we will be judged, but not by a stranger. By our Father.
Just think of that. It's like if you were in court for a list of heavy crimes and you could choose the person to sentence/fine you. The toughest judge in the country or your own father. Who wouldn't want their dad to oversee the case? While there will be disappointment and chastisement, we will be forgiven and we will be set free, not because we deserve it, but because it's our Father behind the gavel. Relationships are such a vital part of human life; it's the vein of our existence because it's what links us all to each other, to our history, to our failures and successes. What better than to realize you have one with the Creator of the Universe. Not only that: He WANTS it. We don't have to beg for a sliver of his love and mercy. He seeks US and basically begs US to let him give it to us. And most of us have REFUSED!
I know it's hard for those outside Christianity to understand. They think it's crazy and blasphemous to think we humans could call the Creator "Father". How dare we. But I think that's the guilt we feel as sinners. We don't deserve this amazing and awesome gift God has set before our feet, so we push it away. We try and show how it cannot be possible for God to desire such intimacy and consequently we push Him farther and farther away until He becomes a stranger to us.
As I grow older, I face more and more ugly and chaotic situations. Without the comfort and peace I receive from God I would have lost my mind by now; and I am still so young! I can still enjoy that peace only a child has. The one where fear hardly ever crosses your mind and when it does, you have a parent there to take it all away. God is that for me, and can be for you. He's the ultimate Father, the one I can go to with any question, no matter how embarrassing. Like a child, I can access him at any time, and when the path gets dark and narrow, I have his hand to guide me through. Even as adults, we are just helpless children that need our Father to comfort us, protect us, punish us, forgive us, and most importantly Love us.
Footprints in the Sand
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from anguish,
sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints,
so I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life
there has only been one set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”
The Lord replied,
“The years when you have seen only one set of footprints,
my child, is when I carried you.”
Ok so until I can get on here and make a proper post, here is a song I am currently obsessed with!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Every time I have gone to a college function, I have noticed the male population. Wham! back to my old ways. But when I take the time to dress modestly, I am more aware and conscious of my behavior. Modest from the get-go almost sends the message that I won't be playing those games anymore. The plan sounds good so far right? The only problem is implementing it.
My closet has pretty much stayed consistent throughout the years. I take good care of my clothes, that's why they last so long. However, 75% of it really doesn't measure up to the look I am striving for. I have jeans, but they aren't loose. Not like incredibly tight, (though I do have 1 pair of skinny jeans) but they show my figure a little too much. Which is ok if I have a longer tunic/shirt dress over it. But I only have a couple. And most of my shirts are form fitting or too short or too low cut...it's just so FRUSTRATING! Most of my modest clothes come in the form of good old maxi dresses, flowy skirts, and some cardigans. But those don't seem practical for winter. (any opinions?)
Building up a modest wardrobe is expensive. And I am a VERY frugal person. But it's all adding up. I try and get my inspiration from muslimahs because they are always modest and normally so chic. Most Christian conservatives tend to dress like the amish...and while I respect that...I don't want to look amish :( HOWEVER. I can never do it! My scarves never wrap right (usually because of fringe or beading, since I bought them with the intent of wearing them around my neck, not over my hair.) My one pair of modest pants make me look like a box and my shirts seem to follow suit. I think I need a pocket hijabi to help me with my shopping and styling. For a girl who used to be very fashionable, I am finding it hard to maintain my fashion sense while at the same time hiding my figure. And that is FRUSTRATING!
And apart from the technical aspect of being modest, I am frustrated with the outright rejection I am getting from the Christians around me. I thought I met someone from school with the exact beliefs as me, but now as we talk, he's revealing how he thinks we as Christians should blend in with the world. How else will we gain converts? UH HELLO! We are called to be a separate people; set apart and holy. I don't think wearing a wash cloth for a dress, going trick or treating on Halloween, or forgetting the laws of the Bible will make God happy OR win over nonbelievers. Because *ahem* I lived that way for years and I didn't "save" one soul. Uhg. He just made me feel like a zealot.
I don't understand why the world hates when a Christian tries to follow their Bible to a "T", but respects the piety of most other faiths. Who am I kidding? It's not even the world who hates practicing Christians, it's fellow "Christians"! That's where I get the most flack. It's like your faith must be left behind in the Church pew every Sunday and if it even tries to peak its ugly little head out of the Chapel doors, there will be hell to pay! I don't see my loneliness subsiding anytime soon either. My college is pretty liberal. I wouldn't be surprised if the bible study club shied away from me too. I wish there was a Christian Ummah in a way. You find nothing but piety in practicing Muslims.
Sorry about my rant. It's the only way I can release this anxiety without questioning my journey entirely. This is all going to escalate in difficulty once I am living in a dorm room. My study will be out in the open, my praying, my head covering. And it's not even the rejection I am afraid of, since I am very used to it...but it's the thought of being all alone. That I will never be able to get over. I need some face to face Torah interaction so that at least I know what I am doing is real. That is has some purpose or meaning for YHVH and his plan.
Matt 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. "
Saturday, August 8, 2009
This is a clip from the movie The Prince of Egypt when the Jews are being led out of slavery. I sooo adore this song! The Hebrew is so beautiful and I get the chills listening to the words!
And this one is a Hebrew lullaby called Hashkivenu; it's very lovely and very calming. Baruch HaShem.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
There are techniques and styles of teaching within the New Testament that made sense to its original audience; something that has been heavily lost through time. For instance, many rabbis of Jesus' time would quote the Torah and or make references to a certain scripture throughout the day- whether it be for teaching, making a quick and sharp retort, or subtly making a point known without coming out and saying it.
The authors show this in a situation (a tradition used throughout the centuries) between a modern rabbi and his student. The student had betrayed him and the rabbi said to him "Banim gidalti veromumti" which in English means "I have raised children and brought them up." The student had no idea what he meant by this remark, but he knew it was taken from Isaiah, so he went home and found the passage. The full piece reads "I have raised children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me." To a Jew in ancient times, if someone had said such a thing, the full message would have been understood. All Jews, whether rich or poor, man or woman, child or adult, studied Torah HEAVILY. (I was surprised to read even women were encouraged to sit in on discussions and many were educated enough to debate the rabbis and spiritual elite!) It's like today if someone says "Up yours." we don't have to ask 'up what of mine?' we know where and what they mean; it's just part of our ways.
So the authors proceed to show how this is relevant in the Bible. At one point in Matthew, Jesus had been healing and teaching in the temple and crowds were gathered cheering. The children shouted "Hosanna to the son of David" and this p*ssed off the priests. They confronted him and asked if he realized what these children were insinuating. And Jesus says "Have you never read, 'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise'?" Matthew 21:16 Yeshua is quoting Psalm 8:2 here. "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies to silence the foe and the avenger." This psalm means God's glory is so immense that even the innocents of the world, the children, innately praise and worship him; which thus shames those who hate the Lord.
There is also one other chapter I wanted to share from this book. Peter asks Yeshua in Matthew 18 how many times he should forgive someone who wrongs him; should he forgive him seven times? In Judaism, the number 7 represents completeness: a point many Christians miss. Peter is asking if he should completely forgive those who sin and wrong him. Yeshua responds "seventy seven times" Now hmmm, what is he saying? I should forgive someone 77 times and then at 78 it's done! I will get my revenge! No, he is quoting Genesis 4:24 where Lamech says "I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me; If Cain is avenged 7 times, then Lamech 77 times." This essentially means, cross Lamech and you will not only receive the COMPLETE payback you deserve, but 77 times more. He will rip you to shreds. Yeshua uses this scripture to teach us as Christians to be as Lamech, but only in FORGIVENESS! When you are sinned against, you should not only be quick to forgive the sinner completely, but to be eager to douse them in your mercy. Put as much passion behind your forgiveness as Lamech put behind his vengeance.
Wow. How amazing! I never read that scripture that way before, I never knew exactly what Yeshua was getting at, but I knew it was good. However, I much prefer having the knowledge of the Jewish culture and tradition equipped to me when I read my Bible than reading it as a 21st century westerner. "Good" does not compare to the magic you get from Torah. I wish I had the knowledge of a Jew from this time; having the Torah written in my heart, mind, and soul. I wish I could read Yeshua's teachings and small hints and go "Aha! I know exactly what you are quoting from and the meaning it has in this situation!"
All this in the first 40 pages! Needless to say I am itching to read the rest! I highly recommend you buy this book!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
My school, as of this very year, is now phasing out of it's program and no incoming freshmen can be enrolled. What are the chances? I found this out just I was doing further research into midwifery options. My only choices now is to transfer and PRAY another program will accept me (since all of the ones in my state are EXTREMELY competitive) or finish my bachelore's degree where I am and get an A.A.S nursing degree at a community college, proceed on to my BSN, and then go to further school to get a CNM. No matter what, it's like wasting 4 years of tuition and time just to start over.
I cannot help but think this was a God's will; maybe I needed this so I wouldn't pursue nursing. Maybe he wants me to be a teacher, or maybe it's something totally different. I can't picture myself in many other careers. I feel like I may lack the authority to be a teacher and I dread the thought of student teaching since I know how my high school classes hated and disrespected all student teachers. However, as a teacher, I will make the same money as a nurse/midwife if not more with the incredible benefits the state pays in addition to the amazing schedule and vacation time I would receive. Which is good to think about for the future when I will someday have a family. I don't want my *future* (haha) kids to go to summer camps and day cares all summer because I feel God wants me, the mother, to raise them.
Sometimes it is so hard to stay on the path God has set out for you. It's like walking through a pitch black tunnel; you have nothing but trust in His guidance. I just need prayer right now! :(
Saturday, August 1, 2009
So yesterday was kind of a big moment for me. I made my first step towards headcovering in public! My family doesn't really even approve of the level of modesty I hold myself to, so I didn't exactly explain why I was wearing this scarf. They thought it was just an accessory and seemed to like it. Anyways, I always heard that Muslim women get stared at a lot in public, but I never thought it would happen to me...on this day, because my scarf was not half as big and it kind of matched my clothes. It looked like this:
Now it wasn't like people were looking at me continuously, but I got stares here and there. Especially at dinner. haha. This girl next to me could not stop. Even when I caught her, she would still be looking me up and down. It reminded me of the other day when I was wearing a maxi dress with a shirt under it and these 2 women who were dressed in barely-there tank tops and tight spandex pants gave me the "I'm judging you" eye. Uncomfortable moment, but I lived. I hope this modesty stuff gets easier! I have realized though that recently I haven't been falling into my old mindset when it comes to fashion of trying to impress others, especially guys. I feel like my mind is being covered as well ;)