Thursday, January 28, 2010

3rd post Woo Hoo!

WHEW! First week with adult aphasic clients is over with! If I'm completely honest, I was more nervous to work with them than I was to work with the little ones. I think it's safe to say that this semester will consist of a LOT less screaming and temper tantrums. A select few of you know just what I'm talking about! I find it arresting the reasons for older clients' therapy sessions. It's almost like they're living in reverse, to some sense. Think about it-- a child in therapy is more than likely there because their deficit is congenital. They deal with it and are given care for it from Day 1. On the other end of the spectrum, here are older clients who have had good educations and careers and families and stories... and then one day they have a stroke (or anything else, for that matter) and their life changes. It just blows my mind. That's the thing about speech therapy - the job opportunities are so broad... babies to old people, school districts to hospitals. Or we could just work with Brad Pitt. I think I've found my calling!!

Being a busy bee during the week makes the weekends THAT MUCH BETTER! We finally get a chance to relax and have fun and not think twice about why Spongebob's favorite pants are his favorite, as if we wanted to know in the first place. I can only wonder what this coming up weekend has in store... hopefully nothing that involves challenging gravity!! Because as most of us know from last weekend, gravity always wins. I love calling everyone on Saturday morning & sharing stories! And as far as this ice storm business goes, bring it on! I'm an experienced survivor :).

Keeping up with "Mary Spirit:"
Chapter 3 talks about that inner turmoil between wanting what God wants and wanting what we want. It describes Satan's role in all this. Satan isn't too worried about losing us to God. He is, on the other hand, bound and determined to keep us from being effective Christians. He's eager to constantly remind us of our failures and our unworthiness. He wants us to be so preoccupied all the time with what we're not that we never get around to realize all that God is. But Christ's sacrifice was enough. And "he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus," Phil 1:6. Whatever God has started in me, He's going to finish it. It's a constant changing, though...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Do actions REALLY speak louder?

I believe I got "Having a Mary Spirit" for my high school graduation. I had it tucked away in a small chest that I brought to Little Rock, and as I was going around my room convincing myself that I wasn't overpacking for Christmas break when indeed I was, I grabbed a couple of books--"Mary Spirit" being one of them. I grabbed it from my suitcase one night at home. The subtitle reads "Allowing God to change us from the inside out." ...I thought that sounded like a pretty good plan, so I dug in.

Chapter 1 is simply called "A Mary Spirit." ... I can already tell that this will be hard. It would be so much easier to simply tell you to go buy this book & read it for yourself. ... Luke 10:38-42 tells a story of 2 sisters: Martha & Mary. Jesus visited their home, and Martha was freaking out because she felt like she was doing all the work while Mary just sat there and listened to Him. Martha rebuked and asked why Mary was doing nothing. Jesus responded to Martha and told her, "Only one thing is needed." It's easy to get so caught up in the busyness of life that sometimes I forget about that "one thing" that is needed - to sit at Jesus's feet. I tend to forget to just... be still. Joanna goes on to say that Martha & Mary had to "learn the balance between a soul at rest and a body in motion, between working hard for Christ and sitting at His feet." That's what I need- to learn that balance. I want to be changed to have a Mary spirit and learn to sit at the feet of the One who leads me. Ok, Lord... here we go.

Chapter 2 is where I had my first big "Aha!" moment. Joanna writes, "I assumed that Christian perfection was an outer work I had to do." That caught my attention. What? Isn't it, though? "If I could just be good enough and do the right things, then I would please God." Ok... go on. "But in my heartfelt desire to serve and honor the Lord, I feel prey to ... the lie that holiness is all up to us." Wait... it's not? There I was, realizing that the dangerous belief that I had to make myself presentable to God through my own human efforts was all a lie that Satan had planted in my mind. And boy, did he reap & sow on that lie.

I struggled a lot in undergrad with this issue. I felt like I had gotten so caught up in everything--sorority, partying, meeting people--and I began to neglect my spiritual life... put it on the back-burner, if you will. When I hit some low points & realized that I needed to mend this part of my life, I didn't know where to start. I began going to church on a somewhat regular basis & reading daily devotionals ever so often, etc. I tried to monitor my words and actions. But as we all know, people fall. As I read through Chapter 2, it became more and more apparent that my human actions are not what is going to bring me closer to God. Contradictory to what I had unconsciously thought before, I didn't need to prove myself worthy of anything- because I'm not worthy. No one is, nor will anyone ever be. Salvation is a gift, not a job. And it is all up to mwah to decide to accept this gracious gift. For it is freely given.

It was when I read the following words that I could have sworn that this chapter was written ABOUT me and directly TO me:
"I somehow fell for the lie that when I accepted Jesus as my Savior, the rest was up to me. As though, after an initial warm hug of welcome, God had tossed me into the sea of life, stepped back, and crossed His arms as if to say 'It's up to you now, sweetheart--sink or swim.'"
BaDaBING! I didn't know what exactly it was that I had been struggling with until I read that line. That's it! That's the lie that has me stuck in this rut! My Christianity and my salvation is not dependent upon me and my actions... it's through the grace of God. Now I've known since I was a little girl that there is one and only one way to God, but like Joanna said, I believed that after that initial "Come into my heart" prayer, it was all up to me. But it's not. I began to realize that all I had to do was follow Him. I have a God who understands that I am caught in the middle of humanly contradictions. I want God one minute and I chase the world the next. Jesus not only understands my weaknesses, but he has the power and the know-how to help me change. He peels back my sin like an onion, revealing one layer at a time. He exposes my weaknesses, then shows me how to change.

There were many parts of chapter 2 that I had to re-read. This book was proving to be a bit more complex than I had bargained for. I was expecting to pick it up and read bullet points on how to become a better person spiritually. "Good deeds: check. Church: check. Prayer: check." Boy, was I in for a ride as I realized that this was going to be about self-evaluation and application in my own life. This should be interesting...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I'll try anything once...

Ok... I give in. After following Lindsey's blog for only a few weeks, I've decided to jump on the bandwagon of blogging. And yes, it was I who, just a few weeks ago, said I would never "blog" ... whatever that means anyway. I didn't (& still don't, really) see myself as the kind of person to "blog about my ideals," as the Twix commercial puts it. But sometimes when writing in my diary, my brain works way faster than my poor fine motor skills do. Therefore, I end up having all these thoughts that I want to put down but by the time I finish one sentence I forget what I was thinking about writing next.

One of the main reasons I've decided to succumb... to conform... to this blogging world is because of the book I'm currently reading: "Having a Mary Spirit" by Joanna Weaver. I have underlined and starred so many phrases, paragraphs, scriptures. And although writing about some of them in my diary gives me some way of regurgitating what I've read, some of it is just too good to keep to myself. I realize that this blog (which will probably be re-named over & over because of my indecisiveness) will not be read by tons & tons of people. The group of people who read this will probably consist of a select few. Still, some of the things I read in this book SCREAM to me, "This is YOU, Ashley! Apply THIS to your life! And THIS! And THIS!" So, as I am halfway through the book, I plan on going back to the beginning and sharing the points that stand out to me and speak to me in hopes that they will speak to you, too (whoever you are).

We'll see how this goes :)