30 April 2005

Perfect Peace - Isaiah 26:3

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee." [[KJV]]

"You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You." [[Amplified]]

Coming out of the Quiet

Funny how I can now truly not use my voice all that much (officially sick - yay!)...

Anyway, while I was spending my day in silence (and fasting, for other reasons), I kept track of what I was learning, and I would like to share.

1) I am fully capable of breaking a heart, just as surely as someone is fully capable of breaking my own.
2) I will recognize my Lord's voice when I hear it - I need not fear.
3) Rest and silence are very similar concepts.
4) I do not live on bread alone, but by the Word of God; God sustains even my body.
5) Honesty is necessary, even when it causes change.
6) To care for others, I must first know how to care for myself.
7) Risks must be taken - even if failure is expected.
8) Timing is everything. Asking "Why?" is not. We need only ask what we can learn.
9) We cannot control the minds of others; we should not feel guilt for their thoughts.
10) Action is not isolated - that of one person has the power to affect many.
11) Silence can heal.
12) I take speech for granted.
13) I don't have to defend myself; even my Lord was silent.
14) I need to monitor my heart more closely, for its overflow is my mouth and its speech.

My body is wearied, but my heart is beginning to be encouraged once more.

Over the past week or so, I have been doing a lot of thinking about stuff that I usually try to avoid: relationships.

I've been wrestling with the idea that I will wind up with the wrong person somehow and have been searching myself to see why it is that I am attracted to the men that I am attracted to.

And yet, at the end of the day, it comes to my mind that, perhaps, I'm not meant to be with anyone that I am currently interested in - that they will only serve to heighten my standard, to improve my grasp of what I desire the man I marry to be like.

So many amazing, Godly men have set and raised my standard over the years and, at times, I have not understood why they were only to serve as an addition to my standard - why I could never date them or have them see me as other than their sister-in-Christ. I spent many nights in heartache over what-might-have-beens that were really what-should-not-have-beens.

But, in the end, I understand. I can't even explain it - it just doesn't make sense in the end of things for me to be with them. God has other plans. Better plans. Plans to prosper me and not to harm me, for a hope and a future.

Tuesday morning, I woke up from a dream that jarred me. I rarely dream about guys and the dreams where I do only deal with them standing me up or abandoning me. In this dream, a man sought me out and stayed. Willingly.

And I know the day will come when the timing is finally right and the match is finally right... where God will place before me the man that will complement me in a way that none of the men who formed my standard will ever be able to.

The confusion of late has led me to anticipate that day all the more, and it does make me discontent in my present state, but I want it to be right and, so, I am willing to wait - as hard as it may be and as long as it may take.

But I decided Tuesday to put all of the confusion behind me... to simply enjoy the rest of the year (all two weeks of it) and then take the summer to rest, to renew my strength, and to continue laying out what it is that I am looking for.

My heart and my head need some definite sorting out after this semester, and I'm finally at the point where I admit it needs to be done.

I need rest.

And, at the end of the summer, I will return and see what happens.

I thank God for the men He has placed in my life over the years so that I could develop a standard for Him to fill, and I praise Him for blessing them with amazing women that they now call their wives and those women that they will call their wives.

How wonderful to share in their joy!

How wondrous the grace of our God - that He would even take the time to choose earthly caretakers for us and then reveal them to us.

How great is our God. 'Night.

Mood: Peaceful Listening to: Street noises Reading: Communications Law

28 April 2005

Sweet Dependency

My body is giving way to earthly exhaustion today;
It fails to understand rest.
My mind is so filled that it cannot be stilled;
But it is my request

That I would be brought to my knees,
In sweet dependency in You alone.
For at the end of this time,
If I still think that I’m mine,
Please break me and bring me back home.

At the close of the age, I am riddled with change,
Having trusted that You have a plan.
But with this moment at hand, I don’t understand – I don’t think that I can.
Where is it You’re taking me?

May I be brought to my knees,
In sweet dependency in You alone.
For at the end of this time,
If I still think that I’m mine,
Please break me and bring me back home.

So, where does this end? Why is it here?
I trust that You know what You’re doing.
I don’t understand. Could I just disappear?
And avoid it ‘til I know how it’s ending?

Please break me and bring me back home in sweet dependency.

©2005 Alyssa Kate Grinstead

The Sermon on the Mount

Applicable passages for the day...

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him." [[Matthew 6:5-8]]

"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." [[Matthew 6:16-18]]

"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." [[Luke 6:45]]

May God read my heart as it lies open in silence.

27 April 2005

Jesus, I come to Thee

So often, of late, I have sought out God first and others a close second, tying what I deem to be "recovery" to sources other than the only One who can bring me true peace.

God's silence has been deafening, but I have chosen to wait in silence.

I have been afraid that I do not know His voice, that I am listening to other voices... but I am diligently seeking Him and His guidance, and I will know His voice when He finally decides to speak.

This week, I have been stripping things away - I never truly sit in silence.

Recorded music (especially my iPod) was the first to go; second, a lot of my time with the guys (for my sake and for theirs); and third, I am going to spend my day in silence tomorrow.

I figure that I have done enough talking, enough speculating, enough seeking advice from other sources...

...It is time to solely seek God in this. To come to Jesus and only Him.

"My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation." [[Psalm 62:1]]

Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of my sickness into Thy health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the glorious gain of Thy Cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of earth's sorrows into thy balm,
Out of life's storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy blessed will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward for aye on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the joy and light of Thy home,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

[[William T. Sleeper, "Jesus, I Come"]]

Mood: Broken Listening to: Silence Reading: Psalm 62

If I knew what to say...

...I am still not sure that I would speak, although I seem to have done enough today.

I've been up for 20 hours and I am surviving on about 12 hours of sleep from the last 4 days... yeah, I'm kind of frazzled right now.

I think I'm finally getting sick because of the lack of sleep I have been getting, and my streak of working in preparation for whatever breakdown God has planned for me this week waned tonight. I just couldn't focus. Too much to think about.

And, then, our friend Garrett went to the ER because he almost stopped breathing. Hence, the later night than originally planned and the height of supreme exhaustion (although I'm not quite loopy yet, I might be by tomorrow).

Anyway... I'm off to find my pillow now (or so I think). Hopefully, I will actually sleep tonight instead of having every intention to and failing to do so (like last night) I feel like my body is about to shut down.

So... Goodnight. I pray God's breakers would sweep over all of us as we are anchored in the depths of His love.

Mood: Undeterminable Listening to: Nothing... I'm fasting from my iPod this week
Reading: A.W. Tozer, God Tells the Man Who Cares


It always amazes me how things fade over time.

Seasons. Friendships. Desires. Clothing. Opinions. Color.

Even my office seems faded when I compare it to the view at the window: green trees and grass, white clouds, and a beautifully blue sky.

So many things fade that we barely notice: the newness of other things takes our focus away from what is fading.

After Moses had been in the presence of God, his face (literally) glowed.

But once the Israelites had seen him and heard God’s commands, he would place a veil over his face to keep the people from seeing the glowing as it faded away.

When we come away from being in God’s presence, we should glow. There should be something different about our appearance. People should be able to tell where we have been.

So often, however, we tend to come away from God’s presence unchanged. We don’t show that we have been in the presence of God. People cannot tell our life from the next life. We file the “experience” away in our memories.

If we reflect God’s glory at all after having been in His presence, it has a tendency to quickly fade before anyone can tell it was there, and often even before we can tell it was there.

We are a faded people.

We take notice of bright colors and bright things. We dress ourselves up externally with clothing and jewelry, personality and titles, but we fail to fix the problem:

Instead, we choose to cover up our faded beings.

C.S. Lewis wrote a book called, The Great Divorce, in which he tells the tale of one man’s journey from hell into the High Countries (Heaven).

Everything in hell was grey and very drab. Nothing had color. Everything was faded, and, once the man stepped off the bus, he realized that he too was ghost-like:

He was so faded that he failed to touch or feel the grass on which he stood.

But as he continued his moving into the High Countries, he found himself becoming more solid, more real, and more life-like.

As we spend time with Christ, we should become more solid, more real, and more life-like than we could have ever been on our own.

Christ came so that we might have life and have it “more abundantly”.

True life is found in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone.

This earth will one day fade, but the glory of God never will.

Lord Jesus, take these faded lives and make them more real. Remove from us all of our grey and clothe us in the splendor of Your glory. We seek for the abundant life that Christ came to give, for true life is in Christ alone. May all who see us know that we are Yours.

[[originally published at saLt on 08.06.2004]]

24 April 2005

There are some days...

...When I really miss saLt.

I began as a rare idea that formed in Someone's mind
and I was put together, piece by piece, upon a page's lines.
As time went by and my life took shape, He stood back to say, "All is well,"
but I only saw the black and white of the story I was to tell.

The telling began to run its course, and I began to see
all the blots and mistakes that made up all of me.
He cleaned me up, the best He could, and took me where I could rest,
but, with fear and trembling, I realized, I had been placed on the Editor's desk.

He came right in, red pen in hand, and marked up all my pages;
He found each stain and mistake I had kept hidden for all the ages.
At last, an end in view, He finally ceased His cleaning,
and I looked upon my words anew, for they held a different meaning.

For, though the pages were wet with crimson,
I was finally seen as complete,
and as my Author corrected imperfection,
the white of the paper began to be seen.

For it was only through the Editor's pen
that I could see my right and wrong.
What lay beneath, what I could not read,
had been there, all along.

©2004 Alyssa Kate Grinstead

21 April 2005


I was reborn on April 21, 1999, in my bedroom at my house with no one around and tears running down my cheeks as I gazed out the window and said, “Lord Jesus, I need You for myself”.

And, on Thursday, April 21, 2005, I turned six.

As Laura wrote in my birthday card, I’m ready to start spiritual first grade – no naptime, no half days, no authority but my Teacher.

But I didn’t get here overnight. In fact, this moment has been more than six years in the making, so I’d like to share just where I’ve been.

Pre-rebirth: I was raised in a Christian home (with two of the most amazing, Godly people as parents) and there was never a time when I didn’t know (or believe) that Christ died to save me. I went to church; I knew all of the Sunday school answers; I could quote, like, half of the Bible due to Awanas, but I still didn’t get it. In the summer of 1997, after years of struggling with cancer, my grandfather died. For the year and a half that followed, I was extremely depressed, attempting to fill my life with selective friends, being angry and closed off toward my parents, and lying to everyone during the day while I cried myself to sleep just about every night. I was a mess and I was struggling to keep my head above water.

And then Columbine happened.

When Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, just miles from where I was going to school at the time, I had, for the first time ever, nothing to say. I remember staring blankly at the television screen and then walking away to my bedroom where I sat all night.

For me, the pain was all too real: my fears about death and my memories of my grandfather’s death resurfaced and I found myself with nothing to cling to.

The next night, I sat in my bedroom again, looking out the window, and I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ.

And, for the first time, my faith became my own.

Year One (The “Learning to Live” Stage): God worked with me on decreasing my reliance upon my friends and increasing my reliance upon Him. I cut a lot of ties and opened myself up to new possibilities, but I had to regain the trust of those that I went to school with. God is faithful, however, and He blessed me with two amazing best friends.

Year Two (The “Learning to Walk” Stage): During year two, God really worked with me on healing. I had a lot of pain that I still hid from my grandfather’s death and it often kept me from enjoying life and the peace that Christ brings. Not all of Year Two was healing, though. I fell hard for one of my best friends, and I began to feel that my faith required little work. Like a child learning to walk, I felt confident in my ability, not realizing that I could still fall.

Year Three (The “No” Stage): This is when God broke me. My best friend (that I had fallen hard for) and I fell apart, and when I say we fell apart, it was like a cat playing with a ball of yarn: fast, shredded, and all over the place. Once more, I was a mess, having turned more toward my friend than I had toward God. Because God is a God of love, He granted me a peace in the aftermath that no one (myself included) could understand. Once I turned my focus back to Christ, He showed me how to find freedom from my past (something that I really struggled with). I began performing my music at church coffeehouses and felt my first pull toward active ministry.

Year Four (The “Independent” Stage): I struggled a lot this year, particularly because it was my Senior year of high school. My plans for college were drastically altered when my school of choice decided to change the program that I was going to go there for. Suddenly, what had always been a given was a big toss up. For the first time, I considered not going to college. On the one hand, I wanted to sit out a year and try active ministry; on the other, I wanted to get away from home. But God had a greater plan.

Year Five (The “Daddy’s Little Girl” Stage): I was placed at the college I was for a reason. Despite the change in plans, He knew, and still does know, what is best for me. I began studying journalism, instead of music, and saLt (a youth-oriented webzine) was my active ministry of choice. I took a year off from music, especially in regard to writing and playing piano and guitar. I learned how to hold fast to my “Abba”, that God was sovereign, and what it truly meant to worship.

Year Six (The “Band-aids and Iodine” Stage): There has been so much healing over the past year. Old wounds that were never fully healed were reopened and, for the first time, cleaned out and bandaged up so that they could finally heal and heal correctly. I found the freedom to worship and return to music ministry, was challenged and changed by a study of the Fruit of the Spirit, and found continuous joy in the new family that has been placed around me. I have been learning to surrender and to forfeit my life, my desires and my time for God’s.

And while it has been a painful year, it has been one that I wouldn’t trade because, in the end, I am a changed child of God.

But what strikes me the most about the past year is this:

We must be willing.

Being willing is the battle.

If we are not willing to be changed, to be different at the end of the day, what is the point?

If we are not willing, we will be broken, we will be disciplined, and we will be brought back.

Jesus’ blood never fails me and it never fails His children.

But His blood is a blood that sanctifies, that purifies, that changes lives.

We are not called to remain the same – we are called to be conformed to His likeness.

Every day brings a new lesson.

Yesterday, I dealt with a resurfacing of pride and the need to find rest; today, I dealt with fear and waiting for the future; tomorrow, I will deal with my need for perfection and my busyness.

Today, I started first grade. I am full-time under the tutelage of my Teacher.

He has a lot yet to teach me and I am eager to learn.

His blood never fails me

His blood saved me six years ago today and it is still sanctifying me. It is still relevant. It is still active.

It is still changing lives. I testify to that.

And, as I wait to see where the next step falls, I fear the not knowing. I fear not being in control. I fear not being able to go home again. To be naive. To find that the desires of my heart are altered and what I desire now will never come to fruition.

"Be soft and pliable to the most high covenant God and He will answer our petitions for wisdom and understanding." -Psalm 37:4

That's all I desire: wisdom and understanding. Especially understanding.

But I do not receive because I do not ask. I fear asking for what I know I do not deserve, thinking that I can never receive.

At the end of the day, though, I'm faced with the question of where I find my security. I remember times when it was obviously in the home where I grew up. I used to listen to my dad playing guitar downstairs and watch the nighttime sky light up with bolts of lightning in the summer.

The past few years, however, I continue to find that I can't go home. As much as I want to just crawl into my old bed and have time stop, I can't. My security is no longer in the home of my childhood.

My security is to be found in Jesus' blood alone. He is my freedom.

Jesus' blood never fails me. Heaven is my home.

Mood: Broken Listening to: Delirious?, Mezzamorphis (UK)
Reading: "Five"

18 April 2005

Seagull in the Snow

Waves crash upon the shore where the sun in nice and warm,
Beating down on those that soar among the clouds above.

A seagull calls and accepts his fate living in his natural state:
A simple life, quiet and safe, in his sheltered cove.

Snow falls and covers all, hiding rocks and trees so tall,
Turning white what once was Fall, and so I gaze behind me.

Searching for food and finding none, needing sustaining from someone,
Sits a seagull far from home, and I must let it be…

We were placed where we are for a reason,
And so our comfort must be found in Grace.
Despite the season or the frigid landscape,
I must find my way, for, like a seagull in the snow, I will stay.

The days pass and the nights fly with wondering how long ‘til I see the sky,
From up in the heights, soaring above Your ocean.

Prayers are raised and songs are sung in waiting and longing to see the Son,
Take me to where Spring has sprung and to my natural home.

The winter comes and the winter goes, and through its sunsets, storms, and snows,
I find that between frosted nose and toes, only then can I see the Son

©2003 Alyssa Kate Grinstead

17 April 2005

The nights you wait for rest...

What a weekend!

On Friday, Chels and I went to my parents' house about an hour and a half from here. We grabbed dinner at Chipotle, Chels left for the Foolish Things concert with my brother and his prom date, and I met up with Laura, my "fiance", and some of her other friends before I headed home.

At home, I hung out with my parents for a bit, grabbed the advance copy of Let's Not Forget the Story that the guys sent me and unpacked stuff in my room while listening to the album (which is incredible). I read through the liner notes and the thank yous and was shocked to find myself listed, so I just sat down and thought for a while.

And then, I went and played piano for a while (because there's nothing like playing piano when no one is around to hear). I've been working on putting music to "Meetings" and I'm really liking the result.

Chels and John got back and Chels and I went in the hottub (which was cool because it was a clear night and you could see the stars). Afterward, we watched The Incredibles and went to bed. Great stuff.

Yesterday, I was up early and trying to make sure I had everything I needed in order to head back up to school. We had lunch with my family and stopped at a thrift store on our way out of town.

Back in Fort Collins, Chels and I did some laundry and ate dinner. I had my quiet time and talked to Nick for a bit. Most people went to the ho-down put on by our college group, but I went to the Foolish Things concert instead (I've been waiting for it for about five months now, especially after not having seen the guys since January or February).

It was like a family reunion! A ton of people from my high school youth group were there, as well as the guys, their wives, our old youth pastor, and some other friends that I don't get to see much anymore. It was good to see everyone, for sure. I got to talk to Charlie for a while, which was cool... I hadn't seen him since December. And I got to talk to all of the guys, which was sweet because I haven't done that in a really long time. It's exciting for them to be where they are and it brings me such joy to see them at this point in their ministry.

Seeing them again was really convicting, though, and I think that is one reason why I haven't been so eager to go to their shows over the past few months. Having such a desire for active ministry, it's hard for me to see them do what they do and not be ready to jump in; however, God is still telling me to wait and, so, I tend to get impatient when I go to shows sometimes (if that makes sense).

I know that God is telling me to evaluate what I want to do with my music ministry and how to fit that into the life that I lead now (as opposed to that I led in high school) - to figure out what He desires of me in this area - and I'm now at a point in life where I'm not as frustrated at the prospect of figuring this out.

If my faith or my stepping out in faith makes myself or others uncomfortable, I can't change that. All I know is that, at the end of the day, I answer to God and God alone. If what He calls me to leads me away from comfort, let it be so.

I came back, though, and played piano in the basement for a while (it's such a bad piano). I was reading my book (which I am still in the process of finishing tonight so I can write my paper before 11am tomorrow) when Nick got back from the ho-down, so I talked to him a bit about how giving his testimony went and some other stuff.

So, I got to bed a little later than I really should have, but I fell dead asleep when I got there. I was so disoriented this morning that I thought it was Monday for a few hours (and wondered why my alarm was set for so early) before I realized at 10:22am that I had 8 minutes before church started.

Church was good, though, even though I was late and missed most of the music. The sermon was on suffering, how we should expect it, and how it is to be evidence of God's glory.

I had lunch with Chels and Dave (who is sick - poor guy) and set about reading my book again (which I did for a few hours) before I wound up in Nick and Phil's room, where I worked for a while and then managed to procrastinate until dinner.

Dinner was halfway decent - manicotti and corn. I then proceeded to watch a movie with my roommate until 8pm and somehow wound up talking to Charlie on the phone, who is now under the impression that I'm engaged to Kyle (which is a long story that is an inside joke and which Charlie bought). It could be really entertaining, dependent upon how many people he told before Laura got to him with the truth.

Talked to Eddie for a while, while he was on desk duty tonight, about all sorts of stuff... mostly about purpose and the future. Since then, I've been reading in the basement, with the exception of taking a Cadbury egg to Nick (who is writing a conceptual analysis of the word "flaw").

Slow night, though, especially with Dave sick and Chris not back from the Springs yet. And the trying to get papers done (which I haven't started because I haven't finished the book yet). It shouldn't be too hard, though...

So, yeah... I'm kind of tired. :) Tomorrow will actually be Monday but, after this paper is done, I'll have a day or so off, which will be cool (I have a quiz Wednesday and stuff to do for my lab Tuesday, but I'll get a bit of a break).

In other news, my dad is off to London for a few weeks (they originally wanted to relocate him for 6-9 months, but he said "No" to that very emphatically). And... I managed to get into the class that I couldn't get into last week, which is an answered prayer. My schedule is all worked out for the fall and I'm excited to be taking on a smaller workload.

Anyway... back to the reading now. It's a good book and it really should have me crying, but it's very Irish-Catholic and it's told from the perspective of a young boy, so it has me in hysterics almsot everytime I read a serious part. Go figure.

'Night, all.

Mood: Anticipatory Listening to: Foolish Things, Let's Not Forget the Story
Reading: Frank McCourt, Angela's Ashes

15 April 2005

Word of the Week: Rest

Anapauo (verb) [New Testament Greek]
1. To cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labour in order to recover and collect his strength
2. To give rest, refresh, to give one's self rest, take rest
3. To keep quiet, of calm and patient expectation

Abah (verb) [Old Testament Hebrew]
1. To be willing
2. To consent, yield to, accept
3. To desire

Look at John 6:1-11. Familiar, huh? Have you ever noticed that Jesus made the people sit down before He would feed them? After they sat down, He gave thanks, multiplied the food, and made available to them more than they could eat.

Rest. It's such a crazy concept. But we are called to find rest and to find it in Christ.

"Work is not always required of a man. There is such a thing as a sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected." [[George MacDonald]]

Mood: Tired Listening to: Jeremy Camp, Restored Reading: Frank McCourt, Angela's Ashes

12 April 2005

The only thing that changes is the technology...

I'm currently sitting in my VisComm lab learning about how to create pages and templates in DreamWeaver which, despite the fact that I gave up trying to learn how to do things with a few years back, is not all that different from GoLive, which I have been using for the past year and a half (I used GoLive for the saLt site - great program). So... where I thought I would be learning some new stuff, I'm really not. It's just subtle differences in the way things work (it's a little bit more polished as a program, to be sure).

So... :) I was supposed to study for my law exam this afternoon between lunch and my lab (which I'm currently in), but instead, I took the afternoon off to rest. I've been going almost nonstop for about a week and a half now, and I needed a break.

I started off by doing OT Survey (Job), reading Streams, reading a book by Elisabeth Elliot on guidance, and writing in my prayer journal.

And, then... I took a nap. For more than two hours. (!)

I was really only supposed to sleep for an hour and a half so that I could study for an hour and still get in a shower before class, but... I just let myself sleep.

The reason? I woke up at 2:45 this morning because I had the worst headache I have had in months. After trying to fix it with water (the only medicine I had was stuff you need to take with food to avoid ulcers), I finally put a cold cloth on my head and crashed on the couch. Fun stuff. This morning was even more fun when I got up for my 8am class and still had the headache. After I got a granola bar and the medication into my system, I felt a lot better, to be sure.

I did really well on both of my exams last week, which is awesome because I really need some encouragement right now with my schoolwork. The end of the year is always crazy and this semester, with 18 hours (6 classes), I have a lot to get done in these last five weeks (6 finals, 2 final projects, and a few other exams and papers).

But I'm almost there... it will soon be done. Bittersweet because of the joy at being done and the reluctance to leave, but it will come nonetheless, as will the new school year in the fall.

Speaking of which, I registered yesterday (with frustrating results, but you can only do so much when working with a computerized system). I did get the last seat in a class on Western Mythology (a lit class), which I'm pumped for.

And, now, I should probably start working on my template so that I can start other stuff next week (and actually use the time here in the lab productively).

After I get done with class, I'm hitting the books (I'll probably lock myself in a cell in the basement - it's really not that bad). Law exam tomorrow! Sociology on Thursday! Yikes!

It doesn't matter - I have a God who carries me. I have had my time of sacred idleness, now it is time to work. And that's okay.

Mood: Eager Listening to: Caedmon's Call, Back Home
Reading: Elisabeth Elliot, God's Guidance: A Slow and Certain Light

Things that Make My Day...

1. Talking to Laura
2. Hanging out on the Southside of Newsom
3. New music (and good music)
4. Being called a "square" (I admit - it's funny)
5. Having nothing to do
6. Watching Nick try and hide
7. Walking to class with my iPod
8. Talking with my Homespud (can't wait for the summer)
9. My campers (especially Sam and Charlie)
10. Laughing
11. Going to Borders with Laura for Accountability
12. Good books (and old ones)
13. Playing my guitar
14. Playing the piano when nobody's home
15. Sitting at the feet of my Savior
16. Talking to Squirt
17. Playing Nerts with my roommate
18. Chinese food
19. Mexican food
20. Dressing "up"
21. Mealtimes with the gang
22. Recording sessions
23. Time with my dad
24. Writing
25. Reading other people's blogs
26. Going to the beach or to the mountains
27. Thunderstorms and rain
28. Classes that end early or get cancelled
29. Family dinners
30. Going to bed

11 April 2005

Heaven's Battle Cry: Rise!

Once again, I find myself at the beginning of another long week, already exhausted and ready for its end.

But I will find my rest in Christ alone. And I will take that rest that He gives before I dive into anything else.

Life without space for rest is like music without rest, like sentences without spaces, like a room packed to the ceiling with no room to put anything else inside - utterly useless.

So, I will take my rest under the shadow of His wings - singing, even in distress.

God is so incredibly faithful to point out my weaknesses. There are a number of lies that I have simply let exist in my life for several years now. If I ever did put up a fight, it wasn't nearly enough.

But I don't need to put up a fight. God will fight for me when I still myself before Him. [Ex. 14:14]

I've decided to start fighting, though. For the first time in this area of my life, I am on the offensive. I'm going to start working on extinguishing the flames that are running wild due to Satan's fiery arrows and my inattentiveness.

Because, guess what! Despite how much I would like to believe otherwise (pridefully, I might add), I am worth something!

In Christ's eyes, I am the most valuable thing He has - I need not ask for clarity in understanding this, just the trust to believe it.

For years, I have told campers and friends that as believers, we are forgiven and, so, we must live like those forgiven - Christ has given us such tremendous freedom if only we would grasp it.

Now, it is my time to take my own advice - to rise up and live as one forgiven.

I am not a slave to my past. Things have happened that are not my fault.

Until I recognize these as truths, I am to repeat them. One is on my hand in black ink. The other at the forefront of my mind.

"I hear a voice calling out. I hear a voice in this wilderness. Where darkness has reigned for so long, ground is being taken." [[Bethany Dillon, "I Hear a Voice"]]

Ground is being taken. Finally. I am being healed. Jehovah Nissi. Amen.

Mood: Exultant Listening to: Bethany Dillon, Bethany Dillon Reading: Communications Law

08 April 2005

What Needs to be Changed: Sleeping Habits

I was up until 4am last night with little purpose (although fellowship is always great). Even though I knew I wouldn't fall asleep when I went back to my room, I should have at least tried. Then, my body could have at least relaxed instead of relaxing before being woken back up again to play cards (I beat Chris - he's bitter) or to do some other thing.

As a result, I slept through both of my morning classes because, when my alarm went off this morning, my body said, "No, you're really not going to move me" (No, I'm not hearing voices).

The fact that I want an answer to a question, that I've been asking for a while now, was pretty obvious last night; it affected my whole mood and made me really irritable (I like being in control - still working on that).

But I know that God is working me into a better state of dependency, which I'm struggling to find because my natural instinct is to figure out everything that I can (and I am unable to do anything in this situation).

And so, I'm tempted to just not care. To crawl up in my bed and shut the world out, to forget I have a lot of work to do. I just can't focus right now, so that effectively keeps me from working.

I'm just tired - mind, body, and heart. Weary of asking questions that I don't yet have answers to and of wanting things that I don't believe I can have (I'm working on taking God out of the box I keep putting Him into).

In the meantime, however, God is still God, and I have to trust that He knows what He's doing - even when I don't feel like it.

Anyway... I'm going to crack open my Bible (a good remedy for anything) and sit at my Savior's feet.

And then, I'm going to go to class... doesn't quite fit, huh? Didn't think so.

Mood: Weary Listening to: Foolish Things, Let's Not Forget the Story
Reading: OT Survey

07 April 2005

Can I go back?

Over Spring Break, I spent a day or so in Southern California with my friends from Fort Collins (who were out there all week) and I really want to go back and spend more time with them on the beach.

Wouldn't you agree? (I played with the coloring on the first picture - couldn't resist!)

Oh well... maybe next year. Laters... :)

Poetry du Jour

"Not in the tumult of the rending storm,
Not in the earthquake or devouring flame;
But in the hush that could all fear transform,
The still, small whisper to the prophet came.

O Soul, keep silence on the mount of God,
Though cares and needs throb around thee like a sea;
From supplications and desires unshod,
Be still, and hear what God shall say to thee.

All fellowship hath interludes of rest,
New strength maturing in each poise of power;
The sweetest Alleluias of the blest
Are silent, for the space of half an hour.

O rest, in utter quietude of soul,
Abandon words, leave prayer and praise awhile;
Let thy whole being hushed in His control,
Learn the full meaning of His voice and smile.

Not as an athlete wrestling for a crown,
Not taking Heaven by violence of will;
But with they Father as a child sit down,
And know the bliss that follows His 'Be still!'"

[[Mary Rowles Jarvis]]

Mood: Contemplative Listening to: Delirious?, Mezzamorphis (UK)
Reading: Cowman, Streams in the Desert

06 April 2005

At the end of the day...

...All I need is still at the feet of Christ. And that's enough. 'Night.

05 April 2005

Fresh from the pages... "Meetings"

Pen, have you met paper?
You knew each other long ago –
When poetry and lyric form ran in unceasing flow.

Voice, have you met melody?
It’s been a while since you played –
You used to run around at night and were beautiful in day.

Tune, have you met harmony?
How interwoven you used to be –
A balancing of pitch and time – a perfect mystery.

Night, have you met the rising sun?
You have had my time and tears –
I’ve wasted words for far too long, stifling worship on prideful ears.

Pride has met humility;
Heart has met its King;
Worship has met these lips;
Keys, these fingertips;
And I can finally sing.

At evensong, in peaceful tones,
My heart has found its freedom.
For it knows when nighttime grows,
The morn will come in hues of rose and leave the night to its own.

Pride has met humility;
Heart has met its King;
Worship has met these lips;
Keys, these fingertips;
And I can finally sing.

©2005 Alyssa Kate Grinstead

Finally Free!

It has been almost a week since I had a free evening... the past few days, I feel like I have just been incredibly isolated from everyone while I've been studying for these two exams (History yesterday, Media Effects today).

Late nights, little fellowship, lots of exhaustion, but I'm finally free of it for tonight and I'm finally free to enjoy the freedom and peace that I was given this weekend.

I made the decision on Saturday to let go of a friendship that was, in all likelihood, a year and a half overdue. The thought has definitely been in my mind a lot, but the events of last week and the temptation to run to him forced me to a decision.

The best part is that it really wasn't even my decision... God made it for me, and I am so incredibly grateful for that because He knows how absolutely stubborn I am and how much I dislike decisions.

And I have such an incredible peace!

So... I have nothing to do right now. I'm listening to clips from FT's new album, which they're releasing next weekend, and it's so incredible [[www.foolishthings.com]]. It has both "Forgive Me" and "The First Lie" on it (both which Ike wrote quite a while ago - "The First Lie" has been known as "Ike's Death Song" for a while, but it's so good). They're coming to Fort Collins next Saturday (the 16th) and it's been so long since I went to a show! I used to go whenever I could get to one, but I haven't seen them play since December and when the Breakfast Club (Spud, Laura, and I) was last together, which was before the hottub exploded, which was before... a lot of stuff. :) I haven't seen the guys since... January or February when they were last here.

But I'm stoked... and I just want to cry for joy! (Not for FT, though I'm stoked for them - for other stuff)

God is so incredibly faithful to ones who are so often unfaithful.

"I hate those who cling to worthless idols; I trust in the LORD. I will be glad and rejoice in Your love, for You saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place." [[Psalm 31:6-8]]

"Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD and delight in His salvation." [[Psalm 35:9]]

"Forgive me when I've come to pray to You -
Just to get it done before I run away from You.
Forgive me when I've merely said the words -
In severed devotion from all of my motion.
Did I forget You were listening?
Could I deceive the One who's given me my heart?"
[["Forgive Me" - Isaac Jorgensen]]

He's listening always. Amen.

Mood: Joyful Listening to: Foolish Things, Let's Not Forget the Story
Reading: Curtis Sittenfeld, Prep

04 April 2005

A beautiful and busy day...

...Is what I will have today. I have an exam in an hour and a half, and I still have to get a blue book. Whoops.

Nah. This is normal, sadly enough. I wait until the last minute to go to the bookstore.

And it's windy outside. I don't like it when it's windy outside.

But, this too, shall pass.

I'm tired, but at peace, and there's is nothing better than feeling like you've accomplished something, no matter how insignificant. If it's a good exhaustion, it can't be beat. :)

Have a wonderful day!

02 April 2005

Sometimes, you just need to cry

This past week has been very humbling and I finally broke tonight.

All week long, I have been putting off my emotions - struggling to feel numb because I couldn't bear the pain anymore. There's too much going on... too many people involved... and my past has a way of creeping up on me that can rip me to pieces with a mere thought.

But at the end of the day, God is still God and I'm still His. And that has to be enough.

I am self-sufficient in His sufficiency alone. He has carried me through this week in rescue - rhoumai. He has drug me from where I was broken, bleeding, cracked, and dry unto Himself. He has drawn me near.

He stripped everyone away tonight. No one I could confide in is here but Him. I don't have my phone because I gave it to Chelsea, knowing I would not be able to trust myself - knowing I would be gone as soon as possible - running to my past instead of to my Comforter in the present.

Images from the life I once lived keep flashing through my mind... and they tell me that I'm not worth it.

Each is a lie - a fiery arrow being cast at my shield of faith. They have yet to pierce me, but I'm still afraid that one day, my shield will fail and I will collapse like the rest.

Perfect love drives out fear. God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind.

This promise is mine!

But how do I grasp it? How do I reach out and take it - to claim it as my own? I doubt the length of my arm.

01 April 2005

Worthwhile - "Because All I See Is Me"

[I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.[Psalm 139:14]]

Because all I see is me, if I were to take a good look at myself, all I would see would be the dirt, the scratches and the scars left behind by various battles, and I would see that I am completely unfinished.

Because all I see is me, I would notice each discoloration, area of weakness, and every imperfection.

And I, as a lump of clay, being fashioned into a pot by the Potter, would complain about it.

Of course, God looks down at me in surprise that I would, in the words of a friend of mine, “mouth off” to my Maker, and yet, He refuses to smash me, no matter how simple it would be to do so.

Instead, He simply smiles and carefully removes the clay where He’s given me a mouth, and begins to refashion it into an ear.

He takes a crimson stain and covers up all of my discolorations, takes the purest water and washes away all the dirt that once was upon me, and holds up a mirror to show that the scratches and scars left behind form the most intricate of patterns.

Slowly, He redistributes some of the clay from my strongest spots to those that are my weakest, strengthening them in a way that I could never accomplish on my own.

Into my newly formed ear, He states firmly and clearly:

“Because all I see is you, My child, where you see ugly scars, I see marks of character, set just where they make the best design; where you see discolorations, I see only the color of My Son’s blood, spilt so that you would not have to know life apart from Me. I see nothing in you that I cannot use.”

And, then, I am placed into the fire in order to make me firm enough to use.

It is then that I realize I never did anything – that all I ever could do was “do the job of clay ” and rest in the Potter’s hands.

And it is then, I realize, that He always finishes.

[[originally published at saLt on 01.31.2004]]

Reminder to Self: "The Original Midnight Email"

Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2003 23:18:51 –0700 (PDT)
From: Kate
Subject: Midnight…
To: Laura

I just finished having my devotional time, and I was writing in my prayer journal, reflecting on the day's events and telling God how grateful I am that He has faithful and capable hands to control situations because He knows that I could never handle any of this alone, when it struck me:

He is God.

And, for whatever reason, simply reacknowledging that simple truth brought me an unmistakable peace, and yet, it was an additional peace because He has already brought me immense peace from my earlier encounter with my friend this summer; He has continued that peace.

With Him, nothing is unbeatable, whether it be depression, sin, or even homesickness...

...We are not unbeatable, and neither are our circumstances.

If God is for us, who can be against us and stand the slightest chance of victory? No one.

Sometimes, it takes time; sometimes, it takes forcing ourselves to get closer to Him, despite the pain or lack of desire to do so...

... But He always reveals Himself to His children, and He promises to fulfill the work He has begun in us, whatever that specific design might be.

I'm so grateful for that.

He loves me enough that, not only did He feel that my life was worth His, but that He pays unfluctuating attention to every detail of my life, and He cares enough that He wants to be my past, present, and future...

...Like in The Great Divorce, He desires me to look back and remember the sin as less bitter because He made it so by removing death's sting, and He desires me to see my current surroundings as His gift to me and my gift to Him, and He wants the only known thing about tomorrow, if it is to come, to be that He will see me through.

He promises to see us through to completion in His eternal throne room when we finally see Him in all of His radiant and divine glory. He is forever faithful.

He is God. Hallelujah.

[[originally published at saLt on 01.31.2004]]
[[This is a copy of an email originally sent to Laura by Kate in August 2003; it has not been altered.]]

The reason I don't watch scary movies...

...is that they scare me. :)

The mere mention of some creep looking in a window or people showing up randomly is enough to have me looking over my shoulder every few seconds to catch an imaginary person. I have thoroughly checked the small room in which I live and my roommate is here, so I know nothing will happen and no one will get in, but I'm still terrified.

Greater is He that is in me than he who is in the world... there's a promise to cling to, but it's hard sometimes in the dark. All I really want to do right now is turn on the light and sleep like that.

Where to begin? How 'bout I start with yesterday and today and work backward? That sounds good.

Yesterday was a hard day. There are just so many things going on here that have begun to take a toll on me emotionally, dragging up past experiences and recognizing fears... plus I've been in quite a bit of physical pain due to the accident, and that doesn't help anything.

Last night, everything just built to a fever pitch... and my back/shoulder was killing me. It got to the point where most of the left side of my upper body was immobile. My hand lost circulation a few times and turned purple, and then, it swelled some. Anyway, I spent a lot of the night on Nick's bed icing my back and trying to keep up with the conversation around me.

But I effectively scared myself and a few of my good friends last night because I thought about doing something I haven't thought about doing in a really long time: running to the one person who has hurt me the most.

The very thought stopped me in my tracks. I thought I was over this. I thought I could handle everything collapsing around me without having the urge to go to him this time. I was wrong.

So, God definitely knew what He was doing when He took away my car for the week, or I would have been gone. To further restrain myself, I went as far as giving Chels my phone and unplugging my Internet last night so I couldn't contact him. Despite the fact that I don't want anything from him, it is still so easy to slip into these things because they are both comfortable and convenient.

So... yeah, last night was really hard and very eye-opening. And totally unexpected.

But God kept me. He provided good friends who know enough to protect me from myself, and I praise God for that.

This morning, I woke up in a great deal of pain, but I got up and went to my first two classes before finding someone to cover my third class. The physical pain was so great that I've become somewhat numb to my emotional pain, which isn't the best thing, but it's okay for now - I need a break, to be sure.

The rest of the day was good, though. I finished a book for my history class... I took a long nap... I hung out and talked with good friends that I haven't seen in a while... I hung out with my roommate (which was really cool because we never see each other). And then, I heard stories about creepy people. :)

Anyway, it is now time for me to turn in. All in all, it's been a good day.

May God satisfy me in the morning with His unfailing love... Amen.

Mood: Peaceful Listening to: Jeremy Camp, Restored
Reading: Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost