A woman with no voice

I love singing. I have played piano for well over twelve years and even still, singing is my favorite by far. The voice can sound so heavenly can’t it?

Last Wednesday afternoon I went to an ENT, he stuck an ungodly long contraption UP MY NOSE and down into my throat to get a look at my “voice box,” and whatdya know, I have vocal nodules. To use his exact words, “Very prominent” vocal nodules. Crap.

So, I’ve been put on vocal rest for however long it takes to stop sounding like an old man who’s smoked his whole life. Okay, it’s not really THAT bad, but apparently this could take around three months.

Vocal rest. Do you know what that means? No, I don’t have to cease talking for three months, although I almost wish they would make me! But seriously, as if that would even be possible for a gal like myself. I am CONSTANTLY talking. I talk so much my mouth hurts. I talk so much I give myself vocal nodules. The ENT said the damage was most likely done by something I do with my voice every day, and most likely nothing I’ve done with singing. I guess I started getting lazy with my pitch. Hrrmph.

There are three things I’ve learned since Wednesday.

1) I sing ALL THE TIME.
Like seriously, do you have any idea how difficult it is to be consciously aware of when you’re singing. I’ll be halfway through a song before I realize I have been singing since the beginning! It’s a lot more difficult to control than you realize.

2) Funny voices may be fun, but not good on your vocal chords.
I am a full time nanny. One year olds are tough crowds to entertain, but boy do they love my funny voices. Needless to say, we’ve all been suffering.

3) There are more ways to worship than one.
Maybe God didn’t give me nodules, but I’d be willing to bet He allowed them to happen, and for the simple fact that I needed to come to the realization that, while singing is the most impactful worship act for me it’s not always the most impactful for Him. What is the purpose for worship except doing what is most pleasing to Him.

I’m not saying God doesn’t appreciate worship in the form of music and singing, but there are somewhere between ten and twenty trillion other ways to worship our great and mighty God (Have I ever mentioned to you before how much I am prone to exaggeration?). I’ve realized that sometimes God allows us to go through trials like these so that we can learn new tools for His glory. I need to stop complaining about the trial and start learning something from it for crying out loud! So I guess this is my lot in life for the next several weeks. Learning to glorify my God without the use of my vocal chords.

Sincerely,

A woman with no voice.

 

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Snow White…

Wow! My last post was on October 29th. However, you wouldn’t know that because it’s a private post… I reread it just now and am actually trying to figure out why I made it private in the first place. Maybe I’ll make it public soon.

It is a beautiful New Year’s Eve day. I haven’t paid much attention to the weather lately but as I got a couple hours into work today, the snow started falling and the world quickly turned white.

The snow is coming straight down from the heavens, slow and steady, and is falling so gracefully. This may be a stretch, but it is reminding me of the verse in Psalm 51 that says, “Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow” (Ps 51:7).

I am actually going through a phenomenal devotional that a dear friend is lending to me titled Whiter than Snow. It is a book based on the entire chapter of Psalm 51, by Paul David Tripp. It is absolutely perfect for this season in my life. 

Lately, I’ve been struggling with the need for grace (don’t we all!) The older I get the more screw ups I make and the more grace I need. The problem is sometimes I forget that I even need it. 

I’ve been so stressed out with family drama this week. So concerned with how I look to other people. I forget that even though people often don’t show grace where grace is needed, the only one I need to readily receive grace from is Christ. His opinion of me is all that I should be concerned about.

Right before this drama started playing out, I made some really poor choices, and made another poor choice on top of that to share that information with someone who only used it as leverage against me. So when I felt the need to voice my concern about this person, they decided to use the information against me. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love this person dearly. But after a long time of walking on eggshells, attempting to avoid them seeing me at my worse or else they’d use it against me, I got weak and tired and let them in at the worst possible time.

For a couple of days, the fact that I had been such a poor example really stressed me out. I knew (and still know) that this person was going to take this image of me and freeze-frame it for the rest of my life. “Hey Amelia, remember that time when you…” is going to be a phrase I will hear a lot from this point forward I’m afraid. 

However, I started this devotional and it has already taught me that while this person may hold on to my sins for the rest of my life, Christ died on the cross for my forgiveness and He gives me grace and mercy to move forward, and that’s the only thing that counts. His opinion is the only one that truly matters in the grand scheme of things. It doesn’t mean that at times this won’t be hurtful. It just means that I will have the strength to push through because I know my God has forgiven me my failures, made me whiter than snow, and I’m not concerned with anyone else’s opinion on the matter. They can’t get me into Heaven. Christ can.

Happy New Year everyone!

Tis the season…

No, this isn’t a “Christmas in June” post. This is just a short little ramble that is too long for a tweet and not facebook worthy. 

Can I just start by stating one thing: LIFE IS ROUGH. 

This earthly existence never ceases to amaze this fleshy being.

As you’ve probably noted (maybe months ago), I haven’t been on in forever. Life happens, and when it does… look out world (and wordpress), it’s not makin’ room for anything else! I have every intention (whatever that’s worth) to pick up my series of AP’s journals, but this summer has demanded my undivided attention and I feel I must fall prey to it’s every whim and fancy. Hmm… maybe this post won’t be as short as I intended it to be. 

I just need to get a few rambling thoughts out of this brain of mine or I might explode from the contents that are under pressure up there. 

LIFE TAKES COURAGE. We all go through seasons in life, as I’ve just recently been reminded of the fact that there is “a time for everything” (Eccl 3:1). We go through hurt, pain, trials, and as I’ve learned this very evening in my Beth Moore study on James (Video session #3), we also go through anguish. What I have been hit over the head with over the past week is that life takes courage.

It takes courage to get up in the morning and go through a whole day of funeral services for a dearly loved family member.

It takes courage to be the one to speak up in Bible study and admit to having an addiction when so many of us try to sweep it under the rug.

It takes courage to stand up for what you think is right when it comes to raising your children.

It takes courage to make a life decision when there are so many different outcomes it makes your head spin. 

It takes courage to admit that maybe, just maybe, you aren’t content and don’t know if you will be. 

You know what? It even takes courage to hurt in the first place. Heaven forbid we show our true feelings in this society! Half the time society tries to justify each and every action to avoid a very natural feeling… hurt, pain, anguish. 

I’ve been watching some of my closest friends go through the hardest things they ever have in their lives. Heck! I have been going through some of the hardest things I ever have in my life. 

All I can do is pray.

Lord, in the words of Beth Moore’s daughter, You know it’s scary being us. Give us wisdom where wisdom is needed, strength where strength is needed, and God give us courage for the road ahead of us. You will turn our wailing into glorious dancing for Your glory and we will praise You for it. Amen.

A natural born quitter…

I am a natural born quitter. We all are aren’t we? Adam and Eve sinned in the garden… why? They wanted to quit. More specifically they quit obeying God. They made the choice to QUIT. Wow. Isn’t that one of the hardest realities to face? The fact that ultimately, the choice was ours and we CHOSE to quit. Nobody made us do it, we chose it, and now we will have to live with the consequences of that choice.

I’m not even implying that all choices are bad, I’m just saying good, bad, happy, sad, whatever choice we make, there will always be consequences that follow, whether negative or positive outcomes.

I truly believe that our mind is the control center of our actions. Some of you are saying, “well, duh!” But I am not speaking of the primary motor cortex and all that schnazzy talk. I am referring to the way we view ourselves. The Psychology of it. If I think I’m going to quit something, I will. Simple as that. Kind of like a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Cogito ergo sum.

I think René Descartes was onto something when he said “I think, therefore I am.”

Let’s back it up with some scripture.

As he thinks in his heart, so is he.

~Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV)

AP asks a very serious question in her journal right after she quotes this verse. She simply asks:

What are you thinking about?

What do you allow yourself to dwell on?

What we think about determines the kind of person we are going to be and the outlook on life that we are going to have. I don’t know about you, but I am struggling. I am struggling to have a peaceful mind. Everything in our world today is so fast-paced and stressful, on some days I can hardly think straight for all the things I need to accomplish before my head hits the pillow at night.

Maybe I’m speaking to myself.

If we are going to allow ourselves to think on the things that stress us out, there is going to be no room for peace. And what are the consequences of that choice? Unhappiness.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

~Romans 8:5

What does the Spirit desire? We find that out when we look at the fruit of the Spirit. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. These, dear one, are what we are promised when we have our minds set on what the Spirit desires. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- If anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.

~Philippians 4:8

Well said Paul.

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

~Romans 8:6-8

The mind is what God is after and the mind is also what Satan is after. Whomever I allow to control my thinking, will ultimately control me.

Brothers and Sisters, we have a choice in front of us, and sometimes we think that this choice is made in our hearts at one specific point in time. But know that this choice involves a whole stream of continuous choices. We will weekly, daily, and hourly have to make choices regarding our thoughts. I am challenging myself, as well as anyone who is reading this, to make the choice to guard your mind and control your thoughts. Allow the things of God to flood your mind. I’m willing to bet that our outlook on life will get significantly more positive.

I’m praying for you!

Amelia

Loving people through hard times…

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

~1 Corinthians 13:2

Growing up, I always had a hard time imagining Aunt Pearline as having to go through anything truly trying in her life. She had never been married, so she didn’t know what it was like to argue with a spouse. She had never had children, so she didn’t know what it was like to lose her temper with them. Yet now that I’m grown, I fully recognize that she was no Jesus. AP dealt with the same temptations, growth, trials, and tribulations that we all go through. The Bible says that there is “nothing new under the sun” (Eccl 1:9). There is no way my childhood understanding of AP was correct. She went through things just the same as we all do, she was not exempt.

One of AP’s very first entries talks about loving people through hard times. People who are hurting, confused, aching, and needing comfort. How do we love those people that are going through heartache that we simply can’t fathom, or can’t even begin to understand. I’m not even simply talking about those with horrific circumstances in their life, I am also referring to those that we would like to think actually make up their troubles simply for a past-time or something to do.

How do we love those people? In our own human nature it would be easy for us to comfort them by simply telling them what they want to hear. We could simply agree with them or “just listen” and justify our lack of credible advice by allowing them to unload on us and arguing that is what is best for them. But is it?

If we aren’t giving them truth, if we can’t be honest with them and use the Bible (TRUTH) as our guide, we are offering them nothing but a useless pile of words that will quench their thirst for a time that is very short. AP writes, “the only thing God said He would use to make you free is truth.” I believe we will never fail in offering the right encouragement to someone if we simply encourage them to do what the Bible says. There is no greater truth than God’s word. To some that may sound like a cop-out when dealing with great hurt, but isn’t it a greater cop-out to simply say nothing at all, and at times when we are at a loss for words to say, how much greater impact will we make if we speak the truth. There is power in it. 

True selected words…

Hello my blog readers! (or lack thereof)

I am doing something new. For several weeks I’ve been contemplating a way to accomplish two goals: Make my blog more interesting, and somehow wind up a little more dedicated to my blog than I have been since, well… forever. I’ve been toying with several ideas as to how I am to accomplish this goal and at last I have come up with the perfect solution, and here is the background information for it:

My mother, Carey, is the daughter of a man who was named Donald (my grandfather). He had an Aunt and her name was Pearline Pauline Aeschlimann. Pearline never married and never had children and there was no mistaking the faith this woman possessed. My grandfather as well as my great-great Aunt Pearline both held themselves to a standard that is almost unheard of in today’s society. They both believed in Faith Healing. The kind of Faith Healing that a man named Hobart Freeman actively promoted. Both my Grandfather as well as Aunt Pearline were avid followers of this man and his Faith Healing movement, many times to a fault. They believed that God would heal their illnesses and diseases if only their faith was great enough to allow it. There is still hurt over this topic in my family, so I don’t believe I will go into much more detail than that.

With the recent passing of Aunt Pearline, whom my family had cared for for a number of years and even took in our home for three of those, my mother and I removed her meager box of belongings which held a radio, some old pictures, and a plethora of notebooks which in many cases were homemade and falling apart. Our goal was to find an excerpt from her notes to put into the program for her funeral. When we first started filtering through her notes we realized very quickly that this was going to be a tough call to make, for her notes were very detailed and there was a lot of them! Even throughout all of this though, Aunt Pearline’s notes deeply touched my heart, her faith was so strong and her love for her God was so deep.

My goal for my blog for the next… however long, is to use her notebook as an inspiration for the conversation on my blog. I’m honestly doing it more for myself than for anyone else. Who knows, I may gain another reader or two to match the two I already have (you know who you are!).

I will leave you now with a quote from an article that Aunt Pearline (AP) had clipped at some point in time and taped to the inside of her notebook.

True selected words will sink into minds to remain forever; but if they are dissipated in rambling conversation, they are likely to be of no profit.

I sincerely pray that my posts are not just rambling conversation and hold meaning in them. While there are no dates of her entries, I believe a lot of the truths she writes in this book are timeless and will offer invaluable insight for those of us who read them.

God bless you!
Amelia

Tagged

Love and Other Disasters

Throughout the majority of my female years my emotional state and self-worth has been driven very strongly by the presence of a male companion. Whether just a friend or someone closer than that, I’ve struggled especially within the last three to four years as this fear-driven need for a relationship has progressively gotten worse.

For too long I’ve allowed this neediness to cloud my judgment when it comes to relationships and various choices in my life. This Sunday I realized that this way of thinking has gone too far out of hand and needs to end.

I have decided something… I have been in far too many relationships. I wish I could be like the many girls I know who can say they have only dated one person in their life. I wouldn’t even begin to know what that even looks like. I came to the realization that the way I did relationships was so destructive. For the most part I’ve dated guys who never really matched up with my personality. Not all of them, but most. They didn’t appreciate me for who I was. A lot of them still don’t, some I believe have come to realize this now, and in some ways I believe they regret not having known this before. With each relationship I was in I took some supposed “truth” about myself away. Whether it was that I am “controlling” or “too needy” (which isn’t far from the truth seeing as how these relationships were unhealthy to being with), “not Christian enough,” or my favorite “manipulative,” which is a completely unfair statement to make. These all turned into self-fulfilling prophesies in my life. I heard it, it hurt me, and I believed it about myself. I think we can all tend to do this in ANY relationship, and I’m not fishing for sympathy, I’m not being naïve, and I realize that nobody is perfect and that “prince charming” in real life looks different than in fairytales, I’m just writing a blog post really. As you can see these were all very unhealthy relationships and while I do have several regrets, NOT being in these relationships is definitely not a regret of mine.

I’ve been at Indiana Wesleyan University since the beginning of January and it has taken me up until this past Sunday to finally find a church here in Marion. I haven’t been at school enough weekends to really devote myself to searching, but a friend of mine invited me to her church and it was exactly what I have been praying/looking for. It was at this church that I realized I have been making room in my heart for things that are not of God (i.e. hatred, etc.) and in doing so I have been giving Satan ground to work in my life. The worst part of it all is this: I have been allowing this to happen. What is wrong with me?! I’ve been letting negativity, hatred, jealousy, and all sorts of bad behaviors and thoughts into my heart that should be completely reserved for God’s love.

Another process I underwent was realizing that if I truly release the need for the approval of a man in my life, God was going to bring me so much joy. This I simply could not comprehend up until now. In all reality I knew that this was true, but knowing something and believing something are two very different things. I couldn’t bring myself around to believing that I would truly be content with myself and there was no way I was going to believe that I could actually be happy that way. God is most likely laughing at me right now, humankind is so fickle and I am not exempt in any way.

It wasn’t until I gave up on my need for a man in my life, and the need to feel loved/wanted by a member of the opposite sex, that I have found contentment and happiness. All my fears of being alone and not having someone by my side for emotional support were completely unfounded. I felt like the ending result in breaking off incredibly unhealthy relationships in my life would lead to disaster and depression, in some cases it did, yet that was always due to my eagerness to replace my hurt with a new person and again falling in the trap of reliance on man. Lo and behold, the exact opposite of disaster and depression is ringing true in my life. I’ve never been so happy and content in my whole life. I am content to be going to an amazing Christian University, following my dreams and goals, and building relationships that will last a lifetime. God is good and that is good enough for me.

p.s. PLEASE don’t take this post as me saying that I’m going to date Jesus and never be in another relationship ever again. I still want to get married, I still want to date, I just don’t want to become emotionally dependent on it. My next relationship is going to look very different than the ones I’ve been in in the past. 

Seemed like a good idea at the time

I’ve been listening to OKgo and the song “A Good Idea at the Time” really got me thinking of all the times in my life I could look back and say “well, it seemed like a good idea at the time” lol those moments in my life are among the embarrassing and comical experiences I’ve amazingly lived through. I thought it would be a good therapy of sorts to share a couple of these with you. I once heard a friend say it was good for us to be embarrassed at least once a day… well, here it is. I’m going to tell on myself (which is HUGE for me. I H-A-T-E being embarrassed)

 

1) How about we start with the most embarrassing moment I can recall as a very young child. I was probably about four years old at the time. My aunt’s now husband, but boyfriend/fiancé at the time, was over at my grandparents house and I was sitting in his lap. I remember starting to squirm around and be silly, then I proceeded to push on his lap (below the belt) and say “hey! What’s this??” (very Junie B. Jones style if you ask me) to which my now uncle turned a bright red and then I suddenly remembered… oh ya, boys are made differently than girls. Woops. Sorry Uncle Sean. My bad. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

 

2) This story is not nearly as comical as the last story, but I remember it well. I was in first grade (back in the day before I was homeschooled) and my class was sitting on the gym floor for music time, or something along those lines. I started tracing the stripes on what I thought was the tennis shoe that was on my own foot when the kid next to me turned and gave me a dirty look, which only led me to realize that I had been tracing the stripes on a shoe that was not mine at all. I remember trying to pass it off by saying “oh… umm, i really like your shoes!” He wasn’t buyin’ it. Heh, seemed like a good idea at the time.

 

3) When I was ten years old my family started attending the church which I now call my home. I started out in the Friends class (which was meant for girls pre-Jr high). A few weeks in that class and I realized I wanted so badly to be in the Jr high group on Wednesday nights instead, thankfully our awesome youth pastor let me join a little early 🙂
One week we had something special going on, so the church rented inflatables for the youth group to joust on. Before service the homeschoolers arrived early to mess around on the inflatables. We all jumped around like a bunch of idiots for a while, then I decided I needed to go to the ladies room. When I came back for more fun times on the inflatables I backed myself up in the farthest corner of the gym in our youth building and prepared for take off. I was so awkward at that age. I looked like some sort of deranged bird when I tried to run. I’d stick my arms out behind me and take off low to the ground. I cringe just thinking about it. I started my awkward run and headed towards the inflatable. “COWABUNGA!!!” I yelled as I hurdled towards it, not even taking into account that there was absolutely nobody on the inflatable at all. Everyone stared speechless as I jumped hands and knees flat onto the inflatable which was considerably less inflated. *SMACK* My knees hit the gym floor so hard it’s a wonder they didn’t break. Everyone was quiet for a minute before the laughter started. People were asking me between broken giggles “are you okay?” yeah, i was fine, the only thing that was hurt was my pride. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

 

4) Another incident from my youth group days happened not too long after the inflatable experience. I liked to help out at our youth group cafe during the midweek service. We served the important things… you know, tic tacs, skittles, sodas. Junk, really. Mainly I volunteered so I would seem like I was part of the “in” crowd. One week I was in the kitchen and decided it would be a good idea to jump up on the counter and sit instead of standing around. All the cool kids were doing it. So I backed my rear end up, placed my hands on the counter, and proceeded to jump. *RIIIIIIIIP* went my lovely, new, and incredibly stylish tan corduroy pants. The pocket had caught on a drawer handle and ripped almost completely off revealing my not-so-stylish bright GREEN panties. Luckily in those days our house was only a hop skip and a jump across the highway. Someone gave me a ride home to change pants and I was good to go.

 

 

Those are just a few of the embarrassing moments I’ve managed to live through. Maybe I’ll think of some more juicy, yet comical, embarrassing stories to share. These will do just fine for now. I hope i gave you a good laugh. Feel free to share some of your thoughts or even some embarrassing stories of your own in the comments below. Have a great week everyone!

-Amelia ❤

Taking the easy way out…

Dear friends,
I am certain that this post will get many unhappy comments and reviews, but i feel so strongly about this topic that i felt it necessary for me to post. Something that has been troubling me a lot lately has been people i know who buy into the “get rich quick” schemes that are ever so popular in our country right now. Just to be clear from the get-go, i am not by any means saying that it is sinful to sell Lia Sophia, or Mary Kay, are even sinful to be selling Amway (although i am NOT a fan of that particular one in the least). I am, however, saying that i believe as Christians and followers of Christ, we need to have our guard up and be aware of the enemies schemes. Satan wants nothing more than to see something get in the way of our relationships with our friends, our families, and most importantly, God. It is very upsetting to me when i see good Godly people falling for these traps in hopes to find an easy way out of the workforce and land face forward into a pile of cash. So, instead of trashing the pyramid schemes and get rich quick schemes, i just want to throw out some opinions on how these endeavors can quickly turn into pitfalls if we, as Christ followers, are not careful.

My first point is this, there is no quick and easy way to get the things we want (i.e. money, stuff, etc.). Everything worth having takes work, relationships, money, absolutely everything. Yes, there are exceptions to that, but for the most part it almost never happens unless we work at it. Romans chapter five talks about how perseverance builds character. Everything worth having in life WILL take hard work. Think of it this way, say i was 40lbs overweight, i have this wedding i want to go to in June and man am i looking forward to it! Lets say i go to the store to get a bunch of diet friendly foods to kick-start my diet and buy a brand new exercise outfit just for the occasion! When i reach the checkout lane and stand in line to wait, i see this health magazine… on the cover it reads “LOSE 25lbs IN JUST ONE WEEK!” “WOW!” i think to myself, “wouldn’t it be nice to just drop 25lbs in a mere week?! That would take away over half the work i have to do!” so i put all my food back on the shelves, leave the exercise outfit with the cashier and run home, just to find out that i need to make three easy payments of $19.95 + S&H for these worthless placebo pills that contain very high amounts of caffeine and by the end of week one, i’ve gained five more pounds. Apply the same concept to these pyramid schemes and BINGO you’ve got your answer. There is no way on earth you can lose 25lbs in one week (unless you are severly ill), and in the same way there is no way to become a millionaire selling these products. YES, i agree, sometimes it works out very well for people to have a little extra income, and certainly there are those that enjoy the process! (namely the ones at the top of the food chain) Again, i am not in any way shape or form saying that it is not right for everyone, what i’m saying is that we MUST, absolutely MUST be cautious when doing this.

If you are still asking me “why?” that brings me to my second point, which is, regardless of the fact that participating in these business ventures isn’t specifically tied to Christianity or Religion at all, it is so apparent that there are those who are being completely and entirely deceived! I am being completely serious when i say that there are those who are outright being deceived into making poor life choices as a direct result of this. People are making poor relationship choices by getting into friendships with people whose only desire is to make money off of them and their involvement in the company, and most importantly there are those who are, as a result, treating their own friends in a VERY ungodly fashion. When this company is telling you to calmly and coolly approach your friends MULTIPLE times in an attempt to pull them under you in this business so that you can make money off of them, that is WRONG. No, i am not talking about when you first start out you may send a quick email to others stating that you are starting this and would like to just give a coverall to everyone to see if they are interested. That is not a problem, there is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong, is when the only time you talk to the people you have formed relationships with is to sell them something, or you strike up a completely innocent conversation with them pretending to be oh so interested in what they’re saying only to turn it around in a heartbeat to your new “endeavor.” That, my friends, is wrong. It is deceptive, unkind, and flat out annoying. To what length will we go in order to get a little farther in the world, ruining relationship after relationship, burning bridge after bridge with others who simply want to be friends and fellowship with us, and yet we can not keep ourselves from hounding people about our “golden ticket” out of the financial stress we find ourselves in.