30 July 2010

prepositions and connections

Prepositions. In my Italian class, we're working on prepositions, those silly little 2 or 3-letter words that connect verbs and nouns to form sentences. Now, for a native English speaker, prepositions aren't that difficult...in English. But in Italian, they are probably one of the most difficult parts of the language! Yet, without prepositions, all you have are conjugated verbs and nouns and subjects in a combination that makes no sense. I mean, think about it, if I stopped using prepositions in Italian, it would be like speaking gibberish. Take the following sentence.

Without prepositions:
I'm going Denver.

If I didn't know what I was trying to say, I would be confused. Am I saying that I'm going WITH Denver (Denver being the name of a person)? Or is it that I'm going FROM Denver (to another location)? Or even I'm going TO Denver?

I was thinking today in class that prepositions are kinda like parts of our relationship with God. Just as prepositions connect verbs, nouns and other parts of speech to form sentences, prayer, reading the Bible, and spending time with God connect us to God. Let's see if I can explain this better.

If I want a relationship with God but I don't ever spend time getting to know Him, through prayer and studying the Bible, then I would be like a group of verbs and nouns without prepositions. The relationship would be nonexistent. Just as prepositions connect verbs and nouns into sentences, spending time getting to know God connects us to God.

So what language are you speaking? Are you speaking with prepositions or without? Are you connected to God? My hope is that if you aren't connected, if you're like verbs and nouns grouped together; my hope is that you will want to become a whole and complete sentence, that you will want a relationship with God.

May you find the prepositions to connect you with the God who can transform you into a whole and beautiful sentence.

22 July 2010

dreams and my savior

In my Italian class, we have to write one paper every week with the theme of the paper focusing on the vocab and grammar that we learned the past week. So far, they haven't been that difficult. Easy topics like, describing my relationship with a friend, or telling how a friend and I met. Quelli temi sono facili! (Those topics are easy!) 

However, this week's theme is the future so of course the topic for the paper is my dreams. (Not the sleeping type dreams either, more like the hopes and desires type of dreams.) The problem with this topic, I don't know what my hopes and dreams are anymore. In high school, if you had asked me what I wanted to do or what my dreams were, I knew; I had a plan. Sure, I didn't have all the details worked out but I had a general outline of what I wanted my future to look like. And then my senior year happened. Everything that I had thought I wanted, I discovered, in a matter of a few weeks, I didn't want anymore. In a few seconds, I had gone from knowing exactly what I wanted to not having a clue about the future. At the time, I remember feeling like I had just fallen overboard right smack dab in the center of the Pacific Ocean. I imagine it looking something like this: 

You open your eyes, slightly confused for a few seconds at where you are and why you woke up. And then you remember. You're on a the sundeck of the cruise-ship M.Y.L.I.P.O, somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. "Aaaa, life is good," you think happily and start to drift off back to dreamland. Suddenly, there's a piercing scream and then the splash of something or somebody hitting the water! You quickly jump up, race to the side of the ship and look down trying to find the source of the disturbance. Oh, there! You found it, whatever it is.
"Quick, help!" you shout, and hurriedly look around, searching for somebody that could help you. There are a handful of other people on the deck with you but each of them is completely absorbed in their activities, that nobody hears your shout. You whip back around to the rail, and scan the water, searching again.
There. This time, you get a better look and your eyes widen in recognition. Its one of the girls that was on the ship with you! You squint against the glare of the sun on the water and notice that she doesn't have a life-jacket on. At that very instant, you realize from the way she is flailing about that she has no clue how to swim; she's trying to stay afloat but its like there's an anchor attached to that is dragging her down. 
"Help!" you yell again and again. Surely there must be somebody on this ship that will come out of their self-absorbed state and hear you. 
Quickly, you grab a pair of binoculars lying on a chair close by and direct your eyes out onto the water, this time to her face. Suddenly, she looks directly at you and you gasp, you can see the panic and hopelessness in her eyes. She knows that she is going to drown.

I think at points in our life, we can all feel like the girl in the water; utterly hopeless in the outcome of our situation. So why, why do I write about this? I honestly have no idea. 

Lately I have been struggling with surrendering everything, including my hopes and dreams and aspirations, to God. It's a daily challenge for me, giving them to Him and then like a toddler, grabbing them back and crying "mine!" at Him. When somebody asks me what my dreams and aspirations are, how do I respond? Do I tell them all of my dreams even though I say that I have given them to God? Or do I tell them that my desire is to do what my God asks me to do; that my hope, my feelings of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen, is God; that the thing I want most in life is to follow, with total abandon, the One who saved me.
You're crying now, tears coursing down your cheeks and onto your shirt. 
"Why won't somebody come help?!" you scream silently in your head, angry at every other person on the ship. "If nobody will listen to me, I'll go make them listen to me," you say angrily and run to the nearest person and shake them forcefully, sure that they will realize the urgency of the situation.
Its only been a couple minutes but it feels like hours. After trying the people on this side of the deck, you stumble back to the railing, gasping for air as your eyes quickly sweep the water and stops on the girl's floundering form. She's tiring, you can see clearly how her arms and legs are moving slower and slower. "Come on," you whisper, "You can do it. Don't give up."
What was that? Your eyes pop open. You must be seeing things!
You rub your fists against your eyes and look again at the girl. There is someone else in the water with her! 
"Where did he come from?" you puzzle. 
You glance around the sundeck, hoping to find someone to come make sure you're not seeing things. Just as all the other times you looked for someone that isn't absorbed in themselves, nobody hears you. You turn back to the ocean and scan for the girl. 
The man has maneuvered the girl onto his back piggyback style, her hands clasped tightly around his neck, and is swimming with strong, quick strokes towards a small inflatable kayak about a little ways away. Your legs suddenly become like cooked spaghetti and you crumble to the deck, your hands still gripping the railing. Your tears have turned from tears of grief to tears of relief. You want to make sure that the girl and the man made it to the kayak but you when you try to turn your eyes on the water, you can't see through all of your tears.
Eventually, your crying gradually calms down enough so that when you wipe your eyes, you can see. You press your face against the rails, squinting against the glare on the water, and scan for the girl and the man. "They couldn't have gone that far, could they," you wonder. 
Just as you're about to give up on ever finding them, you see something in the distance that could be them. Once more, you bring the binoculars to your eyes, focusing on the speck you had found. Even with the binoculars, you couldn't make out much. The one thing you can tell is that it is the girl and the man. You smile widely for you just witnessed a rescue like none other. You turn from the railing and wander back to the lounge chair you had been sitting in before the rescue. Still thinking about all that happened, you sink down onto the chair and lean back to look up at the clear blue sky. You still aren't sure of everything that happened but there is one thing you are a hundred percent positive on. 
The man that rescued her from drowning, he is, without a doubt, her Savior.

 "Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave."   
               ~ Psalm 107:19-20