Oh, Suzannah

I don’t remember a lot about high school.  I didn’t like school and I liked being in public school even less.  However there are moments and days that I do recall with fondness.  One such day, which began like any other, my life would be changed forever.

I had switched over to public school from parochial school in 8th grade, taking Algebra a second time because it was the highest math offered in junior high.  It was fine with me, because it was an easy A.  Geometry my Freshman year was a breeze.  Now a sophomore, Algebra II was difficult for me.  One of the youngest in the class, I was also pretty shy, so I sat in the back and mostly paid attention.

One day, a girl I had never seen walked into the classroom.  She had stringy red hair and jelly shoes on her feet.  I giggled.  What kind of person wears jelly shoes?  (I mean, besides the toddler kind.)  Who was this weirdo?

Turns out she was a transfer student.  Her name was Suzannah Dove.  She was from San Diego, California, and I just knew her parents had to be hippies.  She had freckles on her porcelain skin, an easy demeanor and kind smile.  She was assigned to sit in the empty desk to my left, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Throughout that school year, we chatted, we studied together, we figured out how to pass notes to each other in our graphing calculators.  (So I guess you could say weI invented texting. You’re welcome.)

Suzannah was like the butter to my toast – we were so different, and she was everything I wasn’t, but together we were better.  I had never known a friendship that was so effortless, honest and fun.  The things I loved about her then are still qualities I admire in her now.  Twenty years later, we are still best friends.  Both moms and now living on opposite sides of the country, our lives have changed drastically, but our bond remains intact.  We have weathered our share of storms and been up on peaks and down in valleys together, and I am so proud to call her my best friend.

Most of our conversations happen on Skype now, but they are still as effortless as the day we met.  Suzannah (whose mom is totally a hippie) is sweet and honest, and she still laughs at my jokes.  I still ask her advice about fashion (are jelly shoes in again?) and dealing with my dad, and I have no doubt that we will be friends for the rest of our lives and after.

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August and Anger

Reading this (link below) explanation by Christ August about his song “7×70” was really powerful for me.  I also grew up in what you might call a ‘broken’ home. But that’s not why I needed to read this today. The song and the article are relevant to some situations that are lingering over our heads like storm clouds.  Here’s what I know: It’s important not to hold on to anger.  It is easier to hold on to it than to let it go, but I have got to learn to let go.  It’s better for my heart, my health, and my quality of life.

The part of the article that struck me between the eyes is “Satan USES the bitterness we build up in our hearts.” I have experienced this and know it to be true. Once you are angry, then you’re open to saying unkind things, retaliation, ruining relationships sometimes. So don’t let the bitterness fester. {Ephesians 4:26 and James 1:19 immediately come to mind.} Again, this is easy in theory but difficult in practice.  When I am wounded, it’s usually deep and something I require apologies and validation in order to overcome.

This morning I was feeling mad and hurt, after an incident with a friend last night.  So I looked at the “Bible Emergency Numbers” paper I have taped on my vision board.  Sure enough, there’s one for “when people seem unkind”. It’s John 15.  I turned to that verse, and read about Jesus saying he is the vine, we are the branches. Apart from him we can bear no fruit. At first I was like, “what does this have to do with people who are mean or hurtful?” I like these verses just fine, I’ve heard them before, but what does this mean?

Then, when I had some quiet time, I thought about it.  Well, the fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. So if I am to be in him and him in me in order to bear fruit, what I heard him telling me was that THIS (being hurt) is happening so that you will REACT THIS WAY (see fruits of the spirit).  It’s like Jesus was giving me instruction. “Bear fruit. Be in me. Be a Christian, for crying out loud!”

I think that God can and does use all parts of our lives, all areas, all joys, sorrows, struggles, and successes for our good and for his glory.  He molds us, to teaches us, and makes us better than we were yesterday.   It’s also worth mentioning that the second half of John 15 is the part where Jesus says “the world will hate you because it hated me first” (I’m paraphrasing). This is actually a comfort.  In my mind, the harder some situations are, it’s just reassurance that I’m doing the right thing.

Right now, starting this moment, I’m going to hold on for dear life to my Lord and forgive, let go, and bear fruit.  I am always honored when God speaks to me, little ol’ me, you know what I mean?  I am humbled that the God of all the universe stops to help me and love on me when I need it.

Check out what Chris August wrote about his (beautiful, touching, emotional) song “7×70”:

http://www.chrisaugustmusic.com/songs/7×70