Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Belong to You

At a Bible study I attended about two years ago, a question was brought up. A simple question, one that might float in the back of one's mind as one of those "so, I was just wondering.." questions. But one that silenced many into deep thought.

If Satan captured the world in sin, how did Christ get the world back?

The asker went on to clarify that he knew Christ had redeemed the world, but was curious as to how exactly it had worked.

I'll admit, I got rather frustrated because I can usually answer questions like that pretty quickly. Definitely a pride thing. If you know me, you know fully well that I like being right. I sat in my chair, silently frustrated, as others around me discussed possible answers.

Truthfully, after a few minutes, I stopped listening. I let my mind wander through different possibilities. I felt God pressing two words on my mind. China shop. I heard it over and over again. Then, randomly (by the world's terms... nothing is random with God), the phrase, "like a bull in a china shop" popped in my head. A bull in a china shop. The pace of my mind picked up. The thoughts that formed in my mind can only be explained through God. Truthfully, I don't think I could've formed the metaphor my mind formed without God placing the exact thoughts in my head.

The discussion around me continued. By now, I was staring at the floor, eyes wide. Elbows on my knees, chin in my hands. Timidly, I sat up and raised my hand.

After clarifying the question that was asked, I took a deep breath, a shared what God had shown me.

God created the world. Thus, the world became His.

Imagine for just a moment that the world is a china shop and we are the china.

God is the shopkeeper.
Everything is beautiful. Every piece perfect.

There's a phrase that says "he was like a bull in a china shop".

Imagine what would happen if a bull was let loose in the china shop. Every piece would be broken. Shattered.

Does this mean that the bull now owns the china shop?


Just because someone destroys something of yours, doesn't mean that it no longer belongs to you.

Now, imagine that once the bull has done his dark deeds, the shopkeeper doesn't abandon the china shop and look for a new one to keep.


He gathers every piece, one by one, and repairs everything.

God is the shopkeeper.

We are the china.

Satan is the bull.
Satan destroyed the world as God created it.

Because of sin, we are all like broken china.
Without purpose.

But God wants to repair us.
The china shop that is the world is His, and He wants to repair every broken soul.

And all you have to do is let Him.

We belong to God. We are His, and He is ours. Let Him in your life.

You won't regret it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Eclectic Mind

Here I go again. Creating another blog. My newest one will make number three in my list of blogs. But it's not like I get tired of one blog and move to another. I maintain all three. They all have a purpose.

Take this one for instance. A Paradox Among the Logical. Here you will find many of the random musings that cross my mind. My life. What I live for. Actually, Who I live for. God. He is my all in all. I hope that what I write reflects that. When you enter my world of paradoxes, I hope you smell Jesus.

Then, there's my next one. The Ripple Effect. In this one, I collect and record people's stories. I haven't received one in a while. But I know in God's timing, someone will be willing to share another story.

Then, there's my newest one. Sweet Serenade Photography. As the name implies, this is my photography blog. I've decided that this blog will be the place I post my daily photos. I might continue to put them on Facebook. We'll see. But this blog will also be a place for me to showcase and display my work. I can't wait to see what God has in store for me in the area of photography. While I don't foresee it as a career, I know it will always be something I'll be able to fall back on.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

And Now It's Just a Memory...

To be honest, there's other things I could (should..) be doing. Like taking advantage of my ACT study program. Maybe doing some extra school. Typing letters to my state reps and senator. But here I am again, writing away. It's a bit of an addiction. But a good one. I had an idea for a blog post about addictions. That'll take some more time to write, though. Today, my writing pertains to my distractableness (sort of). And what I'm doing instead of being productive.

I'm one of those people that keeps everything. And I mean everything. As a kid (and I'm not kidding about this, either), I tried to keep my cut-off fingernails. Apparently, I told my mom I wanted to start a collection. Yeah. (Hey, I was like... three, okay??)

You're probably thinking, what do fingernails have to do with anything?? It has to do with me keeping things. All the time. This includes e-mails. About two years ago, I started keeping personal e-mails that I really liked. Soon, it branched to all personal e-mails. After that, it branched to all e-mails save spam. Not kidding. If you were to log into my Gmail account right now, you would come upon an empty inbox. Not an e-mail in sight. But if you were to look at the left of the screen, you would see a list of no less than 45 folders. All my e-mail is separated and categorized into these folders. And I keep making more. I start e-mailing a new friend. Sign up for another newsletter. Another folder is created. The folders actually didn't come about until about six months ago. I had ten plus pages of e-mail, and was sick of sifting through my un-deleted spam and using my e-mail search engine. So I started making folders. Each of the friends I contact or have contacted through e-mail has their own folder. Another one is reserved for my speech e-mails. Still another for my Writer's Digest newsletters. And so on. I keep every e-mail. Every single e-mail.

So, what's the significance of this?

The other day, I was clicking through the folders labeled with names of people. People I e-mail regularly or once did so. People I should e-mail again (but always forget to) and people I may never do so with again. I opened each folder. And read the e-mails. Some made me smile. Some made me laugh. Some made my eyes water. But they all brought back memories.

An e-mail from one of my best friends right after NC.
Another from a friendship I let shrink to almost non-existence.
Still another from when I was going through a hard time.
Another exchange made me laugh and shake my head.
A message that changed my life.

And they're all important. They all mean something to me. No one writes letters in the mail anymore. Why should they? It's easier to switch on the computer, log on to Facebook or your e-mail account and shoot off a message. I still have the written letters I received from my pen pal when we still used snail mail. Now I keep her letters to me in a folder in my Gmail inbox.

Don't get me wrong. I love using e-mail. It's quick, efficient, and cheap. So cheap, it's free. And Facebook. I can have many conversations at once on Facebook. A photo comment thread here, and status thread here, instant messaging, private messaging. And it's all in one spot. But, it's probably a good thing I'm taking a month off Facebook.

But back to my point.

All the e-mails I receive matter to me. I read each one, sometimes several times. Often, I take my time in responding so I can think out a response as nice as the message I received. And I keep all of them.

I know that might sound creepy, but it's true.

Why do I keep them?

Memories, mostly. So I can go back and read them, and remember where I've been. Where my friends have been. What my relationships with people have been like.

Reading them, I've learned. I've remembered.

With some, I even regret.

Regret choices I made that harmed my relationships with people. Letting a friendship all but disappear. Truth is, if someone were to ask me what I thought I needed to work on the most, it would be my flakiness. I make promises I can't keep or only meet half-way. More than once, I find myself in a rock and a hard place, realizing that I probably just double-booked myself, forgot to talk to someone, didn't tell the entire truth, or didn't let someone in.

Someday, when I'm old, and suffer from memory loss, I hope someone will read the e-mails to me. So I can remember. And smile. And laugh. And maybe even cry.

So I keep the e-mails. For memories. For smiles. And laughter. And sometimes a few tears. But also, to learn.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Box

The world is bright. Unsure, I reach out. To what? I don't know. Nothing reaches back. I see something in the distance. I strain to here its (his? her?) words. It sounds like...whatever (whoever?) is, is calling for me. But no.


I reach out my hands. This time to block my view.


I stumble a bit in surprise. Where did that come from? I look around. Light is to my left. My right. Behind me. But in front of me, there is darkness. I'm confused. But satisfied. I can no longer hear the calls I heard before. I lean cautiously against the wall my hands seem to have created. It holds. I relax and savor my aloneness.

I feel... sad. All of a sudden. I don't know why. Lonely. Dejected.

Why didn't they come after me? Why didn't they continue to call for me? I push the thought away. No matter. They don't matter. Whoever they are. 

I hear a sound to my left. I glance over. There it is again! Or... maybe it's something else. A different one. I can't tell. I straighten up to face it. This one's calling too. Faintly, but definitely calling for me. I cock my head. Contemplating. My first instinct is to call to them...whoever they are. To run up and greet them. But no.


I reach my hands out in front of myself to block my view.


This time, I'm not as surprised. The dark wall that is now next to and in front me is almost comforting. Almost. I sink to the ground and lean back against the corner where the walls meet. My head tilts up towards the sky. I wince at the brightness of the sun. I want to shout out. Tell someone to turn the light down a few notches.

But then I remember the wall. I wonder if it'll work again. I stand up as tall as I can. Reach my arms above my head. And block the sun from my view.


Satisfied, I settle down again.

Now I am facing the direct opposite of my original position. I hear my name. A little more distinctively now. But as the calls continue, they become quieter. I strain to hear them.

Suddenly, I can.

Loud and clear.

As if someone was standing right next to me, shouting into my ear. Then I see them. Running. I think. I can't be sure.


I push my hands in front of myself, once again blocking my view.


There is one spot left. One open space. I contemplate running. Leaving this small place I am in. A place that has room only for me. But why should I? With determination, I push my hands toward the empty space, blocking my view.


Complete and utter darkness. 

I sink to the ground. I am alone. Completely and utterly alone. Tears stream down my face. Why did no one come for me? Why did they leave? All I can hear is silence. Complete and utter silence.

Faintly, I hear something.

I push it away. No one is coming for me. No one. I tell myself this over and over and over again. No matter that my name is being shouted. No one is looking for me. No one cares. The box I am in is probably nothing more than an obstacle they must pass.

Bang! Bang! Bang!

I hear thumping. On my box. My place. Someone is trying to destroy it! MY BOX! Don't they know I want to be alone??

I push at the walls, hoping whoever they are will get the hint. But the damage is already done. There's a small crack.


There's a small stream of light peeking into my box. I stare at it. It's strikingly... beautiful. I contemplate it for a while. But my anger wells up again. My box has a crack in it! My safety, my haven! Ruined! I collapse. Sobbing.

The thumping continues. Multiple voices calling my name.

Not a single one cares, I tell myself. They just want to destroy my box. I pound back. Shouting. Leave me alone! Don't ruin my box!

More cracks. More light.

Suddenly, a wall collapses.

The top slides away.

Another wall is gone.

And another.




I am surrounded by people. Tears. Tears are running down their faces. They're breathing hard from their efforts, watching me. I stare at the remaining wall. Something in me tells me to push it over. Finish off the box.

So I do.

I begin shaking. Staring at the people who are surrounding me. Slowly, all of them close in on me. They're crying. But they're also smiling. Hugging me.

We love you, they tell me. Don't ever build up those walls again. Don't leave us. Please. The last thing we want is seeing you trapped. Trapped in a box, a victim of yourself. 


Don't do it again.

I begin to sob.


I tell them.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Warm Fuzzies


We all want it.

Some try to buy it.

Others spend their whole lives seeking it.

Still others seem to have found the secret to it.

You know, those people who wander around life with that little grin always plastered on their faces.

What is happiness?

Happiness is..

That warm fuzzy feeling you get after having a good conversation with a close friend.
A warm blanket and a pair of fuzzy socks.
A nice, hot cup of coffee
Spending time with wonderful people.
A big bear hug from someone you haven't seen in a while.
Having faith and living it, too.

Having faith.

Happiness is having faith.


Not just any faith.

Faith in God.

There's a song I've been listening to over and over and over again lately. It basically talks about how so many times, we're happy and content in God when things are all sunshiney and wonderful.

But once the rain starts falling and the thunder starts cracking?

We run.


Away from the One Who is trying to comfort us. To help us through the storm.

We question God's goodness because of what we're going through.

God is good all the time.

All the time God is good.

Whether the sun is shining or the rain is pouring.

God is good.

Once we are able to rest assuredly in God through sunshine and storms, we will be truly happy. You know those people who have this aura of joy about them? You know the people. The ones who, no matter what is happening continuously count it all joy. They face the rain with a huge grin plastered on their faces. Those people are some of the most encouraging people I've ever met in my life. And it's all because of their beautiful and constant faith in God.

Now, don't get me wrong. There is a place and time for tears and sadness. But even when you're sad and hurting, you can still have joy. Joy in knowing that the wonderful God who walks with you through the good times is carrying you through the bad.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Puzzle Piece

There’s another me.


That’s not the right way to put it.

There’s another Autumn Johnson. I’d really like to know her middle name. My first name in and of itself is rare. But my name combination is even more so.

Facebook and what others have told me have both become handy tools for me to figure out who she is.

We have 31 mutual friends on Facebook.
She has red hair.
Drop-dead gorgeous.
A model.
She does beautiful photography.
An only child.
Very popular.
She lives in Oregon.
Did I mention that yet?
She’s in TeenPact.

She’s the kind of girl I’m jealous of.

Stick thin.
There isn’t anyone who doesn’t like her.

Pretty much everything I want to be.

I suppose I’m being selfish.


But she’s not the only girl I’m jealous of.

If you’re a teenage girl and friends with me on Facebook, I’ve probably found some reason to be jealous of you.
It’s truly terrible.

But if you were to pinpoint my biggest problem, it would be the fact I put myself down. And people have already. It’s no one’s fault but my own, really.

I have difficulty remembering a time when I didn’t find myself wishing I was like someone else. Even as a little kid, I was different. I could never run as fast, climb as high, or hang on to the monkey bars as long. I was always that kid with her nose buried in a book. Or doodling. Or something.

On the soccer field, I was more interested in making a new friend than scoring a goal. When in t-ball, I was picking flowers or talking to one of the grown-ups helping out in the field instead of running the bases. I don’t have many memories of my early days in ballet, but drawing from other memories, I’m sure I found daydreaming more interesting than plies. Don’t get me wrong. I was happy to be in all of those activities. But…I wasn’t like the other kids.

You know how teams or dance classes and such have that sense of togetherness? Close friendship built by a love for a sport or an art. I never felt apart of that. I barely remembered the names of the other kids on my teams or in my classes.

Rarely have I felt that sense of belonging. I seem to always feel like an outsider. Someone looking in. Merely an observer. There are few people with whom I feel I “belong”. When I’m with them, or talking to them, the thought of oh…this is what it feels like plays through my mind. This is belonging.

Sometimes I feel like a stranger to myself.

I know sometimes I purposefully back myself away from people. But that’s part of these feelings. I can’t randomly join a conversation without feeling awkward. Like I’m not apart of anything. Even if I’m invited to join.

People think I’m quiet.

That’s true.

But really only when I feel like a complete stranger.

Which is a lot.

I cherish those moments when I feel like I belong.

Art classes.
When I held hands and prayed in a small circle of friends before we said good-bye.
Waltzing in a hotel breakfast room.
Staying up to all hours talking about nothing and everything.
Having a heart to heart with a girl I’d just met.

I don’t know why I’ve never felt like I belong.

I’m almost positive that if you took a scan of my brain and compared it with scans of others, it would be vastly different. I have never met anyone wired like me.

Or maybe, I’ve been too consumed to notice others like me.

My behaviors and mannerisms are all odd. My mind comes to conclusions that make sense to me, but convince others that I’m not listening.

I hear that a lot.

You must not have been listening.

One of the most frustrating things in the world is to not be able to explain myself and how I got to a conclusion.

I pick up a lot.

People think I’m oblivious.

It’s all selective.

Every single day I yearn to be like everyone else.

You’re all so different, but all so much the same. I feel like a random neon crayon in a world of primary colors. People always say being different is good. Not this kind. Sometimes it is. But only God knows just how much I want my puzzle piece to fit.

To be like that other Autumn.
Or many of the other girls I know.

Truthfully, I don’t know myself very well. I’m a stranger in my own body.

But I’m here for a reason.

God has a purpose for the way he made me. I’ve been crying out to Him as I’ve written this. To help me get it out. This isn’t easy. But it needs to be written. It needs to be said.

I keep feeling a pulling. Something that keeps my pen moving. God has a reason for me writing this now. And I’m going to keep writing. Even if it’s for just one person. Someone like me who’s crying out. Aching for the feeling of belonging. It’ll be worth it.

If you’re that person, you’re not alone. God is in control. There is someone else like you.

As I’m writing, God has started whispering to me. You the puzzle piece that I am? Maybe I’m trying to put myself in the wrong puzzle.

I’m putting myself back onto the table. I’m a puzzle piece, desperately wanting to fit in. I want to belong. To be apart of something beautiful. Please, put me in the puzzle that I belong in. Don’t let me take control. Place me where You want me. I don’t want to be anywhere else.

In Jesus’ Name,