Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pourquoi Ma Vie!

My lovely friends, Jenn and Cassie  are basically half French. I've always wanted to learn French in France, so it makes me happy to be able to be around people who love French, too. I also went with Cassie on a trip to visit her Quebecoise friends in Montreal/Jolliet this summer; to sum it up, I spent five days listening to everyone talk in French and becoming ecstatic when I understood a word or short phrase. It was pretty humbling. 

Anyway, Jenn and Cassie got saying this crazy little phrase: "Pourquoi ma vie?!" Literally, it translates as "why my life?" I say it when I am feeling unjustly treated by life. Haha.

This morning I opened up Jesus Calling and read these words: Grow strong in your weakness. Not exactly self-explanatory, but it was no more paradoxical than things about conquering your fear and that being a servant makes you great, and other things like that. So I tried to let the concept wash over me. Tried not to figure it out too much.

The rest of the devotional explained that God wants to foster trust in us by using our weaknesses to show His own strength...and by letting us wander in the dark so that we physically cannot figure things out. He shows us that knowledge comes from Him, and Him alone.

It was a bunch of stuff I'd heard before. But still. I hadn't really understood it before. Which just reinforces the whole point of God being the one who reveals stuff to me - in His own timing.

So what does "pourquoi ma vie" have to do with all of this? Well, one of the verse references for this devotional was James 4. And verse four seriously jumped out at me. And made me chuckle and say, "Pourquoi ma vie!"

"For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."
[James 4:4]

Whoa, James. Why don't you ask me a harder question? James is pretty straight-forward. I admire that a lot. Honesty is usually not easy, especially if, like me, you have a tendency to want to please people more than anything else...yeah, it gets me into lots of half-truths and trouble. 

Wanna hear the French translation of all this? 

"Pour ce qui est votre vie? il ya même une vapeur qui paraît pour un peu de temps et qui ensuite disparaît."

Let's just say that I'm going to be asking myself this question a lot today. Isn't it weird to think how small and short our lives are? How quick they are ended? 

Vapor, fog, smoke...things you can see, smell, feel. But things you cannot grasp and cannot keep. Transparent things that you see other things through - or that clouds your perception of other things. 

So as you're sipping your morning, afternoon, or sixth cup of the day coffee, look at the little vapors coming off the hot surface and realize that you are one of them. Your life is short. What do you want your life to be about? What do you want this little drifting vapor to say to the world?

Friday, August 30, 2013

...The Host

Guys...I just read The Host by Stephanie Meyer.

Despite the fact that it's mainstream fiction and they just made a movie from the novel, and it's a romance no less, it was actually pretty decent.

Before you go all crazy and try to argue with me about why you like or dislike Stephanie Meyer, let me just give a disclaimer: I am not a Twilight fan. 

There. You happy?

However, in both the Twilight series and The Host, I was pulled (rather unwillingly) into the story and for the most part, could not put it down. This says something to me about the author's skill. I do not call myself a fan because I am not. The Twilight movies did not live up to any expectations (in other words, they were crap). I am not a fan of of fans who tend to be overly obsessed with anything. And I am not a fan of Stephanie Meyer's fondness for confusing and psychologically mind-boggling love stories.

The thing that got me with The Host is that it reminded me of the personal inner struggle I've had lately with the Holy Spirit. There's an alien living inside a girl's body (creepy, right?) and somehow the girl's brain is able to still function in the back of the alien's mind. Like I said, confusing.

But that's how I treat the Holy Spirit. I keep basic control of my mind -sort of- and if I sense Him in the back of my mind, so to speak, I argue with Him. I certainly act like I don't want Him around. It's a constant inner war that can be severely exhausting, both mentally and emotionally.

It leaves me not knowing where I stand in all of this.

The Host somehow managed to mirror that struggle for me, in a way. I'm not saying that it's a Christian book or something or that you "need to read it because it might be spiritual." I'm just letting you know that it's not...horrible.

Also, I've decided to take a 30-day fast from chick flicks/romance novels of any kind. Not that I've been over-indulging lately. But it seems that even the occasional one continues to reinforce the societal perception that life is only being lived if you're living it within a romantic relationship.

What do you guys think about fasting? The Host? Stephanie Meyer?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Going Back

I have this horrible habit of not liking to admit when someone else is right and I am wrong. Even if there is no particular person at hand with the right opinion on the matter, I still don't like admitting that I am wrong.

Logically speaking, this is bollocks.

If I am wrong, and I know that I am wrong, then the quickest way to stop being wrong and start being right would be to a) admit my wrong, b) humbly let go of the wrong ideas, and c) turn around and forsake the wrongness in pursuit of right.

But of course I don't want to do that. I somehow think that I can sort of be seeking after right things while still treading on the wrong path. As if I could continue to walk with one foot here and one foot there and everything would be peachy.

I'd still be thinking that, if C.S. Lewis hadn't come barreling into my world today...

"Progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man...Going back is the quickest way on."
-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Chapter 5

Going back is lame.
That's giving up.
That means that this entire time I thought that I was getting somewhere...I wasn't. So I have to retrace my steps. 

I don't like this. 

But it's the truth, isn't it?


Wednesday, August 21, 2013


While I was walking on a sidewalk in Bangkok, the sun baking me and every other living thing that dared to show it's face in the middle of the afternoon (I was one of the dumb ones), God decided to confront me. He said something that I tried very, very hard to squirm out of, but I couldn't.

Caitlin, He began, do you have a list of things that you are unwilling to become? What are the things that you have decided you will not do for Me? 

Stories. They're beautiful, aren't they? When there's a character you fall in love with...a friend who you wish you had in real life...the purpose you feel like you have, but you just can't picture it happening in "real life." But the reasons stories are so beautiful is because they tend to reflect (in however small a way) truths about life outside of the novel. Reading them shows us things about ourselves and others in a way that would never have made sense if someone snapped it at you in person, point blank.

Writing stories is even better. We get to create worlds and characters and ideas and creatures and plotlines. Sometimes, the stories take on a life of their own. If you're a writer, I'm sure you've noticed how some characters start acting in ways that you didn't even plan for, saying things you never thought that they would say.

It's almost made something that you couldn't control.

Why is that? Is it because the most creative parts of our brains are hidden far back in some subconscious corner, and it takes an art medium for them to come out and play? Or is it because we actually create something that is alive? Or is it because God is really creating everything that you create, He's just doing it through you?

I don't have an answer. But it's a crazy thing to think about. And it makes me think about why I love stories, why I even care about reading about them. I think I know why, a little bit. Because the greatest author ever to be known? That's God.

He's writing a story for all of us - we're all characters in God's book. We do a lot of things that seem random and uncalled for and just plan impossible to control, but He actually saw it coming. Darn. I think that I can somehow be my own character, though, without His interference.

So I label myself. I point to things and say, "That's me." Funny thing is, God has been using this year, this season, of my life to take each one of these labels and challenge them. He keeps asking me, "What if I don't want you to be that way?" Remember what I said in the beginning? How He saw right through me and pointed at the parts of me that I was withholding? Yeah, it hurts. A lot. So I tried to make a list. I wanted to examine myself and see just how many things I refused to be for Him.

Try it. Make a list of statements that you think define who you are. Here are some of mine:
  • I am a night owl. More importantly, this means that...
  • I am NOT a morning person
  • I am an introvert; I need my space
  • I need a lot of sleep or I can't function well
  • I can be extroverted, but...
  • I don't like the spotlight
  • I make bad decisions on a whim
  • I am really bad at being someone's shoulder to cry on
God took every one of these and ripped them apart till I just sat there and gaped because I realized that I had to be whatever He asked me to be. Whether I chose to follow Him or not, whether I was actually "saved" or not, He was still going to make me the Caitlin that He had created to be. I couldn't stop it from happening.

It freaked me out. And, to be honest, I still fight Him at times. I like the idea of making myself.

Don't we all?

These are a few snapshots from my time in Thailand.
It was truly the hardest, most rewarding, intrinsically happy times of my life.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I have recently become addicted to I don't like adding more website accounts to my life (things start getting complicated when I have to have more than 3 passwords to remember), but this was an exception. Ever wanted to have a complete lists of books you want to read? Say no more. Ever wanted to keep track of every book you own or used to own? Done. It's a limitless database of literature and I love it. I'll never be satisfied with an online library, but so long as it's not replacing my physical one, I'm happy. 

So what's on your "to-read" list? Mine keeps getting longer. Somehow, I find myself wanting more suggestions, though. 

The Circle Trilogy by Ted Dekker (I just dove into Black today) 
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith 
The Great Gatsy by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams 
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks 
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux 
C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy 

Give me your list and maybe we can trade. Also, if you own one of the books on my to-read list, might I borrow it? Then you could borrow one of mine and we'd practically have a book club! I adore this idea.