I need a language as large as this longing inside

Yesterday I was sitting in my Greek Exegesis class and our professor shared something magical with us.  (You should probably know that this particular class just might be my favorite because of our professor, the content and my classmates).
So we were learning about the definite article and it’s various forms in Greek, sounds amazing right?  One of my classmates asked the question, “I understand when we talk about it in here, but when I’m in the library struggling through the text, how am I supposed to recognize/remember all of this?”  That’s when our professor smiled and gave us this comparison.
He said that at his optometrist’s office they have a Magic Eye. Remember those from childhood?  Those pictures that look like nonsense until you look at them in just the right way and all of the sudden a 3-D image pops out?  Well he talked about how sometimes he can see it and other time he can’t make his eyes do the magic trick and it goes back to looking like squiggly lines.
He likened this to our study of scripture.  His purpose in teaching this class is that we can understand these little nuances of scripture and what they mean.   When we look at scripture knowing all these little things then suddenly these 2000 year old words pop and have color and contour.  It’s not about being able to understand it totally a hundred percent every time but  that when we read about it in commentaries and such we can point back and say, oh yeah, that’s what that means.
The thing about Seminary is that sometimes it is super hard and I feel like I’m not getting it or that particular lesson means nothing in my life.  But it’s not true, I’m learning how to see Scripture / God / the world differently.
He also told us that he hopes we would have the Magic Eye to see the world in this way and be able to point to it for our congregations.  That’s it’s not about helping them understand the grammar of the Greek (please let me never be that pastor) but more so what that means in their lives.  We are going to this school in order to help people encounter God in new and engaging ways.  And that is super cool.
So, despite the fact that I am unbelievably stressed right now about midterms and papers and retreat and the likes, I am learning how to fine-tune my eye and to see life in a new way.  And I like that.

just happy to be here, I'm happy to know you

Last weekend I finally got to go home and meet my niecey-niece.  Her name is Bizzy (if you remember) and despite what it looks like in this picture, she actually loves me a lot.  This picture is gonna be one of those ones that goes down in history as an all time greatest display of her and me.  I love it.  It’s going in her wedding slide show someday.
Being home was great.  I got to spend some time with some of my favorites, including craft time with Jre and Penelope, lunch with the Vogts and of course a great Nina-Goddaughter date.
The other great thing I got to do while being at home was that I had the privilege of baptizing Goddaughter.  It was a beautiful moment in my life to be able to hear my goddaughter confess her faith in Jesus and then to be able to baptize her myself.  It was an honor, not that it was about me.  I was such a proud Nina standing there in the water with her and watching her own her faith.  I’ve prayed for this day and for many more where she is able to stand up in front of her peers and loved ones and confess her faith in Christ.  It was a moment unlike any other in my life and I was in awe of God’s great grace that I was able to experience it.
So, going home, that was the first half of fall break.  Then I was back in Chicago for precisely 29 hours before jumping in the car with ~6 seminary friends and driving 3.5 hours to Muskegon, MI.  “home” sweet “home” for Alicia.  We’ve been staying with my good friend Becky and just enjoying fall in Muskegon.
Being back here makes me reflect a lot on the last three years.  It was three years ago that I lived here, did ministry here, called this place home.  It’s been three years since I’ve been back and these couple of days here have been a flood of memories of my time here.  Tonight I let all the others go to Grand Haven for a night on the town and I stayed back, visited and caught up with Brenda (my “other” mom) and just spent time reflecting.  I looked back on this very blog and read these words, dated September 1, 2007:
I was sitting on the beach the other night, journaling and praying as the sun set beyond the hugeness that is the lake. And as I watched the sun go down I prayed harder than I have in a long time and I felt like my heart was going to fall out of my chest. But the thing that saves me everytime is the knowledge that God is so much bigger than all this pain I’m feeling and through Him I get the strength to stand up, brush the sand off my pants and walk away.”
Today I stood on the beach next to Roomsmate looking out at the vastness that is Lake Michigan and I remembered that night.  I told Roomsmate about how I used to go to the beach and have my time with God.  I see God the best (at times) in Creation.  In seeing what He created for us.  I stood there today looking out and thought about all the ways God has blessed me and pushed me in the last few years.  I stood there and thought about the tears shed on this sand all those years ago.  I thought back on all the heartache and rough patches that He has brought me through to this moment and I smiled.  I am truly thankful for a God that is big enough to handle the pain and sorrow in my life in the same way he rejoices in the joys and celebrations.
In some ways I am the same 22-year-old girl that stood on that same shore 3 years ago and in other ways I’m not.  Being back here has taught me just how vastly different I am these days, but in a good way.  I am thankful for the place that I am in.  I am just where I belong.
More thoughts to come on various aspects of my life but for now hear this… I am still struggling through a lot of dealing with my dad’s life and death.  But at the end of the day I look around at those who surround me and realize that God is good to me, and that’s enough for me.

my life be like…

I realize how tired people are probably getting of hearing me say over and over how much I love Seminary. But I do, and this is my blog, so yeah.
I love Seminary.
Now, don’t get me wrong.  It is hard.  It is really hard and there are moments where my head feels like it just might explode and I don’t know what to do with that fact.  But even in the moments where things are really hard and I just want to quit, there is a glimmering light that pulls me back and reminds me why I am here and who I am.
Yesterday in one of my classes (my hardest class if you wanted to know) our professor checked in with us.  He does this quite frequently, asking us how we are doing.  Someone spoke up and alluded to the fact that this particular class was pretty hard and how much work it required of us.  Our professor looked around the room at all the nodding heads and after pausing for a breath he said, “Well, Seminary is hard.”
I have this professor for two different classes and we’ve had this moment with him in both classes.  He acknowledges our struggles in the class but then always just says that we need to be faithful.
Be Faithful.  Two simple words and yet it’s something that in this context is really hard.  When he says it, he doesn’t  necessarily mean that we need to have faith (I don’t think).  He’s more challenging us to just keep swimming.  We may feel like we’re drowning.  We may feel like nothing we read is actually sticking into our brains, but eventually it will click.
He also brought up a good point yesterday, we are being prepared for ministry.  For a life of serving in the church where anything can happen at anytime.  Our teachers want to prepare us for that and to be successful in Ministry.  Not that learning will end after our 3 years but these 3 years are the time where we get to buckle down and learn as much as we can about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Bible and how to apply those things to our lives and the lives of those around us.  We need to learn to preach and to decipher the word and prepare studies.  We have a lot to do in these 3 years.
Not to mention…. I signed up for this.  I knew it would be hard and I came here.  I enrolled, this is on me.  So I am learning to be faithful to hundreds of pages of reading and all sorts of things like that.
And that’s where I’m at these days.  I go to class, I go to the library, I go to Starbucks.  I sometimes hang out with my friends.  I hang out in my apartment, reading.  This is the life of a Seminarian.  And I love it.