listening to grace

akwittaspiritLeave a Comment

IMG_3217

To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark.
In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.

Brennan Manning

Every book of the Bible from Romans to Philemon starts with something to the effect of “May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.” And then all of those same books end with another blessing of God’s grace.

That’s thirteen books, for those of you who use the table of contents as much as I do.

Maybe that’s just Paul’s style. Grace and peace, like a Biblical hippie. That, or he was really trying to get a point across.

I had always skipped over those parts before because I have heard the words grace and peace a lot. Like, a lot. So much so that they had become buzz words that told me it was time to tune out. (Makes me think about what else I might be tuning out, right?)

But now, grace is changing me.

Martin Luther said that most Christians have enough religion to feel guilty about their sins but not enough to enjoy life in the Spirit. That’s so true for me. I’ve lived heavy in the guilt.

I remember one night in junior high, I was supposed to be watching my younger siblings while my parents went out, but instead I spent hours on the phone with my “boyfriend.”

My brother and sister didn’t care- they were absorbed in a movie- and my parents had no way of finding out. But I felt so so awful. I called my dad and left him a message on his phone that went something like:

“IknowyoutoldmenottobutIwasonthephoneforareallylongtimeandI’msosososososorry
youcangroundmeifyouwant.” If you bring up the story, he’ll probably whip out his phone and play it for you, even eight years later. Embarrassing.

That’s how I’ve felt mostly with God. I wanted us to always be okay, so I would tiptoe through life, doing my best to stay far away from anything that might upset him and suffering from my own punishment when I failed.

But God says that nothing can separate us from his love. And he says that nothing we do, good or bad, can change how much he loves us.

We’re free to get pissed, to have bad days, to be dysfunctional, to make mistakes, to be hypocrites. And we don’t ever have to hide.

No matter what we’ve done or what we’re doing or what junk is holding us captive now, we’re okay. God still smiles when he looks at us and he enjoys us for who we are. Think about that. That’s revolutionary stuff.

Share

a time to breathe

akwittabloggingLeave a Comment

DSC_0645

Summer is for days at the pool, ice cream, adventures, camp, time with family, and reading books that never seem to get read during the school year. So I took a blogging hiatus for the summer to do those things-it was marvelous and much-needed, so I hope that’s okay with you.

To get you caught up, I spent my days nannying and babysitting, journaling and reading, and adventuring to places like India and Michigan.

…When I write that, I realize that India and Michigan seem to be on completely different adventure scales, but trust me, my time in both places was surprisingly challenging and wonderful.

But now school has started again and my roommates and I are trying to keep up with school and make a home of our little apartment. Summer has officially ended.

As I start to get back into the routine of school it’s like life has started again. Summer was a pause to breathe, but now we’re all back and I am eager to live and learn and blog. I just know it’s gonna be great.

Share

kolkata, india

akwittaspirituality, travelLeave a Comment

IMG_1968 DSC_0114 DSC_0117 IMG_2017 DSC_0151 DSC_0169 IMG_2036 DSC_0304 IMG_2057 DSC_0330 DSC_0332 DSC_0334 DSC_0356 DSC_0417

I have a hard time putting the experiences I had in India into words. Clearly I’ve struggled with it, since it’s been two months since I stepped foot back in the States. (Oops.)

I think one of the best words to describe Kolkata is intense. Intense heat. Intense poverty. Intense busyness. Intense traffic. Intense service.

Serving alongside the Missionaries of Charity was incredible. I don’t feel like that sentence really sums up the impact that it had on me, but that’s what I’ve got. It was incredible.

The work that the volunteers helped with wasn’t anything glamorous. We did laundry by hand, made beds, helped with mealtimes, and occasionally got to dance and paint nails. And we said “namaste” hundreds of times. But that work transcended all kinds of boundaries- race, religion, gender, socio-economic, and language. I’ve never been a part of something so simple, yet so profound.

I could probably spend all kinds of time trying to put into words what I learned about the impact of nonverbal communication, the richness of cross-cultural friendships, the devout lives of the Missionaries of Charity, or the power that comes with doing small things with great love.

But honestly, I wouldn’t do them justice trying to explain them here. So if you’re interested, please ask me more about India. I’ll do my best to tell you.


If you’re wondering, the men in the third picture asked to have their picture taken, then posed like this.

In the seventh picture, I’m pointing at the Victoria Memorial. The picture right below that is a little boy who was sent over to our group to take pictures- not a lot of white people, particularly blonde white people, travel to India. So we got some strange reactions.

The four women in the polka dotted dresses are women I got to know as I served with the Missionaries of Charity. Though we didn’t speak the same language, I felt like I got to know them in a completely different way.

Share