the inbetweens.

So it’s 10:00 on Monday night, and it’s warm enough that i’m sitting on my back porch with a fleece blanket wrapped around me. I’ve got an almost empty mason jar of pomegranate sweet tea next to me. And the light of my laptop screen is perfectly bright. It’s June. I moved to Madison in August. That means this place has been my home for almost a year. Two years ago I never would have dreamed of being a single, far-from home, doctoral student (what about my child bearing years?!). And to be honest, I don’t know why God has led me here. I don’t know what i’ll do with my degree when (if) I finish. I know that I absolutely love being able to love on the students that he has placed in my life. I love learning the things that i’m learning. I have peace that for the time being, this is what i’m supposed to be doing. But, Lord, What am I doing?

I do love Madison. I love the farmers market, and the quirky coffee shops. I love the lakes, and my church, and the old pubs. But I think the honeymoon phase of new living is fading. I think the season of digging my heels in, and being here by choice, and being a grownup has arrived. I wouldn’t say that i’m homesick. But I would say, Lord, what am I doing here?

The thought of me being a professor is laughable, to me at least. I kind of assumed that I would marry young, go move to Africa, and have a bunch of kids. Or something along those lines. I’m not entirely sure how I stumbled into this five year commitment on an isthmus surrounded by corn fields. But I know he is sovereign.

Isn’t so much of life the in between? I think there’s this lie that: once I figure out my college major, once I graduate, once I get married, or once I have kids, THEN, it’ll all make sense. I’m going to put money on that not ever being the case. I have experienced seasons of total peace with where life is at, but they’re brief.

So if my life is going to be a string of in betweens, then I logically have two responses: to chomp at the bit, or to have peace. Hindsight is the easiest thing. I can think of dozens of scenarios where everything fell into place, when I truly didn’t think it could. But this time, it’s different, I tell myself. I need funding, where is it coming from? I’m not getting any younger here! Is the best use of my time really 11 hours away from my family? Lord, are we sure that you’re using me when my nose is tucked in journal articles for most of the day? Is this really where you want me?

Jesus, the truth is that you are faithful. You have been faithful, and you will be faithful.  So tonight, i’ll shut my laptop, and go to sleep, and none of those questions will yet be answered. But Jesus, all that I ask is, whatever you have for me, don’t let me miss it. You know that when degrees, and careers, and kids, and families, and picket fences, are all put aside, I just want to be a part of Your story. I just don’t want to miss a single second of the unveiling of Your great story. I want to be right in the middle of where you are. If it’s lonely and sad, I want to be there. If it’s dirt-under-the-fingernails, I want to be there. If it’s laughter and celebration, I want to be there. Jesus, wherever I am, whoever I’m with, whatever I’m doing, let my life be a part of Your story.

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Thankfulness Roundup Monday, Part 3.

Sometimes thankfulness is hard. Because I don’t understand what God is doing. I don’t know what’s around the next turn in life. I hope these thankfulness posts don’t come across as too “rainbowy.” Because sometimes life is hard and uncertain. But choosing to believe that through it all God is the same and that he is good, is essential. And that’s a little bit where i’m at this morning :).

 

650. Friends tIMG_20140427_180204hat are old and new

651. Z-O-O.

652. Best friends who drive 11 hours for a super fun weekend!

653. 80’s music, I mean come on.

654. Cuties during my observation

655. Teachers who are so invested in their kiddos

656. When my little NAKOMA reader remembers plurals!! And is on cloud 9 because of it.

657. Watermelon helmets.

658. Long car rides by myself, time to think

659. Super sunshiney days!

IMG_20140427_195942660. The Farmers Market is back open.

661. Big sister and Brother in law coming to Madtown.

662. Jessalyn, I love that lady. How did I get such an amazing best friend?

663. Fresh rosemary

664. Thrift shopping.

665. That Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

666. “Faith is reason gone courageous.”

667. A sister that is adorably crafty.

668. A beautiful younger sister that dances.

669. Weird/funny snaps fr om the brothers. Mostly of IMG_20140427_202200animals?

670. Sweet e-mails from parents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,

IMG_20140427_213235    
bless his holy name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

(Psalm 103:1-5)

Love,

Rachel

 

IMG_20140428_092522

 

Monday Thankfulness Round up, Part 2.

Trying to make a habit of starting off the week with thanking Jesus for the good stuff. Why thankfulness? Because God is always good, always love, always. But sometimes I suck at remembering that, and I never want to lose sight of the goodness of the God that I love.

IMG_20140414_104504 (1)

 

625. Snapchats from Truett. Pure sweetness.

626. 6 hour long skype dates with best friends. Just being.

627. A Jesus and a faith that makes sense when I reason.

628. Phone calls with the mama.

629. So many packages in the mail this week, yay!

630. Dad and Josiah on a Saturday date? haha. Glad that he’s in our life.

632. Bets. Always bets.

635. IMG_20140414_104537That when I abide in Jesus, he’ll make my joy full.

636. That I built a shelf, yippee!

637. Time to read and slow down.

638. Chatting on the phone with the little broseph. That he won a 70’s costume contest. Haha. Classic Ben.

639. Catching up with Sarah, that she is blogging and Etsying so hard. Get it girl.

640. That all men will know that we are his disciples, when we love one another (John 13:35).

641. That he alone is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)

642. Saturday baseball games, for freeee!

643. Encouraging IMG_20140414_104701texts from Carly.

 

 

He is good.

Love,

Rachel

2013.

IMG_20131102_171729 IMG_20130913_173624 IMG_20131217_222510 IMG_20131214_141856 (1) IMG_20131121_182652 IMG_20131128_105600 IMG_20131214_141856 IMG_20131102_171729 IMG_20130913_173624 IMG_20130922_135736Midway through this year I starting keeping a log of some of the many gifts i’ve been given. I reread through them today, and pulled out some of my favorites. 2013 was good. It was hard. But it was good.

58. “Rach, can we work on a project?” little Day boys who love to create.

105. Sarah and Jeth, such a wonderful couple. Where the Lord will take them!

163. Cribbage with dad.

171. Enough confidence to make my own decisions. Even when they are not popular ones.

201. Time to read a book!

216. Siblings who text me

220. My own mailbox and key, so professional!

242. Learning to trust, bit by bit

280. Barns

286. Square dancing, duh.

293. Realizing that I have a lot of room to grow as a teacher

301. So many people to have skype dates with. So happy.

302. Doing assessments in school! Loving on kiddos!

303. Helping a little girl count to 100 for the first time 🙂

304. A cupcake gift.

324. Black and white stripes

333. Farmers market walking with Grandma. Goodness, I loved that morning!

354. The mason jars in my trunk that are waiting to be decorated

363. Sisters. Only one of God’s greatest inventions.

364. A day for watching pride and prejudice.

365. Stocking up on tea, for the winter season.

387. The deep love of Jesus, may I never lose sight of it.

393. A package from Kate. And I feel like our relationship is growing. And I really like that.

397. A funny bus driver who makes Sam and my mornings on Tues/Wed

This is happy. I can’t wait to experience 2014.

Rachel

Creating Culture

Since school hasn’t been particularly pressing, I have had the luxury of reading for fun. I have started reading Andy Crouch’s book, “Culture Making.” I’ve wanted to read Culture Making for a while, and since I am currently living in a different culture, there is no time like the present! In his book, Crouch talks about the many ways that Christians can engage with their culture. The options that he discusses are critiquing, condemning, copying, consuming, and creating culture. Crouch contends that while there are many different responses to culture, the only way to truly change culture is to create it. It makes sense if you really think about it. I can talk about how much I hate raunchy movies, I can avoid watching them. I can critique their flaws, but unless a viable alternative is offered, that culture won’t change. (Unfortunately, there are no Rachel DeRoos films currently in the works 😉 ). This concept is true on the smaller scale as well. Rather than hiding from culture, and staying “holy” tucked away our homes, you and I have been blessed with the opportunity  to follow Jesus’ example, and engage in the culture God has placed us in.

The “Rachel DeRoos” culture is one that is weirdly obsessed with terrariums, easily geeks out about psychology, loves a good taco, and would be content to spend hours in a library. Unique, but nothing earthshaking. But there is another part of “Rachel DeRoos” culture: the part that finds her truth, worth, and rest in who Jesus is. The part that just wants to know Jesus. The part that tries to follow him regardless of the difficulties. The part  that won’t compromise, regardless of the setting. I genuinely hope that those aspects of my culture create culture.

I have been made much more aware of my culture since being here in England. I’m the only one in my flat who drinks coffee, or enjoys a good PB & J (so American!). But more deeply, I have chosen to spend my time, and live my life much differently than most college students. And that is just fine. We are called to live noticeably differently.

Andy Crouch puts it well when he says:

“God’s plan for history had never been to escape from history.”

But he wasn’t the first one to think of this:

“You are the light of the world, a city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

-Matthew 5:14

Love,

Rachel

P.S. How are you creating culture today?

Brits Bible Study

So, I’ve joined Christian Union, which is a part of IFES (which InterVarsity is also a part of). It’s all connected, I promise. Anyways, I went to their first Bible study last night, and I just loved their very British comments on the Bible. Imagine all of these being said in a British accent:

“I’m really just rubbish at following Jesus well.”

“What Jesus did for us is just massive.”

“I mean that was loads of people.”

Charming. And good to study the Bible too.

Love,

Rachel