So, I guess it’s Christmastime again?
Word on the street is that it happens annually. News to me.
Anyways—how are you guys? I’ve been super busy (and stressed), and that’s honestly my only excuse for my lack of presence here on the QC. (I really had to resist the urge to write presents in that last sentence there). I’m happy to report, however, that the semester is over, and somehow I managed to make it through. I really don’t know how, if I’m going to be honest (which I am).
I kinda wanna talk about that. So, if you’re up to date on the bloggo, then you’ve read my last blog-post, Family Photo, and you might be aware of some of the things I’ve been “unraveling.”
God is still teaching me a lot—I guess I just really haven’t been listening. A lot of this is going to be hard to admit; so much of it I haven’t really even said out loud.
I’ve really lost my way, I think, and a lot of that has to do with how much I’ve been listening to myself versus God. And even more to do with how much I’ve actually invested into my faith. I never wanted to be a hypocritical Christian, and I was always afraid that’s the life I was living.
In my head, it always had to be one way, and I was never living like that—not alone and not with others. It kind of spun in my head like a scratched record. I don’t read my Bible enough, I don’t tithe, and is writing praying? I have repeat-sins coming out of my ears, I’m too political, I don’t care about what’s important, I listen to bad music, I say bad words, I think bad thoughts— I mean, you name it, and I’ve probably done it and painted myself in a bad light because of it.
And when I get like that, it’s so hard for me to untangle myself. I forget what this is all about. I start to twist what I believe, and then I just stop believing.
I really mean that.
There have been so many points in the last few months when I’ve told God, “I don’t know if I believe in You anymore. If You’re real, You’re not Good. If You speak, You don’t speak to me, and You’ve let all of these horrible things happen to me. If You’re real, I don’t know if I want to be friends with You anymore.”
And those words, they were so hard for me to express. He knows that’s what I was feeling. He’s forgiven more for it. He was teaching me.
My faith has been fading for the longest time. And I admit there have been moments when I’m alone, lying in bed, staring at the ceiling in the darkness that I’ve asked Him if He was there, and I didn’t wait for Him to respond.
In the morning, when God’s mercy is new, I’m reminded of what it means to let God speak for Himself.
I’m reminded that it’s not about me, and why I don’t want it to be.
In those moments when I needed help believing, there was a part of me that wanted to believe in myself—and that part was bigger than the part that wants to believe in God. It wasn’t even a confidence thing—I wanted to believe that I was okay to take care of myself, I didn’t need anyone except for myself. I was swimming in a sea of pride.
So, that explains why I rejected advice and council. When I was told, to “pray about it” I didn’t trust that He was even listening to me anymore. When people told me, “I’m praying for you,” I wanted to tell them not to. I din’t want God’s help. I wanted to help myself because I had made myself the center of my life. When I was asked what God would do if I left and came back, I said He’d welcome me back. A prodigal. But I’m going to be honest and say that I didn’t believe what I was saying. I didn’t like it, but something in me was telling me that God would be finished with me. I would have exhausted His efforts.
And that’s why it hurt so much all of the time—I kept looking to myself for the answers only to find that I didn’t have any.
I tried to be the savior of the world, and I couldn’t save the world—I couldn’t even save myself.
This is my testimony, friends.
My entire life, I’ve believed in God. I always knew He was there, and I always knew I was supposed to love Him.
I tried to find security in church (the building, not the people). I lost it.
I tried to find security in people. I lost it.
I tried to find it in religion. I lost it.
Where was my next option? Me. And what happened? I lost it.
So here we are. Nearly a decade of trying knowing Christ, four years of following Him, and I’m finding that maybe I didn’t know Him as well as I thought I did.
Okay, so what does this have to do with Christmas? Well. . . it has everything to do with Christmas.
So, I’ve been in Kent since the end of the semester. I’ve loved this a lot. Truly. I love living in Kent. It’s one of my favorite places to exist. I feel safe here.
The downside of this, of course, is that I’m alone. My room-ie is gone, most of my friends have fled. That’s okay.
I’ve learned that Christmas isn’t a fun time of year for everyone; I’ve learned that statement applies to me. That’s okay.
I’m thankful for being alone; God used it to help me realize what I’ve been doing.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas. I get kind of sad thinking about how hard this time of year is for me. I feel alone a lot, I feel orphaned sometimes. I’ve forced myself to feel comfortable being alone because it’s easier for me be alone than with other people. I’m working through a lot of hard things right now, so if I feel something “easy” I stick to it.
I was kind of cynical yesterday when I was thinking about Christmas. I was feeling that scratchy record feeling again; do I even believe something as outrageous as God becoming a man so that He could eventually die?
It is kind of crazy, isn’t it? I literally write fiction and even I have a hard time believing that God became man. The whole story just seems whack sometimes. An angel really appeared to Mary? And Mary really conceived Jesus? And Joseph really didn’t stone her? He really stayed with her?
Not in that economy.
And when I woke up this morning, I talked to God a little bit. You know what He said to me? Caitie, maybe you have so much trouble believing because you believe in yourself more than you believe in Me.
I was like, “ok, can You stop being right?” (He can’t).
And I think today it hit me why it’s so important to believe in God. It was my testimony. I was never satisfied in myself. I couldn’t believe in God because I kept trying to measure up to Him so I could believe in myself. I couldn’t put my eyes on the cross because my eyes were on myself.
My half-belief in Jesus meant my whole-belief in myself. And when you believe in yourself before anything else, you start to realize some things. I realized that it was so hard for me to believe that Christ came because I don’t believe it’s something that I would do.
And when I talked with God, I finally understood my dilemma.
Emmanuel. It means God with us. It means God came to Earth to live as a person. He came to start a revolution that changed everything—He was the savior of the world and He washed feet. He was fully God and fully man, yet He chose to die for me—someone who thinks so little of Him compared to herself, someone who hardly believes in Him.
I don’t know if I would do it.
My actions and my feelings may not always make the most convincing argument, but I don’t want to be the Savior of the world. We already have One of those. And He’s already with us.
My prayer for you (and for me), friend, is that we would really rejoice in the miracle that is Jesus—that someone was so inherently self-less that they chose to come live on this Earth and then to die in a horrible way on our behalf. I think that’s the quirkiest thing. I pray that we would rejoice that we aren’t the savior—that we’d sing “joy to the world” because I mean—He really did that for us.
Christmas is hard for me—I think it might be that way for a really long time. I’m learning how to operate in that space; this Christmas, I’m letting God back in. I’m letting Jesus be my Savior.
And I hope that you will too.
You’re in my prayers,
grace and peace.
As is the Quirky Tradition; here is a recipe.
A Quirky Recipe—copied exactly like it is in last year’s post.
Okay, so I’m a bit upset with myself for not posting a recipe this season, so I’ve decided to include a recipe for my favorite cookie !!! I don’t actually know if this is a Christmas cookie or not, but like, I only ever see them around Christmas time so here it goes.
Also, I’m a celiac so this recipe is gluten-free. I guess use regular flour if you’re too cool to use rice flour.
Obnoxiously large photo of cookies ✔
Long blog post before even seeing the recipe ✔
Lol, okay, so let’s get started. First, you’re gonna wanna make sure you have ALL of these ingredients BEFORE you start baking because once we preheat that oven of yours, we aren’t starting over.
- 1 1/2 cups of all purpose gluten free baking flour, or rice flour, or coconut flour, or wheat flour if you’re a chump.
- like 1 tsp of baking soda
- I guess salt? Idk, I usually don’t put the salt in it, but my Grandma’s recipe calls for like half a teaspoon of it. Let’s get fancy and call it a pinch.
- 1/2 cup of softened butter. I usually use the stick kind. Remember that one stick of butter is 1/2 a cup.
- 3/4 cup of peanut butter. I usually use Jif (used to be Jiffy if you’re a conspiracy theorist). But like you can use whatever peanut butter brand you wanna use.
- 1/3 cup of sugar. You’re gonna wanna put like an additional 1/3 cup to the side to roll the dough in before we bake.
- 1/3 cup of light brown sugar. I don’t have a remark for this one.
- 1 egg. not two, not three—ONE egg. lol, you can use two if you want, but it’ll ruin the recipe.
- 2 tablespoons of milk.
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. You probably have some in your cupboard somewhere.
and then of course under NO CIRCUMSTANCE should you forget to unwrap nearly an entire bag of Hershey kisses. If you unwrap too many, remember that you then have an excuse to eat the rest without anyone being able to judge you.
Okay so once you know you’ve got all of those ingredients, it’s important to preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
I don’t actually know why you have to preheat it, but I get anxious about not preheating. I’m a rule follower.
Now for the DIRECTIONS
STEP ONE: put that butter and peanut butter together in an appropriately sized bowl and BEAT THE HECK OUT OF IT until its all smooth and creamy like a huge bowl of buttery peanut butter.
STEP TWO: add that 1/3 cup of sugar and light brown sugar. You’re gonna wanna beat it until its all fluffy and stuff. When you know, you know.
STEP THREE: add the egg, milk, and vanilla extract. You know the drill—beat it well.
STEP FOUR: stir in that flour, and the baking soda as well as the salt if you’re in the mood to use it.
STEP FIVE: if there’s any ingredient I forgot due to my imperfect nature and humanness, please add it now.
STEP SIX: okay. this is the moment you’ve been training for—remember that additional sugar I had you set aside? It’s time to bring that over. Now, very carefully—don’t manhandle the dang cookie dough dude—roll the dough into about 1-inch balls. It’s okay if they’re an inch and a half—you’re human, and you can have the big cookie. Roll the ball of dough into the sugar—get it all sugar coated. lol…don’t be afraid to sugar coat it.
Once they’ve been coated in sugar, place them on a cookie sheet, and then put them into your oven.
This is important. They only take like 8-10 minutes to bake—SO SET A TIMER OR SOMETHING. Don’t let them burn.
STEP SEVEN: once they’ve finished baking, take them out of the oven (don’t forget to shut the oven off if you’re done baking for the day/night).
This is important. IMMEDIATELY press a Hershey Kiss into it after baking. The cookie will crack around the edges but don’t worry, you’d crack too if someone just stuck a piece of chocolate into you.
Once this step is completed, remove from the cookie sheet and then you can place them on a wire rack or parchment paper…or you can shove them into your face. It’s up to you though.
I guess you should know that this is supposed to take you like 20 minutes altogether, but let’s be real—you’re gonna be in the kitchen for like an hour or something. This recipe is supposed to make like 4 dozen, but I only ever get like two out of it. Take your chances.