Capacity

Friend: “Have you celebrated getting in to Bethel yet!?”
Hannah: “Actually no celebrating – basically just worrying and then repenting for worrying *3 laugh emojis, followed by a wide eyed emoji*

in-de-pend-ent
adjective
1. free from outside control; not depending on another’s authority (that’ll preach)
2. not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence
3. Hannah Riggin

I am independent to the core; through upbringing and wiring, I am determined to be responsible and to accomplish as much as possible without letting anyone ever see me sweat. Maybe you’re like this too – always covering your bases, never wanting to inconvenience anyone.

I don’t notice the extent of my independence until incidents like the one that happened at Sam’s Club a few weeks ago:
It is my responsibility to pick up all of the food for these weekly community cookouts that our church helps to facilitate. We plan to feed about 150 people every Thursday.

Feeding 150 people for the first week of our summer cookouts at Sam’s Club looks something like this:
3 boxes of hamburgers
2 boxes of hotdogs
Pans for grilling
4 monster sized cans of baked beans
3 boxes of 42 pack chips
Oh, don’t forget the lemonade
And also the massive quantity ketchups and mustards
Oops! We need plates and cups and napkins and cutlery

…the list goes on. For anyone that’s ever been to Sam’s, you know that the size of the items in your cart are significantly greater than they would be if you made a quick run to Walmart.
My cart was spilling over, and as I made my way to the front of the store I realized I had forgotten one super significant item – the buns.
The slippery, “I’m gonna need 16 of each of you”, “Don’t you dare squish me with the other items in your cart” buns.
I made it about 3 steps and the buns would slide off of my grocery mound. That’s right — ALL the way through the parking lot, to the back of the parking lot of course (did I mention half of Winston was there?). Take three steps, drop some buns, pick them up, lose some dignity. Repeat.

I needed help, and I wasn’t willing to ask. Contrary to my belief, it is a bit difficult for 1 person to singlehandedly feed 150 other people.

grocery

It isn’t a surprise that I find myself in very similar situations planning to move across the country for ministry school.

The truth is, I want to say that I’ve got it, that I don’t need help. I want the option of spending a half hour in Sam’s Club parking lot and just not telling anyone about it. I want to hide the effort, the cost, the need, and the worry. Some call it pride, some call it consideration, and honestly, it’s probably a little of both.

I think we all reach moments in our lives when our capacity has reached its limit. In those  moments, no matter how much we’d like to step it up and carry a little more, we simply can’t.

“Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.”
Isaiah 54:2

The Lord gave me this scripture while I was applying for Bethel, telling me that in my season, my capacity had been reached. He wanted to give me more, but there was no space for anything new in my life the way that it was – things had to change, and I didn’t know it at the time, but the curtains of my habitations were being stretched out (literally).

It’s funny because that verse seems to contradict everything that I mentioned above. I’m realizing something, though: There is a huge difference between our own, independent, “I will do this” capacity and the one we obtain in surrender.
When I refuse to ask for help – whether it be because of pride or out of fear that God coming through is only a story people tell themselves to get through hard times, and not a stark reality, I greatly limit how much I can receive.

It would be like if a family member offered to clean your messy kitchen for you. You listened, said thank you, and then proceeded to clean the entire thing yourself before they got around to doing it.
It’s fine – the kitchen is still clean, but stepping in to handle it kept the family member from getting to contribute.

I am not in ANY way saying that our ability to get in the way is greater than God’s ability to help us – his arm is never too short. But for me, in this season, I do feel him inviting me to let him in. I hear him saying “I really want to bless you – will you let go of your fear of not being taken care of and let me outdo anything you could have accomplished in your own effort?” And in “funny later, but not at the time” moments I hear him saying “Han, you literally can’t do this one on your own – even if you wanted to.”

May each of us be granted the bravery we need to believe that we are loved and cared for. May each of us be granted the courage to know that the provision of tomorrow isn’t dependent on our performance or our own capacity, but in perfect Love that never waivers or changes its mind.

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I am sharing this journey via blog on the world wide web for a few reasons:
1. I have every intention of blogging more regularly throughout this journey, because I’m coming to find that story is powerful and one of the tools God uses most to encounter other people. Let’s call this the prelude to all of the blogging entries to come.

2. PRAYER. Y’all, this ISFJ, green-blue on the DISC test girl HATES CHANGE and LOVES SECURITY. I hate change even when it’s awesome, just because it’s different than what I’m used to. There is nothing familiar in this guaranteed to be spectacular season change. (There are many other areas to be covered in prayer, I am sure, it’s just the quirkiest, yet also realest thing I’m facing right now).

3. SUPPORT. This is the hardest for me for a million reasons – my “no that’s okay I’ve got it” independence, and the fact that as humans, we love to point to something and say “this measurable proof shows that this is worth investing in” .. but those voices fade in the face of last-minute transitions and no-other-choice.
Tuition for the school year is $4,550. In addition to this cost, I have to cover living expenses and continue to cover all of my adult bills. I will be working part-time throughout the school year to supplement, of course, but it is very scary going from full-time job money to part-time, the cost of living staying the same but the income being cut in half. Because the school is not accredited, student loans are not an option.
Talk about a faith walk — one of those moments where the rubber hits the road, and the theology that is much easier to quote is actually put to the test.
If you would like to give toward this adventure, donations can be made via Paypal
1. http://www.paypal.me/hannahriggin

THANK YOU so much for reading, praying, and supporting!

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Unprepared

I still think about him.

The kid I graduated with. The one that was so kind and quiet and everyone loved. The one that had been forgotten about by so many of us until his name leaked throughout news stations all over Ohio.
The kind, quiet, actually-not-a-jerk kid that everyone knew who was now significantly heavier, charged with the murder of his mother, and looked completely lost.

What happened?

I think we all have moments throughout our lives when we realized that none of us are immune. The abstract, devastating-yet-not-affecting-us stories about faceless people we have no connection to suddenly become the girl we knew since kindergarten that died of cancer in her early twenties, or the ornery little boy who got on our nerves in third grade that robbed a taxi driver and has been locked away for it. 

But something happens when the pain of life touches us.. People who we would have deemed as evil robbers or killers or druggies or WHATEVER suddenly become human beings with stories and relationships and personalities. 
The girl who died of cancer isn’t a distant story that I can extend my condolences to – she’s a friend whose birthday parties I attended growing up, who I played in band with, who would literally pack slices of bread for lunch and we wondered how on Earth she got  nourishment – a girl who had friends and foes and siblings and cousins and boyfriends.
The boy charged with murder isn’t someone I can just label as horrible and move on, because I remember having 6th grade classes with him and seeing him laugh in the hallways and playing football and surviving through school like the rest of us. 

I refuse to believe that there are some good people and some bad people in the world. I refuse to believe that we’re a product of our choices, and some of us are just idiots that make wrong decisions and should be punished for it. 
I think that life happens, and pain happens, and we’re thrown curveballs and a lot of times have no idea how to handle them. When we realize that we’re all human beings trying to make it, doing the best that we can, we put our stones down and help each other up. 
None of us are prepared for the curveballs. I’m overwhelmed this morning thinking about the pain we’ve all endured and the events we’ve faced that pulled the rug from under our feet. And I want to tell you, whoever you are, that you are doing a really great job. You’re doing the best you can with what you’ve been given, and even if you’ve made some really bad choices and never dreamed of being in the position you’re in right now, it’s really okay. There’s no step by step manual on how to handle abandonment or rejection, betrayal or loneliness or loss of a loved one. You’ve never had to handle those things before, so there’s no expectation for you to get it all right. There’s always redemption, and things will get better, and you’re not alone.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

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(On a much more light hearted note…) TUESDAY APRIL 15TH IS HALLE ELLIOTT’S BIRTHDAY. She is my roommate’s younger sister, a faithful reader of my blog, and has randomly encouraged me in more ways than she knows. PLEASE LET HER KNOW how valuable, loved, talented, and ridiculously treasured she is this week (because she is all of those things).
Halle, you’re maturing beautifully into someone who fights for the hearts of those around you (and you write the best songz EVR). I’ve watched you make hard decisions in the name of doing the right thing, and walk in honor despite the difficult seasons you’ve faced. SHOOT GIRL, I’M BUYIN’ YOU A BIRTHDAY ICEE.

[OH! And for the record, this blog counts as the ‘Monday’ blog, for this Monday, I will be out of town leading an intern trip.]

(And finally, on a much more potentially lame note…) I am well aware that this blog may be read only by a few of my close friends who believe in my writing dreams. HOWEVER, there may come a day when that changes and I might not personally know a reader or two (AND THAT WOULD BE SO COOL). So why not prophetically get the ball rolling by saying I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU.. So here’s an email address you can shoot things to; thoughts, remarks, maybe even questions – although I don’t know if I’ll have an answer – the idea of getting feedback excites my little heart ever so much. Anywho, the email isssss —>> hannahwritessometimes@yahoo.com