The end of my string.

They say everything always looks better in the light of a new day, so of course, it’s cloudy, dark and raining today.

Even that can’t go right for me right now.

I had one of those high-stress weekends that left me feeling like someone beat the crap out of me and then right after I stood up, I was hit by a truck.

I’m exhausted, I’m tired, I’m at the end of whatever rope I ever had in the first place, and even that was really more like a string or a piece of generic floss to begin with.

I want to sleep for about three days right now, under big blankets and with the History Channel narrator playing in the background. I want to curl up in the corner of the world and just sit there until next April.

It wasn’t just one thing that threw me off, it was like 70. I’m juggling too much. I know it. But I can’t figure out how to do anything about it.

I talked with a really good friend on a couch yesterday for an hour and a half. I cried most of the time. I told her I was empty and exhausted and that I didn’t know how to handle it. And all I could think the whole time was, “God, I hope she just keeps sitting here with me right now, because I don’t know if I have it in me to get off this couch and stop crying.”

I just really, really, really hope it’s sunny tomorrow morning.

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Why go to church?

One of my very favorite Christian writers Rachel Held Evans recently posted about the struggles she’s having about church. How she’s been turned off by many things about church lately. And although she still likes the idea of people giving her casseroles when she has a baby (a tradition church people are famous for), she’s just not sure she can find peace at church right now.  

As a youth director at a church, I’m often grilled on why anyone should bother showing up on Sunday morning, so the topic is something I’ve given a lot of thought to. Below is my response to her post (which I also left in her comments section). 

I can completely understand your frustrations. I’m a paid part-time youth leader at my church and we are extremely contemporary, which helps with some of it.

However, being a paid staff member at a church gives you a totally different perspective, and many times that’s not a good thing. Unfortunately, many people feel they have the right to judge you harshly when you work at their church in way that’s totally different from how they would treat a regular new member or even a co-worker. My soul has endured many wounds in the role. Also, the politics of running a church can be ugly and I admit I’ve questioned my relationship with the church more during my time in this role than at any other point in my life.

That being said, I keep going back to two things. 1. It’s easy to be a Christian alone with your Bible locked in room somewhere. The hard part is living it out amidst all the messiness that is a world full of humans. 2. There’s no such thing as a perfect church, and even if you find one, it won’t be perfect the second you join.

Church is not God. But, I do think that being part of a community of believers is important to growing closer to God.

Through the church’s faults, we learn forgiveness. Through the messy behind-the-scenes clashes we learn how to create peace. And of course, through the fellowship and the mission work and the changes we see in the lives touched by the church, we get a little bit of a better understanding of love.

I have come to understand that only God can meet the perfect expectations I have in my head, and that in turn helps me extend grace to the church and those in it.

I’m sure there’s a church out there you would feel comfortable in and I pray you find it, not because I think of you as a “project” but because despite all the bad that comes with “church” there’s so much good stuff too.

Like working with a youth who decides to give up drugs and alcohol; or taking kids on a mission trip and seeing them try to live out their faith in a new way upon return; or finding a new friend who helps you understand scripture in a different way; or growing close to a spiritual adviser who you not only respect, but also love; or seeing a youth lead a week of Vacation Bible School and grow into a leader before your eyes; or listening to the praise band sing “I’ll go where you send me.”

And of course, the casseroles.

Love and prayers,
Crystal Lindell

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A post for the internet machine in the moon attic, circa 2108

I’m exhausted.

One day, when my great, great grandchildren fire up the old 2012 internet machine in the moon attic and they find my blog and my Facebook and my Twitter and my LinkedIn and my old college newspaper articles, and they read about my life in excruciating detail, they will look at each other and say, “She was always tired.”

I should be working on my youth group lesson for tomorrow night, but I haven’t blogged since before the health care mandate made it past the Supreme Court, so I figured I should say, “What’s up?”

Just in case you don’t stalk me on Facebook, I recently got back from a trip to Colombia for my candy job. Colombia, as in the country, not the Sportswear company, (which spells it with a “u” anyway).

It was awesome, amazing, fantastical and I would genuinely move there. To sum up: The drug violence is down, I never once thought I was going to be kidnapped, I spoke mucho Spansligh; the weather is 80 degrees every day there; they have fruit from the Garden of Eden because they grow it year round in their stupid perfect weather; 1,000 pesos is worth roughly 50 cents, which made me feel very rich all week; and some of the toilets don’t have seats on them, which kind of weirded me out.

Also, at one point, after a factory tour that left all of us sweating, I turned to our guide with all the Spanglish confidence I could muster and said, “Estoy” for “I am” and “Caliente” for “hot.” Except together, those two words translate to “I’m horny.”

“I’m hot” is actually “Tengo calor” for those wondering.

I went on that trip to Colombia just hours after giving the sermon at my church and having a huge pancake breakfast fundraiser for the mission trip.

And, the second I got back from Colombia, we had Vacation Bible School. During that week, I was truly blessed to have some amazing people around to help me survive not only sand art, but multiple renditions of Baby Shark, do, do, do, do, do, Baby Shark! (Hi Monica! Hi Sarah!)

On the last day though, I was a bit of zombie, and at one point a four-year-old girl was chatting with me and I thought she was pushing her chair in, and then in the middle of telling me about her the 12 pretend friends she brought so she could get a prize for bringing friends, she looked at me completely exasperated and said, “Umm, can you help me get my elbow unstuck from this chair?”

And I was like, “Oh, crap! Sorry! I didn’t realize you were actually stuck!”

Her arm had somehow been bent over the portion of the back chair where we store the Bibles and then gotten jammed.

Luckily, Sarah, the amazing youth who helped me run VBS, was smart enough to tell me to unbend the little girl’s arm so we could slide it out. If it had been left up to me alone, I would have probably resorted to lard and/or firemen.

Then, about an hour later, during our finale water balloon fight, the under wire in my bra broke. And it started jabbing into my skin like it was trying to stab me to death but it had patience to do it right and to cause as much torture as possible. So I ran to the bathroom, and grabbed some duck tap and tried to mend the problem “Burn Notice Style”, channeling Michael Weston:

“When your bra brakes in the middle of Vacation Bible School and you can’t leave to change it, the best thing to do is to grab some duck tape and make a patch. It won’t hold forever, but it will get the job done.”

Le sigh. I love Michael Weston.

Now, if only I could figure out how to fix my “over scheduled life” problem with Michael Weston wisdom, maybe I could finally get around to watching the latest Burn Notice. this could be the week Fiona finally gets out of prison you guys!

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