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Friday, October 29, 2010

high fidelity.

word of the day: high fidelity \ˈhī - fə-ˈde-lə-tē, fī-\ the reproduction of an effect (as sound or an image) that is very faithful to the original

I never saw the movie High Fidelity. In fact, I don't even know what it's about. The only thing I know about it is that John Cusack is the main character. Every time I think about the movie, I think about my friend, Kelly, because she hates John Cusack. She wouldn't even watch Serendipity with us in college because of her disdain. Well, that and the fact that it was a totally lame movie.

The picture to your left is Kelly watching a movie before Holli's wedding. It seemed appropriate.

This post isn't about the movie High Fidelity, though. It's mostly about faithfulness.

I've been thinking a lot about faithfulness ever since Jake was accepted into medical school. Upon hearing the news, people's responses usually went something like, "Praise God!", "That's an answer to prayer!", or "God is faithful!". All of the above are true and we definitely felt the answered prayers, but something just made me keep dwelling on the word.

It was a word that got stuck in my head. And usually when a word gets buried in my head there's a lesson to be dug out. But you know that by now.

I suppose it made me wonder what people would have said if Jake had been rejected. I doubt the responses would have been filled with such resounding joy, but does that mean it would have made God any less faithful?

Like I say to my students: Do I really have to answer that?

God's faithfulness isn't contingent upon the outcome of the situation. God's faithfulness is present in everything. It is abundant in the "good" and in the "bad". I thank God for the fact that Jake was denied acceptance last year. I needed him around this year.

If you're someone who proclaimed God's faithfulness when Jake was accepted, then don't get me wrong, I agree with you. I'm thankful for the excitement and joy you directed toward us. I just can't help but think that I only acknowledge God's faithfulness when I feel as though everything is falling into place. It's easy to see His faithfulness when our prayers are answered in the ways we hope.

I went back to Hosea today. God continues to entice me to the desert and He continues to whisper truth to me while I'm there.
I will betroth you to me forever;
Yes I will betroth you to me in righteousness and justice,
In lovingkindness and in compassion,
And I will betroth you to me in faithfulness.
Then you will know the LORD.
-Hosea 2:19-20
God is faithful. It is not just a character trait. It is simply part of His nature - His character. He epitomizes the word itself.

The chapter of my devotional tonight was "the faithful heart" and as I began, I was excited to be reminded of God's faithfulness. I wanted to focus on how much He loves me and how He continues to draw me to Himself.

[insert buzzer sound] wrong.

Well, I mean, I did read about that.

But more than anything, I was reminded that I can't just stop at the part where I revel in God's faithfulness. I have to give it back. I have to surrender myself and all that I cling to outside of Him.

I was reminded tonight about the reciprocal nature of faith. I can talk until I'm blue in the face about how faithful God is. I've experienced it. I've felt it. But what good is God's faithfulness in my life if I don't offer it straight back?

In The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life, Hannah Whitall Smith says,
"He has given you all, and He asks for all in return. The slightest reserve will grieve Him to the heart. He spared not Himself, and how can you spare yourself? For your sake He poured out in a lavish abandonment all that He had, and for His sake you must pour out all that you have, with-out stint or measure. Oh, be generous in your self-surrender!"
My reserve grieves God.

And yet, He continues to call me into the desert.

High fidelity. Apparently, a high fidelity system recreates sound. And the sound that it plays back is almost identical to the original. In fact, were you to cover your eyes and play back the recording, you would not be able to determine the difference between the playback and the original. It's that real. It's that perfectly representative of the original recording.

Oh to have a high fidelity faith. Oh to serve with the same reckless abandon as God. Oh to act as a perfect recording of the example He sets for me. I am reminded today of my need to strive for such faithfulness. I am reminded today of how often I don't.

Upon further investigation, High Fidelity the movie is about a guy and a bunch of breakups. If you were to ask Kelly, she wouldn't blame all the girls. I mean, it is John Cusack after all.

I often think about my life as a story. If my story were titled High Fidelity, I'd like to think that it would hold a much different meaning. And a different actor. Because, frankly, I'm with Kelly on that one.

"High Fidelity (2000) - IMDb." The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 30 Oct. 2010. .

Martin, Catherine. "The Faithful Heart." A Heart That Dances: Satisfy Your Desire for Intimacy with God. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2003. Print.

Strickland, Jonathan. "HowStuffWorks "High Fidelity"" Howstuffworks "Electronics" Web. 30 Oct. 2010. .

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


word of the day: arrive \ə-ˈrīv\ to achieve success

Today, I arrived. Today I mark myself as an official teacher. Yes, it's true. I have made it.

I suppose some background is required.

One of my favorite classes in college was United States History. I think most of the reason I loved the class was because Dr. Gundlach, the professor, loved the subject that he taught so much. His passion for all that was founding father was evident and I soaked it all in.

I remember one day very vividly. Dr. Gundlach walked in a little late. He made his way to the front and got all his things in order before he spoke. He told us he was sorry he was late, but he had a small mishap right before class. Apparently he had spilled coffee all over his desk and the papers that were covering it. He was late because he was trying to dry out all that the coffee had touched.

He then went on to tell us that you are not officially a teacher until you spill coffee all over your desk. He arrived that day. He made it. Just as I did today.

This morning started out as any other. I stopped at Rich's on my way to work for my usual two-shot, large vanilla latte. I adorned the lid with a pumpkin sticker and went on my way. Once at school, I walked into my room, turned on the light, and walked down the hallway to put my lunch in the refrigerator.

When I returned, there it was. The styrofoam cup stood proudly on my desk and the pumpkin glanced up at me with its goofy grin. I went to take a drink, missed my mouth completely (which shouldn't surprise anyone), and poured coffee all over the clean pages of my lesson plan book.

I stared proudly at the stain before I could bring myself to clean it up. This was it. The moment I had been waiting for. I had arrived.

Obviously I told my students. And obviously their response was an immediate round of applause. I don't think any other response would have been appropriate.

So there you have it. Let it be known that on Tuesday, October 26th I, Molly Flinkman, have officially become a teacher. I have also officially started looking for the opening of my coffee lid before I take a drink.

Maybe that's the greater achievement...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


word of the day: allure \ə-ˈlur\ to entice by charm or attraction

I taught my ninth graders the word "enticing" this week. We began a unit on mood in literature and spent some time discussing six specific "mood words" that would come into play throughout Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado."

I pulled out a story from my elementary school days in order to further illustrate "enticing."

Witch's Brew happened during many a recess. All of us girls would gather by the benches on the corner of the playground to assign roles. One would be the witch, one the mother, and all the rest of us would be the children. The witch would escape to her "lair" by the tether-ball poles and we would set up "house" at the benches. Shortly after, our poor mother would leave her children to fend for themselves while she went to the "store" to buy us food.

As we played, the witch would make her approach, stand outside our "door," and offer us candy if we would follow her.

She enticed us with the promise of candy. Do you see the illustration? I'm not sure all the ninth graders did...

Of course we would follow her because we wanted the "candy" (and if we didn't follow, the game was pointless). She would lead us to the tether-ball pole lair where we soon found ourselves "trapped" because of our own innocence (I think we used those exact words too). We would "cry" and "panic" until our mother returned from the store and followed our trail to the lair. Upon arrival, she would march in a circle around the poles chanting very softly, "Witch's Brew! Witch's Brew! Witch's Brew!" Slowly but surely she would gain force as we joined in and when the chanting reached a certain decibel level, the witch would be defeated and we would skip "home" happily.

Either that, or we would skip back into school, because I'm pretty sure this game took up most of recess.

When I finished the story, each block of ninth graders looked at me dumbfounded and at least one kid per class asked, "You seriously did that more than once?"

The answer is yes and I know some of you reading this can back me up (although some of my details may be hazy).

My ninth graders, inquisitive souls that they are, then made a good point. They noted that sometimes we are enticed into good things and others bad. They said that the smell of baking cookies when you get home from school is enticing you to walk inside whereas the witch enticed us poor helpless children into a trap. We noted today that even though Fortunato is enticed by the wine, Montresor is, in fact, enticing him to his death (See "The Cask of Amontillado").

At this point you're probably wondering why the word of the day isn't enticing.

This is why:
Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her.
- Hosea 2:14
Allure: to entice by charm or attraction

I was reminded today of God's winsome heart. Of His tender voice leading me into the desert.

But why the desert? Why does God allure me to such a dry and desolate place?

The desert is still. Quiet. And what better place to hear God's voice than a place where there is no other sound? In the desert, God's voice can be heard more clearly.

The desert is bare. Empty. And what better place to feel the need for God than a place where everything has been taken away? A place where you can clearly see that He is all you need.

Isaiah 49:2 says, "In the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft, in the quiver hath he hid me."

I read some great commentary on this just a few days ago:
"In the shadow. We must all go there sometimes. The glare of the daylight is too brilliant, our eyes are injured and unable to discern the delicate shades of color, or appreciate neutral tints--the shadowed chamber of sickness, the shadowed house of mourning, the shadowed life from which the sunlight has gone. But fear not! It is the shadow of God's hand. He is leading you. There are lessons that can be learned only there" (56).
Perhaps God leads us into the desert because it's only there that we can learn what He has for us.

Perhaps I just have to follow the tenderness of His voice.

Just like we followed the witch to the tether-ball poles. Except that it's totally different.

Martin, Catherine. "The Broken Heart." A Heart That Dances: Satisfy Your Desire for Intimacy with God. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2003. 53-58. Print.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


word of the day: jake \ˈjāk\ all right; fine

In case you wanted a life update, everything is pretty much Jake around here. I think the following about sums it up:

Monday, October 11, 2010


word of the day: abscission \ab-ˈsi-zhən\ 1.) the act or process of cutting off 2.) the natural separation of flowers, fruit, or leaves from plants at a special separation layer

First and foremost, I want to thank my mom for letting me plagiarize her fall photos. She sure has an eye for the beauty of creation and they fit perfectly with the theme of this post. Plus, you may remember that I don't have a lot of extra time lying around. So, thanks mom. You're pretty much amazing.

Everything seemed especially quiet today as I drove up my driveway this afternoon. Fall always seems to enter the picture with a certain stillness in the air and it never ceases to make me all the more reflective about things.

Every year I wish Fall would overstay his welcome. Each October, he comes to town, unpacks his suitcase of vibrant colors and cool temperatures, and then gets the heck out of Dodge before you've even asked him to stay the night. It's not like we complain about his presence. If anything, you'd think he'd like the incessant attention he gets for being so wonderful.

For some reason I felt the urge to research the falling of leaves today. Maybe it was the stillness in the air. Maybe it was my desire to know why they don't stick around for longer. Either way, I came away with some interesting new knowledge thanks to Google and Robert Krulwich.

Apparently leaves don't fall off trees as I always thought. Apparently "Fall" is a little misleading.

Abscission, by definition, is the act or process of cutting off. The wind isn't responsible for the falling of leaves, rather, the tree itself is. According to Krulwich, once the time comes for a tree to lose its leaves, "little cells appear at the place where the leaf stem meets the branch. They are called "abscission" cells. They have the same root as the word scissors, meaning they are designed, like scissors, to make a cut."

The leaves don't fall off. They are cut.

Does that rock your world like it did mine?

Then I got to thinking that perhaps there was more for me to take away from abscission. Like maybe the act itself was symbolic of something bigger.

That's when I stumbled across Romans 11:13-24:

I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

I suppose at this point I could go into a deep theological discussion about the parallels between abscission and God's covenant.

That's not what struck me the most, though.

Frankly, I am most encouraged to see God's Word in action. He tends to paint vibrant pictures for me during the times when I need to feel the reality of His word the most.

Perhaps you'll take away something different. Perhaps you'll explain to me the deep theological parallels between abscission and God's covenant. That's the beauty of it, though, isn't it? God promises to meet us where we are. He promises to continue to reveal His truth to us if we'll only open our eyes and look for it.

So hurry. You'd better get a good look at Fall before it's too late. I think I overheard him saying that he'd like one more Pumpkin Spice Latte before he starts to pack his suitcase. That doesn't give you much time.

Krulwich, Robert. "Why Leaves Really Fall Off Trees : Krulwich Wonders… : NPR."NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts : NPR. 30 Oct. 2009. Web. 12 Oct. 2010.

Monday, October 4, 2010


word of the day: clothe \ˈklōth\ to endow especially with power or a quality

You may remember my friend Holli. She's the one who coined the phrase "Have a mango day," and one of the ones who helped teach me what true community looks like. The most important thing you need to know about Holli right now, though, is that she got married last Saturday.

And she was stunning.

Holy cow, she was stunning.

So were her bridesmaids...

I'm such a wedding sap and I love every moment of the festivities. I have found that I don't often cry at weddings, however. Instead, my chin tends to get really quivery. Sometimes my eyes well up, but more often than not, my mouth just trembles. I get this quivery feeling at two specific moments: The first is if someone asks me to tell them how much the bride means to me. If you ask me to simultaneously sum up my relationship with a best friend as well as encourage her into matrimony, my throat automatically starts to tighten. The second time is during the processional. There is so much power in that gaze isn't there? It's a feeling of "we're really doing this, aren't we?" and "there isn't anywhere else I'd rather be."

Pretty emotional, quivery stuff if you ask me.

Also pretty symbolic.

As I was reading my Bible today, I kept coming across passages that reference God clothing us in righteousness.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
- Isaiah 62:8

Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, "Remove the filthy garments from him." And to him he said, "Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments." And I said, "Let them put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments.
- Zechariah 3:4-5

Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure -- for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
- Revelation 19:7-8
What a beautiful picture Holli's white dress paints for me of God's faithfulness as a relentless Romancer. God promises to clothe me in fine linens of righteousness for no other reason than because He loves me. No other reason.

And that makes me think of my quivery chin as Holli walked down the aisle. Perhaps it wasn't all because of the way she and Chris were gazing at each other. Perhaps it is because that moment reminded me of my need to draw near to God. My need to declare to Him, "You have me. You have my heart completely."
Out on the farthest edge
There in the silence
You were there
My faith was torn to shreds
Heart in the balance
But You were there
Always faithful
Always good
You still have me
You still have my heart
I thought I had seen the end
Everything broken
But You were there
I’ve wandered in Heaven’s gates
I’ve made my bed in Hell
You were there still
You have me
You have me
You have my heart completely

"You Have Me"