Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Simplicity, Names, Love

"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort." - Jane Austen

I awoke this morning with a fresh resolve to bake something! It has been awhile since I have had a free day to myself, especially to bake a treat. I decided to try a delicious Dutch Apple Bread recipe (as seen in my photo above). Thanks to Mia for the wonderful recipe! It was so delicious!! I enjoyed it during afternoon tea with my sister whilst reading chapters 20 and 21 in Sense and Sensibility. I believe it's my third or fourth time reading S&S and I find myself more captivated by the story this time than ever before! Oh, it was glorious to be at home all day long! I am not ungrateful for my college studies, but it's just very exhausting to be at school six days a week. My heart longs for simple living. School just complicates everything.

I have been reflecting on my name recently. It's been frustrating to me that my parents meant to name me Erika with a K but never got around to changing it on my birth certificate so on official documents it is always Erica with a C. According to the state, I'm Erica, not Erika. You wouldn't think that one letter could make such a huge issue, but it surely does. I have always much preferred Erika for it's roughness in appearance. Does it not suggest a bold independence and romantic, warrior-like personality? Whereas, a C gives a softer appearance of a submissive, calm, and gentle soul. I usually prefer to sign my name as Erika wherever I go, but when it comes to signing documents I am forced to keep with the C. To most people, I am Erica - shy, sweet, quiet. To those who are my family and closest friends, I am Erika - much too passionate, excessively romantic, and terribly independent (not for my best, I assure you). If it has ever confused anyone as to why I go by both names, depending on the situation, now you all know why. Most of the time I am forced to with the C when I am signing for something. It gets me irritated every time; why couldn't my parents just have done it right from the beginning? haha! I could very well just change it now, but you know what a taxing process these supposedly simple tasks are. Having to change one letter in my name just doesn't seem worth the effort...but it would comfort me knowing that I can sign it as EriKa whenever and wherever I want. Nevertheless, I cannot help but think of there being a more divine purpose for this small mistake in my name. It has made me consider keeping the C and accept it as the way I was meant to be named (along with cultivating the type of personality it suggests - more submissive and gentle-hearted) and yet I cannot help but prefer Erika. Do you not see what a dilemma this has become?!
I realize I think too much on these little issues. Anyway, for the sake of fun, I placed a search on my name and came up with a bunch of fascinating results:
Erika is Old Norse for "ever powerful" or "ruler of the people."
It is of Old Norse origin, and its meaning is "forever or alone, ruler".
The Scandinavian form of the name means Ruler of All.
The English form of the name means Brave Ruler.
The Germanic origin means Honorable Ruler.
The Latin origin is known in English as the plant Heather.
Erika is also the name of a yellow German flower.
Erica has 28 variant forms of the name.

A brief analysis of the name (this made me laugh; this is me in a nutshell):
Your name of Erica makes you very idealistic and generous, with the strong desire to uplift humanity leading you into situations where you can express your desire to serve others.

You want to assume responsibilities and to look after people; however, you can become too involved in other people's problems and tend to worry.

Your name gives you a natural desire to express along artistic and musical lines.

You desire a settled home and family life, and are expressive and attentive to your loved ones.

Although the name Erica creates the urge to be reliable and responsible, we emphasize that it causes an emotional intensity that is hard to control.

This name, when combined with the last name, can frustrate happiness, contentment, and success, as well as cause health weaknesses in the nervous system, worry, and mental tension.

Emphasis on emotional intensity. haha...oh dear!

I have taken up a weighty topic in my Biblical studies as of late: Love. The vastness of it is gloriously humbling. I shall continue my discipleship posts with any noteworthy reflections or quotations that I come upon, but I find myself pulled to search out True Love - to know it, to live it, to give it. I was very stupid once to think I knew it. It took a sin, a betrayal, and then the power of the Cross to open my eyes to reality. I have only ever seen a distorted, self-seeking reflection of it. And I myself lived that way for a time. Only after my heart had been pierced and shattered did I realize my great ignorance. It was only then that I came to the Lord in desperation, "Father, make me a student of Thy Love. I need it! I must know it or I shall never truly live!" And ever since that day that I cried from a place of deep, unimaginable pain, by the grace of God, I have awoken everyday to the fresh resolve: Lord, teach me Your Love. I am, most humbly, a student of His Love.

But man's love for God, from the very nature of the case, must always be very largely, and must often be entirely, a Need-Love. This is obvious when we implore forgiveness for our sins or support in our tribulations. But in the long run it is perhaps even more apparent in our growing - for it ought to be growing - awareness that our whole being by its very nature is one vast need; incomplete, preparatory, empty yet cluttered, crying out for Him who can untie things that are now knotted together and tie up things that are still dangling loose.- C.S. Lewis

"There are times when something comes into our lives which is charged with love in such a way that it seems to open the Eternal to us for a moment, or at least some of the Eternal Things, and the greatest of these is love.
It may be a small and intimate touch upon us or our affairs, light as the touch of the dawn-wind on the leaves of the tree, something not to be captured and told to another in words. But we know that it is our Lord. And then perhaps the room where we are, with its furniture and books and flowers, seems less “present” than His Presence, and the heart is drawn into that sweetness of which the old hymn sings.

The love of Jesus, what it is
None but His loved ones know.

Or is it the dear human love about us that bathes us as in summer seas and rests us through and through. Can we ever cease to wonder at the love of our companions? And then suddenly we recognize our Lord in them. It is His love they lavish upon us. O Love of God made manifest in Thy lovers, we worship Thee.
Or (not often, perhaps, for dimness seems to be more wholesome for us here, but sometimes, because our Lord is very merciful) it is given to us to look up through the blue air and see the love of God. And yet, after all, how little we see! “That ye may be able to comprehend what is the breadth and length and depth and height and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge” – the words are too great for us. What do we comprehend, what do we know? Confounded and abased, we enter into the Rock and hide us in the dust before the glory of the Majesty of love – the love whose symbol is the Cross.
And a question pierces then: What do I know of Calvary love?

Some of my sources for study:
Studying Love (part one)
Studying Love (part two)
The Greatest of These Is Love (A sermon series by John Piper)
If - Amy Carmichael
The Four Loves - C.S. Lewis


Taylor said...

Hi Erika,
I stumbled across your blog from Jasmine's at Joyfully Home, and I was wondering if you would mind telling me what a "non-cessationist" is! I searched on the internet and couldn't find much about it.

I enjoyed reading your blog! Baking is something I love to do as well. :) And, I love Yeshua too!

May the Lord bless you,


Lady Kathryn said...

I love studying love! That's probably one of my favorite things to think on, especially God's love. I find the more I learn, the less I know or understand. ;) Good luck on your study, and I have a similar problem with the name thing. I was named "Sara" but everyone constantly puts an h on the end! Not exactly like your problem, but I still understand. :)

Taylor said...

Thank you so much for getting back with me! I really appreciate that! Hey... I'm a non-cessationist too and didn't even know it, LOL! :D

I'm glad you like my blog... feel free to stop by anytime. :)

May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you as well!


Maggie said...

I just came across your blog and its amazing! I love it and now I am following it too. I loved reading your post and now I am going to have to try that recipe too, YUM! :)

I would love if you came by my blog and followed me,
Many blessings,

Anodos said...

Ah, studying love! This is something God is ever trying to teach me. Consider this: in this fallen world, true love flows only from death. Love requires death. Jesus is the greatest example of this. But you yourself will never truly love another until you have first died. Not death for death's sake, but for life's sake. Apart from death to self and life in Christ, every act of "love" carries in its heart a self serving motive. What is love? Isn't the question, rather, "Who is love?" God is love, and we must become like His clear air through which His love flows unhindered - flows outward to those around us. Love is something that flows through you with and outward goal - if you seek for the inflowing love from anyone other than Christ, you will end up with no love at all. A final thought: if you try to love, and never allow yourself to be satisfied until you have found true love, you will embark on a life changing journey. But be warned, the first few steps look something like this: first, you learn that love is about giving, not receiving - then you learn you are incapable of loving (through repeated failures) - then comes utter death and dependence on Christ alone ("I can't do it Christ, but you can, you did, and I believe you will in me - I am utterly dependent on You") - and all this is the prelude to real love actually beginning to sprout in your heart.

Emily Anne said...

How sweet the top photo. I love tea & coffee, such uplifting drinks. :)

Erika said...

Thank you for the lovely comments, my dear readers. :) They are much appreciated. I love hearing from others!
Anodos: thank you for your in-depth comment. My heart resonates with what you wrote about true Love. Amen. To God be the glory. :)