Friday, December 7, 2007
tonight i was struck with a sudden memory that embodies the sentiment. a memory of a few christmases in a row, that encompassed the feeling i struggle to describe. my last few years of high school included membership in a club that focused on service. a friend of mine had started the club and i, not to be left out of anything, willingly and curiously joined. the 'service' we rendered on christmas eve forever is blazed in my memory. many people have had similar experiences. well off kids take gifts to families without. we would gather the items weeks in advance, have a party to wrap them, and then bundle up late at night, christmas eve, to deliver them.
i could begin now to talk about how great it felt to me, the warm fuzzies i got, how they were so grateful for us, but i will not. i have a book sitting on my desk titled, when charity destroys dignity. i have heard testimony of a friend about how handouts as a child broke his mother's heart because of her own inability to provide for her children. yet still, there was something alive in those nights. God was moving in those nights. they were not the end all, nominate me for sainthood moments that i originally believed them to be. as i stood, fumbling to find words to communicate with a latino father in tears, i grew to see that night as more than rich girl makes poor family eternally grateful. instead i saw people. people like me. God instilled a hunger in me to give, to help, in whatever way i could. God instilled in me a drive to defend the cause of immigrants, because i saw them for who they were. i have fought at many a dinner table for the respect and understanding of those in our country just trying to make it, while they take the first steps to learn how to live here, including learning the language of the land.
perhaps God let me see poverty as reality so i could live in it too and not begrudge God. perhaps God let me be touched by those lives because He was working all things out for good in all of our lives. perhaps.
all i know is that on these christmas eves, as i lit my candle at my home church's midnight service, i found that indescribable feeling tight in my chest. there were no words to describe it. all i knew was that i was now forever changed. and that God's gift of His only Son meant so much more, not because i had given, but because God had given abundantly more.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
i think we can learn a lot from children.
yesterday i held two-year old melilla, curled up in my arms, scared from a scene in little mermaid 2. i held her and whispered, "shhh...it's okay. i know it's bad right now, but it will all be good in the end. i promise. trust me. i know."
at that moment i felt God's arms wrap around me and whisper, "shh...it's okay. I know it's bad right now, but it will all be good in the end. I promise. trust Me. I know."
Sunday, August 19, 2007
i have 3 friends in jamaica right now with a team of high schoolers. and they are getting slammed with hurricane dean. we may loose contact with them soon. we just don't know what will happen. in times like these, with so much unknown, you don't know if the choices you make are going to be right or wrong. because you have no idea what the outcome will be.
earlier this week another friend got a phone call that her brother had been in a wreck. as of right now he's paralyzed from the neck down. he's had a surgery to stabalize him, but it will be weeks before they will be able to see if he can regain any feeling.
both situations seem grim. hopeless.
it reminds me of a time when my newborn nephew lay in a hospital attached to machines that pumped his heart and lungs for him. the doctors didn't hold out much hope for him either.
but then God's people prayed. and he breathed. on his own. something the doctors said was impossible. God healed my nephew completely. it was, in all accounts, a miracle.
so now we pray again. knowing that God is a miracle worker. that He is more powerful than any force in this world.
with God there is always reason to hope.
Friday, July 20, 2007
here's a few fun tidbits:
basically everything in the world can be cleaned/disinfected with white vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, vodka, or any combination of the above. - my fear was that my house would stink with the vinegar, but it's odorless once it drys!
furniture oil can be made with 2 parts olive oil, 1 part lemon juice - my wooden table looks great!
we don't have a spice rack, so they all go in the cabinet. it was a mess! then i found two cheap baskets and label the tops of each spice with a sharpie. it's so easy to find what i need and the baskets are like drawers. (i wanted to put the spices in one of our kitchen drawers, but the spice jars are too tall.)
wooden cutting boards are much better than plastic. it's true! wood absorbes and kills bacteria in it's grooves in just minutes. bacteria can live in the grooves of plastic cutting boards for weeks, even after being washed. the old theory about wooden cutting boards being worse for you is totally false!
man, i've been totally home ec-y lately.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
simply because God has been doing way to much to sit down and write about it.
i admit that the early summer left me fearful of what would lie ahead. i could only imagine that a summer separate from so many i loved and trusted, doing things that i was fearful of could only end badly. that i would emerge from this summer worse off, strained, and further from God. that my friends would grow apart from me. that i would never truly be open with those i love and they would move on before i could give and before i could let them in. that the happiness i had enjoyed would only be fleeting memory.
i couldn't have been more wrong. in late may (after my last post) God nudged me to realize that just because change was on the horizon, did not mean that it equaled things getting worse. i wrote these words in my journal:
"yet i have been told that there is hope in God. that His
hope does not disappoint. so that there is this possibility, faint,
growing in my heart, that there is hope. that maybe i will grow.
that maybe things will get better this summer. that i will become more
open and relationships will deepen. that i am not approaching a future
of doom, but instead a future of hope. there is hope."
and it was tested. day after day, this hope was tested. there have been so many rough spots and stretching moments this summer.
God showed me through a tim keller sermon that i have hope because of my future i have in Him. nothing is to difficult in light of what He has planned. because this life is not the end. i have so much hope in Him.
and hope has been found in the strangest, smallest, and beautiful ways. a guy on campus pulling my chair out for me causing me to realize that there are wonderful, godly, gentlemen out there and that maybe i can let down my pride and stubborn independance and receive love and graciousness from another.
that God could use me to teach a hardened group of high schoolers. that He does provide the words when you have nothing to say and no idea how to say it.
that God gives me the strength to serve in places that are unsafe.
that He doesn't give up on me and puts people in my life who do the same.
that He is still calling me overseas, He just wanted me to trust Him with the location.
that He finds me worthy enough to continue teaching me even though i fail to listen so often.
that He's helping me be more honest.
that He puts people in my life at the right time (sometimes even strangers) to pray with me.
that He brings unexpected new friends.
that He has given me the ability to sleep again - without medication.
that He has renewed my passion for asia.
that He is sovereign.
it's true, actually, what the Bible says - Hope does not disappoint.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
as for me, i will remain here in my new town of fort myers. i have begun a sunday school ministry with 2nd and 3rd graders, be a camp missionary for a week with high schoolers, and do all things media for the mission to the best of my ability.
part of me wants to be heading off to the foreign field with everyone else, but i have a sneaking suspicion that God has much to teach me here. may my eyes be open and my ears ready to hear whatever the Lord leads.
Friday, April 27, 2007
just a thought. we laugh at little children for always enthusiastically answering the sunday school answer of God or Jesus to every question. perhaps they are really wiser than us all because they know that is really the ultimate answer to everything.
and then it becomes not at all suprising that God would put someone as stubborn as me in ministry with children. it reminds me of that very fact i strive to lose the pretense of thinking that i know so much more than these children i'm "teaching."
i am a tightrope walker
balancing alone before the crowd
grin plastered on
feet precariously searching
for a place of rest
crowd smiles and cheers
i look for a moment to check
i cannot hear them
cannot see their faces anymore
the rope beneath me seems steady and strong
yet i cannot ignore the voice
the voice urging me to fall
after how far i've come?
my path to the rope was not easy
but i endured
i rose to the challenge
that i believed was mine
i made the climb
i saw others fall from the ladder
fall to the ground
some rose, some left
to paths unknown to me
as i continued to climb
i knew my way was priveledged
i knew i was strong
cheers of the crowd are food to me
accolades that are undeserved
my pulse races
there is no net!
nothing to break my fall
i would be left
like others. like before.
left to crawl
to where? to what?
what lies outside the walls i've built?
the voice reassures me
'you will heal'
'you will make it'
but to what?
this rope, this balance i've made
i was sure it was the way
the path i was to take
but i can't see its end
do i press on?
do i fall?
fall to be broken
broken to be healed?
what will become of me
when i no longer walk this tightrope
can i trust the voice?
the voice calling me to fall
will i be able to lay aside pride
can i trust the voice
that urges me so
and know that the voice will also be
the healer of the broken tightrope walker
and i will not have to crawl alone
Thursday, April 26, 2007
because reality is - even in the Christian realm - people hurt other people. we don't live out grace. we struggle to live in faith and let God be in control of our lives. it is so much easier for me to check out and try not to think about it...but ultimately it always blows up in my face...because when i try to make things happen myself, to do things first and then try to make that who i am...instead of just being, with God in control, realizing He is in everything, and that there is nothing i can do...period...outside of Him...when i do all that...that's when my sin comes out all the more clearly (just not to myself).
"the Lord will fight for you...you need only to be still."
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
i believe in children.
call it idealism or hope in the future generations. perhaps it is more of hope of what i know God can do in future generations.
i believe that kids can grasp bigger concepts than we give them credit for. the essential truths that we teach baby adult christians should be taught to actual our baby christians (non-adult) also. we can teach children bible stories all day and all night, but if they come away with "God likes animals" from the noah tale we have withheld so much from them. we would never dream of stopping there with someone whose walk with Christ we were invested in. we would tell them of how God hates sin, but He remembered noah. that God was glorified and you can trust a promise from God.
we can give kids stories. or we can help them encounter God. they already know He exists. they seldom doubt. we just rarely give them a chance to know and experience God.
i believe children can pray and mean it. i've seen it. i believe that the Holy Spirit is alive and working in children. i believe God's power and Jesus' love is applicable in the lives of "God's shortest followers."
Friday, April 13, 2007
what has not escaped me is daily, beautiful and painful, lessons in grace, hope, community and love.