Monday, August 23, 2010

finding home

The past year and a half since returning to America has been a whirlwind of activity. In it I have left home, yet again, and moved to a place that, though "southern", is not familiar. I am living in what is termed a Metroplex and learning to drive among people who frequently remind me of the self-centered, post-modern culture that is our society. I came alone and have felt alone. I excitedly started studying a subject dear to my heart in an institution that represents a faith bigger than my understanding. Discouragement quickly set in the first semester as I was reminded of the demands of an academic life as well as of the imperfections in people and organizations. Yet through all the activity I have learned to trust God in ways I thought I had already learned and understood. I have seen His lovingkindness towards me, knowing I do not deserve it. I left home and God has given me a new a home. I came alone and have been given a faithful companion to share life with. Through the disappoints and discouragement He has redirected my focus from the frail and fallen to the Everlasting and Perfect. For those who have chosen Christ, this world is not our true home. We are still awaiting that glorious place. People are not our strength or hope. We have a Strength that does not grow faint and a Hope that is everlasting! Blessed be the name of our God and Father and of our LORD Jesus Christ both now and forever more! For His faithfulness is from everlasting to everlasting and His lovingkindness knows no end!

Friday, January 2, 2009

the old man

Here in Latin America they have an interesting tradition that for the New Year they build a paper man stuffing him with fireworks and old newspapers. They usually will put an old T-shirt and pants on him and when it's exactly 12 a.m. on New Year's Eve they pour gasoline on him and set him on fire. They call him El Viejo Ano or the Old Year. It's symbolic of being done with the old year and looking forward to the new one. As I think about this unique way of celebrating a new year I cannot help but think of how it relates to all of us who have put our faith in Christ. The Scripture tells us that "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2 Cor. 5:17 Literally the person we were before is dead, and we experience a rebirth. We are remade. We have a new beginning, a new life because of the work done for us on the cross. My prayer is that we will live this year, 2009, as Christ's new creation. All of our sins, our old life, has been burned away! Maybe we need to have a burning of our own, but instead of it representing the Old Year, it be our old life.

"...putting off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator." Col 3:9-10

Thursday, November 6, 2008

coming to a close

it's crazy to think how quickly time is passing. yet another year is ending and my time here in Colombia with it. i have learned so much while being here. mainly in my personal walk with the Lord. He has reminded me again and again that our ministry is only as strong as our walk with Him, and our walk with Him only as strong as our personal prayer life.
i've been doing a lot of soul searching trying to be sure that i'm where i need to be. longing to finish well. in doing that i've been reminded of His power and faithfulness. knowing the work is His and He will take care of it. mine is only to be obedient with what is given to me. there's such solace in that truth and in knowing that He can be trusted. i know these sound like such fundamental things, but i needed to be reminded of them. needed to be still and know that He is God. that He will be exalted among the nations. that His word does not return to Him void, but accomplishes that for which it is intended. and that He works all things for the good of those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose.
what an honor and adventure to know and serve the Most High!

Monday, July 28, 2008

1/2 Marathon Blooper

super hero pose before the race
me, lucas and katie

at the end...smiling through the disappointment

Well, as many of you know this year I entered and trained for my first BIG race, a half marathon with my friend Katie. The day of the race was yesterday, July 27. It started off well, with us arriving well stretched to the start 30 minutes before time. The plaza where everything began was crowded with more than the expected 10,000 participants!!! It was insane! We were both excited by the hustle of it all and decided to make a quick trip to the bathroom before things got started. As we patiently waited in a line of easily more than 30 people we kept an eye out to see when the line up was beginning. Not noticing any change in the crowd we continued in the waiting process.

45 minutes later we were finally leaving the indescribable port-a-potty experience and still waiting, with no luck, to see some semblance of people moving in the direction of the starting line. Finally it happened, so we joined the crowd blaming the 30 min delay on latin society.

As we're preparing to start, I begin to get my running music ready on my ipod. Katie and I are feeling really good about our run. The crowd is cheering as people push closer to the starting line. With emotions high we're off to the start and all's well. We are able to set our pace easily and avoid being knocked down by the mob. We were doing really well and feeling good about it all. As we are coming up on the 10k mark, our halfway point, we're still feeling good and pumped up but we notice that the course starts looking a little odd. Turns out that we had somehow missed the call for the 21k amongst the more than 10,000 people and the potty line and started with the 10k instead. I cannot say how disheartened and straight up mad we were. I mean we trained hard for this race and at the end of it all we ran the wrong one!! We did jump over the cones at the end separating the 21k and 10k, thinking if we switched lanes the course would keep going(not so), so we did get medals for the 21k. I don't feel bad about that though, I mean after all that's what we trained for!

Sadly, we have no one but ourselves to blame for this mishap, I wish we did, it'd sure would make me feel better. I am thankful to say we had a safe and good run and I feel blessed for the health and opportunity to have been able to do it. I guess it's just all part of life and you learn from it, right? We did however run the full 21k distance last Wed. So in our defense, we have run a 1/2 marathon, even if it wasn't official. All-in-all it was a fun, latin experience and I pushed myself harder than I ever have with my running. So 10k, 21k. We started it, we finished it, it was unforgettable and who knows maybe the next time we'll actually run in right one?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

the best thing

I don't know how many people can join me in saying that they are "doers". I love to be busy...the more activities, the better. Some endearingly call this the "Martha complex" from the familiar story in Luke 10:38-42. Recently the Father brought this condition that I share along with many others to my attention as being the reason for my tired and cranky attitude.

It's so easy for me to get involved in things, only to have those things turn into worry and stress. The crazy part is, it just kind of naturally happens to me. I'm serious! You know what I mean...helping people out when they ask, being reluctant to say "no", feeling like it's all part of what I need to be doing. I mean, I'm a missionary right? Aren't we supposed to help and serve everybody? Well, the Lord has shown me that the answer is "no". This is not to say that these are not good things, just as Martha was doing good in serving the Lord. But I must ask myself, reflecting on what the Lord said of Mary, "Are they the best thing?" Keeping in mind as I ask this question the purpose Christ has called me to, and if the things I'm doing are keeping with that purpose.

Refocusing my efforts and daily activities has not been easy. I've had to go back and say "no" to things I had already agreed to do. But the sweet release and peace that has come from letting many of these things go makes it worth it.

This process has brought me to yet another step in the journey of learning to live by the grace that saved me. So in closing, dear friend I have to ask you, are you choosing the best thing?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

things should not be this difficult!

So for the past week or so I've been trying to sign up for a class in a university, just so I can have a presence on campus and get to know the college students of this culture. I returned yesterday, after taking a written and oral exam last week, to fill out paper work and pay for the class. Last week during the testing I had asked the professor questions about all I needed to do to be ready for this class, etc. She gave me info and I thought I was good. Well, as I proceed to do what I've been told...calling the school, no one can direct me where I need to go. On top of that, no one knows who I need to talk to!!! So yesterday I go up to the school at 6:30am to see if I can't have more luck in person. When I get there I find that the one office I need to get into does not open 'til 8:30am. Wonderful. So I wait. At 8:30 I enter the office and somewhat explain my dilemma. I am then left to wait another 30 minutes, at the end of which I'm told that they can't enter me into the data base because last Friday was the last day to register for classes. They then send me to the other side of the campus to talk with the department head and see what can be done. She informs me that she will send an email to explain my situation in hopes that someone will pity the poor foreigner, but cannot assure me of anything, She then sends be back to the office I was first in. When I return I speak with another worker in the office. He tries to get me into the program, when unsuccessful he calls the administration asking for permission to register me. After another 30 min wait he tells me that he has no idea when administration will give him a definite answer and for me to go ahead and leave and they will contact me when they can tell me "yes" or "no".
I left the office quite frustrated and down-hearted. Thinking to myself that never in the states would simply signing up for classes two days late be such a hassle when it was the professor who gave me wrong info in the first place!! These people want more students right? They want me to give them my money, no? Then what's the problem!!
At this point I must admit that I had a cultural revolt going on inside me. I could not stop thinking how things should not be this difficult and that everything is so much better and more simple in the US!! After calming down and refocusing, I know that is not necessarily true and that the Father more than likely is trying yet again to teach me patience among many things. There are always difficult moments and circumstances in life that we are not in control of, but we do control how we react to them. ~Father, help me to rest in You and trust You in these moments. Not letting my personal frustration cloud the way You would have me to respond, that is, with Your unconditional love. Amen.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

most wonderful time of the year!

December. Christmas. I love this time of year! Everything about it is wonderful, from the cheerful music and decorations to that crisp feeling in the air. It's a wonderful time to savor friends, family...and life.
As I ponder this year and all the changes and new experiences that I have had, I cannot help but stand in awe of the joy that comes from being alive. There are such wonders in the small experiences of drinking a dr. pepper, eating a hamburger, and being with friends. Things we aren't always conscious of, but that fill our lives. Life can be so complex and overwhelming, but then it's so simple...just live! I remain convinced that it's the litte things that make it worth the living.
I feel so grateful to be where I am today, learning new things, meeting new people, being able to look back and see how my Heavenly Father is shaping my life for His glory.
I guess there's something about this season that makes me so reflective, and maybe that's what makes this the most wonderful time of the year!