Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Beauty in Pain

Wow, it has been so long since I have written here. There are a few blog posts that begin similar to that; except this time, by far, it has been the longest time I've gone without writing: seven months.

I wish I could say that what has kept me away from writing are incredible and exciting things going on in my life. But that isn't the entire truth. It's definetly been an interesting journey the last few months. God promises in Philippians 2:13, " for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." He has been doing exactly that, working in me. 

If I had things my way, certain situations would have panned out differently in my life. Yet, God being who is he, still continues to lavish his blessings on me,  surprising me with an even better plan. 

Last Thursday, I had to leave my boyfriend in the airport in Costa Rica. It was a really hard, sad, and emotional day. We've been dating now for a little over four months, and he lives over 3000 miles away so we spend time together very infrequently. Thursday was a really long day flying and then driving a few hours back to my house. At the end of the day I was crying and a song came to my mind by Philips, Craig, and Dean, "You Are God Alone." 

                                                                 You are God alone

From before time began
You were on Your throne
Your are God alone
And right now
In the good times and bad
You are on Your throne
You are God alone

Those lyrics hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt like a God was using it to say, "I'm on the throne. I am  sovereign, and I love you." All of a sudden, I felt such peace and comfort in my heart from the Holy Spirit. It's barely been a week since I've returned but I've never cried out to God, my only help, like this before. It has been a difficult transition, but I am leaning fully on God. I know He is at work in me and will continue to. I know He is acquainted with the little details of my life and cares for me. What is better than to be called a child of God, a daughter of the one true King? I'm beyond blessed and thankful for how he loves and cares for me.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Stateside: thoughts

Thoughts from my plane ride back to the states; yes I mention the book Blue Like Jazz but no, this is not a commentary on the book :)

Have you ever really payed attention to the earth below you when you fly? I haven't. 

Well not until today. 

Today I decided to make the most of my three hours without internet by intentionally bringing a book to read.  I just started "blue like jazz." I'm three pages in and I am captivated by the story. And I haven't even gotten that far. Words make me come to life. Reading words strung together so beautifully in a sentence make my heart skip a beat. I can appreciate the effort it takes to carefully choose words to convey thoughts. That's why I write. It's my outlet. Even if no one wanted to read my blog, I would still write. 

So here I am reading, soaking in the beauty of the sentence structure in "blue like jazz"; the simplicity of the words, the causal recounting of one man's experiences. 

I set the book down a moment to look out the window. I'm flying along the coast of Nicaragua; briefly, I look down below me and observe the beautiful ocean. What catches my eye are the waves, I see the white caps, breaking, closest to the shore. And then I look again, squinting my eyes. The waves, from this distance, aren't moving. The white caps of the waves actually look like splattered toothpaste on a mirror. 

And I started to think... This is what life is like. How often do I skip over the little blessings and details in my life that God is doing? When I looked at the waves, at first glance, I naturally assumed that I would see the waves crashing upon the shore. What I realized is that I had to pay attention and focus really hard to see any movement from the airplane. While I'm flying, looking over this amazing earth, above the clouds I'm convicted. I'm convicted because last night I listen to a message about how as Christians we sometimes want to accept Christ's sacrifice and then jump to going into all the world! I'm convicted because how easy is it to fly above all the worlds problems, to have a mindset of "I'm a Christian" but let me look past the needs of others? It's easy to say "Here God I'll look at the grand wonder of your beauty and majesty" but how can I not stop and focus on your daily influence in my life? 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Maybe One Day...

Maybe one day:
I'll learn to have a playful imagination again.
I'll conquer the world.
I'll stop trying to be such an adult.
I'll dream big, wild, crazy dreams.

Maybe, with each passing day,  I'll begin to regain perspective. That life is short. And beautiful and hard and sometimes ugly... All at the same time. Maybe one day with fearless abandon I will declare my dreams to the world like my friend Naydelyin from Tiribi. When I asked her what her dreams were she told me, "I want my grandma to come back and live with my family...because she's in prison." Maybe one day I'll have an innocent but blunt maner of speaking like most children have.  Maybe one day I'll have faith like Naydelyin... You see, the thing with kids is there is always hope. For some reason there is always a silver lining.

Maybe that's why Jesus tells us to learn from the little children.

Naydelyin, six years old, Tiribi 

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Great I Am

God said to Moses "I AM who I AM."

Today was a pretty amazing day. I don't know where to begin this post except by saying God blew my mind and encouraged my heart. At the same time. 

I woke up this morning and got ready to go jogging. It was a beautiful morning! I was listening to music on my ipod doing my thing when the song "The Great I Am" came on. Um. Wow. It was exactly what I needed to hear!!! Recently the devil has been trying to discourage me and bring me down. I've been feeling sad and wondering why God would call me to Costa Rica only to be beaten up. (Note: not literally beaten up, it's just that I've been throwing myself pity parties.) I was literally thinking these thoughts yesterday! The transformation from yesterday to today has been incredible. God used the lyrics in that song to completely renew my mind. These words particularly grabbed my attention, these words brought me to tears, and drew me into worship. Yes. While I was jogging. I was that crazy girl hahaha :)

The mountains shake before You the demons run in fear
At the mention of the name King of Majesty
There is no power in hell
Or any who can stand
Before the power and the presence of the great I AM

like whoa. 

God has power and dominion over EVERYTHING. All of my problems are his. He holds me. My trials, I do not walk through those alone. Satan wants me to think that I am in control of my life. When I  begin to think that way, I get discouraged easily. This song was clearly screaming "My God is for me.  He is for me." All I can say is that God works mightily in the lives of his kids, for that I am so thankful. :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

the least of these

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 
Matthew 25:40

Yesterday morning, Alix, Charles, and I went to an orphanage. Before we arrived, I assumed this would be a fairly normal experience. Wrong. I didn't realize that this was a special needs orphanage! I had an incredible time with those precious kids. The establishment we went to is run by Nuns. They run a tight ship, but it was so cool to see these amazing women dedicating their lives to serving these kids.

There has been a desire in my heart to work with special needs kids for some time now. I helped care for my sweet friend, Lindsay, for about six months, and she had a chromosome disorder that confined her to a wheelchair. Those six months were some of the best months of my life. I learned so much from her and I learned to appreciate a lot of things I had been looking over in life. Little things are important. :) It is practically impossible to put into words how it feels to bring joy into someone's life. It is a crazy awesome experience.

I couldn't help but think, "All life is precious." The entire time we were with those kids I could not stop smiling. Each and every one of them is full of life, happiness, and personality. And now here they are, abandoned, being cared for by strangers. Strangers with huge hearts. Another thought I walked away with was "All of us were planned." Perhaps my parents, or your parents, didn't "plan" to have you. But God did. He knew when you needed to be born. He has given me purpose. What an honor to show and share his love in such a simple way for these children! Feeding them breakfast, playing with them, loving them, showing them there is a world outside the sterile walls where they spend most of their time. Fresh air does wonders! :)

I know these beautiful children are near and dear to the heart of Jesus. I walked away from yesterday morning feeling overwhelmed with emotion. I am so thankful to be able to serve Jesus in this way. It may seem simple, but I know one thing, as I closed the gate door behind me, I know I was the one who was changed for the better.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

There is a time

 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
  a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

January 1st, as I was getting ready for the day, the words "for everything there is a season" popped into my mind. 

Often at the beginning of the year, resolutions are made, only to be broken later on in the year. (Those of you have successfully accomplished a new year resolution, congratulations, I am referring to the rest of us losers haha) We silly humans do this every year. I'm sure God gets a good belly laugh, "Here they go again." Now, granted, your resolutions may be legitimate, but for some reason we, the human race, like to try to work for our worth. A lot of times resolutions are for self improvement. (again, not a bad thing) I know I definitely do things to just to do them, so I feel satisfied, as if I accomplished something. However, I am finicky. The only thing I am consistent at is failing. My failings, though, help me realize my need for my savior. I am so thankful that I cannot fulfill my desires, that I cannot do anything on my own. 

Something as silly as resolutions made me realize that God is constant. I experience good times and bad times and I feel a million different emotions. However, in all of my seasons, God is always there. He holds my right hand and leads me in the way everlasting. He knows exactly what is going to happen to me before I do. What is interesting to me, is that all of these different seasons come to pass for my benefit. God tells us that everything works to our good, and ultimately for his glory! It is just a process of becoming more and more like him, sanctification. I think God uses all these various times in my life to break me down, to help me, in some form, begin to grasp my huge need for him. On no one else can I be dependent, only Christ. 

Two songs have been on repeat in my head lately, Not for a Moment by Meredith Andrews and Never Once by Matt Redman. Both of these songs are completely clear in telling about the character of our God. He knows everything that has passed, is happening, and will come to pass. And in every moment he is there, with me. 

After all You are constant 
After all You are only good 
After all You are sovereign 
Not for a moment will You forsake me 
Not for a moment will You forsake me

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

I can't say if I have made any resolutions this year, in years past I have. But I do know a few things: I want to realize anew the glory of my savior every day. I want to savor every situation that I encounter, knowing that God has placed it in my life for some lesson. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

The love of a father

During my summer in Costa Rica, I got to know a family that I love so much. Allan and Laine met each other in Costa Rica, at the time, Laine was living here as a missionary. She has since returned to live in the states, with her daughter Chloe, while she goes to school to become a nurse. They are working on getting a visa for Allan because he is a Tico (Costa Rican) and it is a difficult process. It is really hard on Allan and Laine to live in two different countries. So it is always exciting to spend time together, especially during Christmas! 

I've had the opportunity to watch Allan interact wth Chloe and it is precious. I can't imagine what it must be like to be away from someone you love but your own daughter? I know it is hard on him. But when I see him playing with her, talking to her, and loving her, I began to think. Allan is just a man here on earth and while he may love Laine and Chloe with all of his being, it is still imperfect. What I love about God is that he uses examples in the bible to help us understand him on some small level. How cool is it that countless times God tells us he is our father? When I watch Allan interact with Chloe I am reminded of the infinite love of our Heavenly Father. I love when God reminds me he is never far off. He hasn't abandoned me. His love it is unending and it is perfect. 

Maybe Christmas time is difficult for some of you. This holiday possibly just reminds you how tense your relationships with your family are. But remember, that a great loving God sent his son to take on human flesh. God created us. He knew we had sinned and would never be able to meet his standard of perfection. That same God made a way for us, he had a solution for us. If this holiday is typically a hard reminder of friction and tension, I urge to look up. Where does your help come from? When we look up up we can't focus on ourselves and our problems. We can only look to the one who is our help. 

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:13, 14)