Friday, August 28, 2015

I choose vulnerability

Sometimes I have to remind myself
that around the makeup covered, smiling supermodels
who say that life is great
and refuse to cry over death and struggle
That I will still choose vulnerability

Sometimes I have to convince myself
that when people I have seen around
Ask me how I am
To tell them when my life isn't fine
And to choose vulnerability

Sometimes I have to whisper to myself
To keep going
That I don't always have to be smiling
But I always have to be loving
And that honesty is better "than having it all together"

And when that girl who seems to always wear the perfect smile
Breaks down and needs someone to find
She will choose me
Because she knows I won't smile at her
And tell her "it's only a bad day"

And when that little boy
Falls and scrapes his knee
I will run over to him
From my side of the sidewalk
And pick him up and cry with him

Because I will be soft
In a hard world
I will be brave
Brave enough to not lose my heart
Even though the world tells me to give it away.

Because I believe sensitivity is caring.
Listening is sharing.
And vulnerability
Is one of the most beautiful
And rare things in the world.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Alarm Clock

2 years ago when I was in Peru, a pastor told me that Jesus was His alarm clock. That if you trusted Him to wake you up in the morning, he would be faithful to not only wake you, but to provide time for you and Him to spend together. I remember in Peru, being awed at this idea of waking to the Lord.

I remember "testing" these theories and feeling full of joy when Christ, time after time, woke me up right when I needed too. I always seemed to feel more rested and happy when Jesus woke me up as well.

Fast forward two years later, back to the busy states of America. I had forgotten that Jesus wanted to be my alarm clock. A pastor spoke a sermon on the "why you do the things you do" and told a story of how every night, he asks Jesus to wake him up at the right time so that he has enough time to spend with Him.

So I decided last night, that I missed my morning time with Jesus, sleeping in, and running around like a chicken with it's head cut off... I wanted Jesus to wake me up. And today he did =) An hour and a half earlier, just at the right time, when I could wake up peacefully, be alone, and spend time with my Creator.

I'm excited to let Jesus be my alarm clock all year long =) And I encourage you, if you've never tried, to let Jesus wake you up in the morning so that you can spend time with Him too.

1 Samuel 1:19   They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD; then they went back to their house at  Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the LORD  remembered her. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

what matters

I just read an article entitled "Does God keep you up at night?"
 Read here: http://thelife.com/challenges/does-god-keep-you-up-at-night

A new college year is beginning so soon and my schedule looks oh so busy. New classes, new friends, opportunities everywhere and yet somewhere deep within I feel God saying to me "Don't be distracted from me and what I have for you. Everything else really doesn't matter."

There are so many things that I can occasionally stay up late to do- one of my favorites being reading a great novel. But when was the last time I stayed up late reading God's Word or in fervant prayer?

I am a Christian before anything else. I love God and tell myself that I would die for Him. I don't know where my life would be without Him. Yet do my time management abilities reflect my head knowledge of Jesus and what I say I would do for Him?

All I know and all I can say is:
I want more.
More of what matters.
I want more of Jesus and of surrender and of His glory.
And whatever that means this semester, my prayer to Jesus is take me; help me; use me. Because without you, I am a sinful, broken mess and only with you, I find true purpose and love.







Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wanderer

For the last week I have been living via car and camper, traveling, hiking, riding, biking Colorado. It has been a journey full of picturesque scenery, mountains and dunes galore, family bonding, family bickering, and dirty people smells. We have put away our technology, electricity, and our even lacking an abundance of clean water.

All this traveling and star catching has got me thinking, pondering, meditating on life.

It's just like when life gets simple- bonfire cooking, being surrounded with the people you love so much that they drive you crazy, and seeing the beautiful, beautiful country air--the world seems to get a little bit smaller. There is not so much that you care about- but the things you do care about come to a bigger importance. You realize there are fewer things that matter and the things that do matter are: family, relationships, laughter, nature, and most importantly Christ.

I think that so often we forget that we are only wanderers, passerby's, and tourists in this rat race we call life on  Earth. And while the smallest decisions and events here and now may make us cry, and cringe, and othertimes dance around for joy. In the spectrum of eternity I have to wonder where on the scale do these events fall.

It's so hard sometimes in the middle of college life, or work to just stop and pause and realize “This is not it” and that money, new job opportunities, fame, technology- none of it will last unless it is for Christ’s honor and glory and profitable to His name. Only one thing will last forever and that’s what we do for Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. It’s so hard for us to see the big picture of life and what our purpose is.

Have you ever heard the song “Friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of Him.” Only the relationships whose foundation is built on Christ can truly be rock solid. We find this true in families, in marriages, and in friendships. We can only love someone else as much as we love Christ for out of Him flows the ability to learn to love.

So wandering we do here and there, building different friendships, learning new things, and eventually saying goodbye to good times, good places, and people we love. But if it’s all done in Christ’s name it is profitable indeed, and not wasted gains? We must remember that this too shall pass, this time shall be over soon, and there will quickly be a new opportunity, a new place, and a new friendship waiting to be developed. Let us make haste for Christ’s Kingdom is coming soon. Although we are wanderers on this vast planet, soon we have the hope of a glorious homecoming with our Master, Lord, Savior, and King.

May your wondering spirit find peace and grace in the Lord Jesus Almighty. May He fill your heart fully with the abundance of His love.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge, and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The sweetest talk

"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up." Deuteronomy 6:6-7

If we are Christ’s, our sweetest thoughts will be of Him. We shall love to talk of Him; and as we speak to one another of His love, our hearts will be softened by divine influences. EGW- DOA

How often we love to share with friends our achievements or our silly stories. We love to laugh about the latest presidential elections, we make jokes about our past vacations, we share about our families: the good and bad. But why so often, with people we love, do we forget to talk about our beloved Savior?

Why is it so easy to talk about anything with anyone? But yet when we bring up the name of Jesus, people start to get offended, people shudder, hearts' start beating.. Is the impact of the talk of Jesus and His name not testimony enough that Jesus is real and the effects of His Holy Spirit and the fellowship of the saints has power.

Why is it so hard to mention the name Jesus to the lady at the market or the little boy in the road. It's like, I have no problem mentioning the beautiful whether but my priceless Jesus.. it really makes me hesitate.. Should I talk about Him here?

Should I be ashamed of His name?
Should I be careful to where I spread His glory?
Does his name bring offense or is improper to speak of with children?

Do I love to talk about Jesus? Are am I afraid? Am I timid? Am I ashamed? Why do we hesitate?

My grandmother passed away 2 years ago and I will never forget one thing she always told me. She always asked me at meal times if I remembered to pray. If I said I didn't she would gently remind me "Never forget to bow your head, close your eyes, and pray to Jesus in public so that you can bring attention to His name." A year ago, I realized the importance of what she had to say.

When I was younger, I would be embarrassed to pray and I would silently say a prayer. But then I began to understand that Christ calls us to bring attention to His glory, to show the world His beauty. This is our purpose in life to glorify Him through our actions and loving relationships.

How can I bring attention to Jesus if I am afraid or ashamed?

Christ does not call us to be timid. He is gentle with us and works with our weaknesses but His Spirit is bold and real and alive.

 To love is to step out: to speak words that need to be heard. To tell about Jesus wherever we may go. To shout the Savior's love in the marketplace, the shopping mall, and the college cafeteria. To speak softly, humbly, and boldly at the time He calls.



Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sm Year

I can't help but stop and gaze at the photos on Southern's SM page and wonder about each one of these new student missionaries that's preparing to go out. How will their year in service change them? What will their native country be like? Will they fall in love with missions just like I did?

I just want to hear their stories, see their faces, and most of all tell them "Don't close your eyes. Take lots of pictures. Write or journal daily and love until you can love no more and then be loved."

Today marks quite close to the two year anniversary since I left to Peru as a student missionary. I never could have imagined or captured quite the way my life and perspective would change after those eight months. Everybody says "life changing" and it sounds cliche but it's truer than true.

I reflect back to college students I meet and talk about being unsure with their careers or job choice, not knowing what to do with their life, or what the next step is. I ALWAYS tell them: Go serve somewhere around the world: it's the best thing you can do.

You see, when I went to Peru to live, I fell in love with a new way of life. A way of freedom from worrying about self and looks, a slower pace where you take the time to look at the stores and kiss each child's head, a culture where family is not taken for granted and is the core value. I fell in love with traveling, with orphan kids, with cooking homeade food on a little stove, with making relationships that were real, with feeling like I was making a difference, and most of all more in love with Jesus.

Peru changed me in many ways and it changed my goals in life. Before Peru, I aspired to be a physical therapist. In Peru, I realized that I felt God calling me to give my life to Him in global service as a missionary and as a nurse for His children. Wherever and however that may work, I'm preparing myself for service here in America or anywhere around the world.

I miss Peru and I miss global missions every day!

How bout you? Have you ever been on a mission trip or considered giving a year of your life to serve God's people? I just want to encourage you: it's one of the best decisions you will ever make =)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Every little thing-- clothing industry

I never thought much about the clothes I wear. The clothes I go through quickly, donating my dislikes each month. I mean, I know I have no many clothes. Yet I never thought about how me buying clothes could impact people in other countries- that the clothes I wear through so quickly can mean years of work in a sweat shop and dangerous lives in poverty. 

I take my clothes for granted among many other things. I am ignorant so often the affect of my careless, rich life style has on the environment and the rest of the world around us.

Watching "The True Cost" which is a movie about the effect of fashion and the clothing industry on millions of people worldwide dumbfounded me.There are so many things we are sheltered from- so many global issues- that go ignored, because people have heard too many problems and choose to look away. But clothing really? The clothing we wear not only reflects our character and how we view ourselves but how we view the world? Every little thing..

I encourage you to watch "The True Cost" for yourself and do some research about the clothing industry and the companies where you shop. Maybe we should change the way we shop, the way we wear, and the way we so quickly discard clothes.

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
"Refiners fire, be my hearts desire. I choose to be holy, set apart for you my Master. 

Research it for yourself:
http://evolvedfashion.com/2008/10/15/global-poverty-and-the-fashion-industry/
http://www.googobits.com/articles/p0-491-practical-ways-to-avoid-sweatshop-clothing.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071474/
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/09/12/london-fashion-week-ethic_n_3914479.html
http://www.fairindigo.com/blog.html
http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/02/poverty-wages-unraveling-cambodias-garment-industry/

“We need a system that is different from the current business-as-usual model where brands and retailers will shop around to different factories and say ‘who will make this shirt for two dollars’?" -- Liana Foxvog

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Family and the college transition

Exodus 20:12 Honor your Father and your mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land your Lord God is living you.

I love my family so much. They are my rock, the people that understand me the most, and some of my greatest role models: yet they are also *sigh that crazy family, that I sometimes want to just run away from and live my own life young and free.

I think it is obvious that we have some major "family issues" in America. You can see this in the mixed up priorities that place work, football games, and new job opportunities above family members' wellbeing. Parents and children fail to have loving relationships. Divorce rates are rampart. American elderly and grandparents are left to go to nursing homes to live their last years alone often without the support of the people whom they have lovingly poured so much sacrifice into.
Many college students are leaving their families without looking back. Taking their resources and money yet refusing to call their parents and becoming rebellious against them is an expected trend. Calling your parents and actually obeying is often seen as pointless and old-fashioned to the world.

College is a time when you leave your family for part of the year and begin to become your own person; choosing your own beliefs, people surrounding you, and your own profession with which you can support yourself. College only lasts about 8 months of the year though leaving adolescents with four months to decide what they want to do with their free time, probably returning to their family for support. Most high school and college students depend on their parents to pay their phone bill, health insurance, food budget, and at least part of their tuition. A typical college student wants their parents to still provide full support to them when they want it, yet they want their parents to give them full reigns of all choices and responsibilities. Isn't this a little unfair?

Instead of simply using our parents for money all throughout college and then leaving them once we find a career for ourselves and a person to marry- doesn't Christ expect more from how we should treat our family?

Proverbs 1:8-9 tells us to pay special attention to our father and mother' instruction, that they will be a graceful garland around our head and ornaments around our neck. Proverbs 15:20 says that a wise men will bring joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother. We are commanded to not just respect our parents, but to love them, to carefully obey their instructions, and to bring joy to them.

In a fast-paced world, where life is all about "me" and we are trampled with temptations to move away from our families or ignore them for new friends how can we love and bring joy to the first humans who loved us? Here are just a few ways:

1. Forgive your family for their mistakes. No family is perfect. No Christian family, nor pastor is perfect Amen. As we grow to see the mistakes of our parents, may we remember Christ's mercy and grace in dealing with us and may we accept them for who they have been to us with love.

2. Appreciate the sacrifices your family has made for you. You do not understand the inconvenience or pain of having a baby wake up multiple times during the night, watching your very own son or daughter get hurt, providing the support for a child. You have no idea the sacrifices your parents have made for you and the way your life has been changed by you.

3. Prioritize your family. Decide that because Christ commands us to value our mother and father and to respect them, you will put their needs before your own. That you will value your family above your own dreams and educational goals.

4. Make time for your family. Call your mother. Until you are a mom, you will never understand a mother's love for her sons and daughters. Call home. Listen to your family. Care about their pains, about their joys. Choose to be involved in their life. If they need your help, help them.

5. Obey. This is one of the most difficult things, I believe, because we often think that we know best. Sometimes our parents may not understand why we want to do a certain career or why we like a certain man. When our parents don't agree with what we want, we must pray that God would give us and our parents wisdom so that we can think on the same page. In rare cases, God may ask us to go against our parents' will but in most cases, God will help us and our parents to see each others' sides of the issue and make a compromise that can still honor Him and them.

6. Choose to have a better attitude when with your family. Boring family vacations? Tired of going to tea parties with your grandma? Wishing you were on a trip with your friends from school? Get over yourself. Enjoy the time you have with your family, you don't know how much time you will be given.