Thursday, November 26, 2015

saying thank you

Do they know I'm thankful for them?
Does he know how much I love him?
Do they know how much they have changed my life?

Of course there's my family: my rock. The people who yell together, chase each other around the house, work out together, go on way too long road trips where they declare that we dislike each other... But my family is beautiful and I love them to death. I do nothing to show them the abundance of love I have for them. My family has been with me from the beginning when I was a fearless little girl who talked to strangers, to a self-conscious and determined middle school who refused to talk to boys, a young adventurer who went away to boarding academy and Peru, and a heart broken lover of orphans only wanting to save the world in her naive and jaded heart.

My mom- a river of love, hope, and joy. "Every day is a good day, she says. Happy day happy day." Nothing can shake her joy or kindness, the way she gives everything she has for anyone with the smallest need. She gives until she has no more and has invested in my life in so many ways I can no way repay her for what she has done for me or for anyone else.

My father- a brave fierce man of God who has taught me to think before acting, to stop before speaking and to understand that not all things are as they appear. He has taught me to be brave and how to love even when you may be hurt at the same time.

My brother Jeremy- a man who puts me in my place, tells me when I am being selfish and stupid yet never fails to catch me when I am broke. The boy I have grown up playing hide and go seek, ninjas, swimming, and camping with.

My friends- A girl who has taught me how to speak and say what I want to say- that life isn't always easy- but that there is always something to laugh about.

A girl who has shown me what it means to have a best friend, to be chosen, to be a sister for once in my life, to be the in crowd, to understand what it means to have someone who will be by your side and embrace femininity. She taught me how to cry and how to feel, how to laugh and eat chocolate in a better way.

A girl who has shown me the perseverance of waking up every morning to study her Bible and pray- a woman of wisdom and digression who chooses Christ over the pleasures of this world and is not afraid to stand up for the Kingdom.

I have so many close friends, so many people who I count close to my heart. So many friends each in different parts of the world who have impacted my life in so many ways. People who have taught me so many lessons, loved me in so many deep places, blessed my life in so many ways. Truly they are God's greatest gift.

I'm not a girl that uses lavishing words, nor buys many gifts, nor always speaks in the most encouraging words. Occasionally my bluntness can hurt those closest to me the much. But this thanksgiving I have to think about my inner circle. Do they know how much I love them? Do they know that I would do anything for them?

I think my goal for the next month is to show these people, to show some of them how much they mean to me and how they have changed my life. I want to tell them thank you...

Somehow I want to learn to love better, to show how much I care better. I don't want to be too afraid to love vulnerably. Time is short and I want to be there for my people so I will start by telling them thank you..


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

carried to the table

Earlier today I was working on a project when I heard the cries of my little baby cousin
She was upset because she had broken her toy
It was something small indeed but she was sad and tired
Tears dripping down her face
Her little heart had all she could handle
So I picked her up and carried her in my arms
Cuddling her precious little head and rocking her so she could find rest
I carried her to the table...

Broken girl, ashamed, and angry
Feeling like I wasn't good enough
Discouraged by my failures
Afraid I couldn't measure up
Time after time the Savior has gathered me in his arms
And carried me to His table

He does it for us time and time again
He is faithful to deliver our sins
And to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

We do not deserve to be brought to the banquet feast of blessings
Yet Christ seeks us out
He searches every hospital, every empty church pew, every bar, every lonely college dorm
And then He runs to us
And says "She is mine"

He says come and feast with me
Let me provide you with your daily bread
Let me give you my sweet honey of kindness
Let me give you more than milk for babies
Let me give you scriptural meat
Let your cup overflow as you dine with me
And taste and see that the Lord is good

He invites us to His wedding feast
With music and dancing
He tells us to have joy
It doesn't mean there isn't suffering
But it does mean we have hope
Because we know the master

So we will eat, drink, and be merry
Not as gluttons, selfish pigs, or prostitues
But as humble and worthy daughters of the Kingdom
Who know their Father's house
And are to celebrate the King and His victory.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Flesh and Spirit

Matthew 26:41 "Watch and pray that you would not fall into temptation, the spirit is willing but the body is weak.
1 Peter 5:8-9 "Be sober and alert for your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking those whom he may devour. Resist him steadfast in the faith knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world."
Chambers writes "that we must beware of is not damage to our belief in God but damage to our Christian disposition or state of mind. “Take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously” (Malachi 2:16). Our state of mind is powerful in its effects. It can be the enemy that penetrates right into our soul and distracts our mind from God. There are certain attitudes we should never dare to indulge. If we do, we will find they have distracted us from faith in God. Until we get back into a quiet mood before Him, our faith is of no value, and our confidence in the flesh and in human ingenuity is what rules our lives.
Beware of “the cares of this world…” (Mark 4:19). They are the very things that produce the wrong attitudes in our soul. It is incredible what enormous power there is in simple things to distract our attention away from God. Refuse to be swamped by “the cares of this world.” (http://utmost.org/the-distraction-of-contempt/)
Truly the walk with God is a walk that requires discipline and self-surrender. As followers of Christ, we cannot afford to miss a single day equipping ourselves with the Word of God or the Devil will attack us right when we are weakest. The walk with God is a constant battle between the spiritual things and the things of flesh. Indeed there will be times when we feel like we are overcome. Yet when we feel that darkness is upon us and we are unworthy of coming back to God, these are the times we need God the most. We must pray regardless of our feelings, read our Bibles despite what our brain tells us, and stay faithful to the end. When we mess up, we must pray for the Lord's forgiveness and believe that He is faithful.
For me, I find that with my walk with God it is the little things that make the biggest difference. When I am disciplined with the food I eat, I find it easier to spend time with God and be peaceful with my neighbor. When I fast from evil social media (any magazine, movie, or song that does not edify Jesus' name) then I find the peace of knowing the Father's quiet presence in my life. When I find my joy in Christ and nature instead of Facebook and social media, texting with friends, that's when I feel God closest to me. Now we can't follow God or run our spiritual life based on feelings but we can learn to understand God's wrath against sin and His strict directions for us to live a life of purity. Is what we are thinking and putting into our mind Christ glorifying or self-seeking?
Discouraged? Feeling guilty? I understand, but this is not something we can do on our own. Truly only by God's grace we are set free from our old selfish natures and transformed into a free and beautiful, loving creation. 
Father, give us the courage to overcome battles of the flesh. Help us not to lust after things of this world but instead to use your power and the Holy Spirit to overcome. Thank you for working in us even though we do nothing to deserve it. Amen.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Christian Perspective on Health

I am blessed by God to have become a personal trainer last April and that has helped me become more aware of fitness and health in society and as an individual. Although some may say that health should not be a part of religion, I believe that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit within us. When we choose to follow God, we choose to surrender every part of our lives and wholistic being to Him: body, mind, soul, and spirit. This means that everything we do is spiritual. God wants our eating, drinking, talking, dreaming, secret thoughts, singing, and dancing to be glorifying to His name.

It's easy to see two extremes in health: obsessive or apathetic. Both can have negative consequences and the obsessive often becomes self-idolaters or more concerned about their own health needs over other people's needs. All the while the apathetic often become gluttons or drinkers who feed their emotional needs food and become lazy, causing their body illness.

So much of what we do radiates from our minds and hearts. Exercise is not purely physical but mental. It releases endorphins in your body and can help you relieve stress. The brain determines how hard you will push yourself in an exercise and what you will get out of it. Likewise, eating is mostly an emotional battle as your brain and conscious decide what foods you will be giving your system as fuel.

Thanksgiving is coming up which is a holiday of American gluttony and self-indulgence. Instead of being thankful for lives and health and choosing to praise God and serve others, we decide to become hoards. We cook fattening foods and sugars that cause disease and stuff our faces with them pretending that we will never again have food in our lives. Then we sleep, watch tv, and stuff our faces again. The next day we rush to the store to embark in consumerism and buy buy buy more goods for our-self. After days of lounging around, we return to school, and then back to gluttony and goods for Christmas. After which we realize we are unhealthy and have gained weight and start the massive dieting and exercise regimen of New Years Resolutions.

I believe that God wants to help us be healthy as He created the human body to thrive. Before sin there was no sickness or disease in the Garden and there will be no illness in heaven. I have heard it said that people who can practice self control good enough to control their appetite, can overcome almost any other discipline. I do believe that the appetite is an idol many many Americans give in too and that practicing discipline over our taste buds and stomachs could result in much good. This is possibly why Jesus himself fasted for 40 days in the desert and one of Satan's main temptations was for him to eat bread when he was hungry. Indeed the first sin in the Bible was one of eating something that looked delicious.. yet something God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat.

God pleads with us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, Holy and pleasing to Him, this is our spiritual act of worship.
What has God impressed on your heart to re-surrender to Him today? Ask God to help you learn to be healthy. Give Him reign over your physical body, your soul and emotions, your food preferences. Watch and see how the Lord will guide and bless.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fearless

"Spirit break out break our walls down."

Why is following God better than your fears? You find freedom you never knew existed.

What are you afraid of?
Give it to God. Let Him help you overcome. Don't hold onto your fears and keep telling yourself "No I can't do that I'm afraid of that." No tell yourself, I used to be afraid of that but now I'm not because God is bigger.

You see sometimes we believe this fallacy that fear keeps us safe. But it doesn't. Wisdom keeps us safe. Fear paralyzes us, takes away our joy, causes us to focus on ourselves and our weaknesses instead of Christ's love.

Truly I tell you, we will find God the most, His love and pure joy when we let Him lead us beyond the walls we naturally build to protect ourselves. When we let God break those walls down, only then will we fall deeper in love with Him as He takes care of us.

Isaiah 41:13 For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Let God help you do the thing you are most afraid of.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Joy

Today I was feeling sick and in the process of hurrying to go to work lost my id card somewhere in my room. It has been a rough week for me fighting off sickness and studying/ stressing. I went to my boss's office to ask him if he could manually put in my hours since I didn't have my id card. I told him I was still feeling sick and he asked me if I was stressed out with school.

When I said yes, he looked at me and told me Jesus loves me and that He didn't want me to feel stressed. He said God doesn't want you to live like that. I think something about the caring way he said it really struck me and made me realize the truth. God does not want us to live stressed or unjoyful lives no matter what the situation. "In every situation, with prayer and thanksgiving, we are to present our requests to God. That the peace of God which transcends all understanding can guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. "

It doesn't matter what the world may throw at us or how difficult or busy we may be- worry does no good to our hearts, souls, or bodies. How can we represent Christ to a lost world if we are busy, stressed, occupied people? How can people see the difference Jesus has made in our lives if we are not joyful?

Sometimes it's almost like I want to justify my unhappiness. Like no you don't understand my life... bluh bluh bluh. But in the end, nobody cares and we realize everybody has unhappy moments and trials in life. The difference is how we respond to them.

Thus I guess my next question is how do we Christians who love Jesus but are prone to business and stress keep our joy in Christ? The joy that radiates, the contagious smile, the high fiver, the constant supporter, the giver, the inspirer, the personality so joyful everyone wants to be our friend.

One of my friends from boarding academy died yesterday in a car accident. He was only 19 years old. I was reading his facebook page the other day and it really just hit me what a man of God Moses was. But the coolest thing about it is his love with God was manifested with the joyous life he lived and the fun he had with his many friends and family. He was a guy that made friends with everyone. He was happy because He knew Jesus and this literally radiated to everyone he knew.

Here's a question for you, if you died today what would people remember about you? Would they remember laughing with you and the joy you shared with them?

I don't know about you, but I want to learn how to experience more of Christ's joy and more of His peace. My prayer is that He would give me pure joy that is representative of the light and love of His Savior. May you be blessed and find hope and joy in serving the King of Kings and Lord of all the Universe.







Thursday, November 5, 2015

Nursing

Nursing is scary.
Sometimes I fear that I can't do it.
What's a 21 year old to be doing in a hospital?
A death chamber where patients are crying
Giving their last breath
Bleeding, pooping, vomitting
It's a dirty place
But beyond the dirt, it's a place that's raw
Raw full of needs
Full of emotions
Full of desperation
Where anyone in that building could just give up
Or where prayers get a little realer
Makeup gets a little thinner
And the heart is seen and heard a little more directly

I'm scared
Scared for my mind
Can I take all this stimulation?
Can I learn all it takes to be an excellent nurse?
Will my grades be learn enough?
Can I do all the proper procedures..

And scared for my soul
Can I deal with the death cries on a daily basis
Can my faith endure when codes beep and co-workers cuzz

In spite of my massive fears
Fears of being sticked with needles
Fears of seeing a naked person
Fears of changing a bed

My fears make me want to run
Run the opposite direction as fast as I can
And say See God
I was right
I can't do nursing.

But then right as I'm halfway running out the door
I stop to the voice of a child
That whispers in my head
I need you

It stops me. I hear her again
"Help me"
To take care of me
To be the best nurse that understands a soul
Who can hold me when I'm afraid
Who loves me and will show me how worthy I am.

And for her- for the hopes of that six year old African girl- that one day I will hold and nurture back to health- for her I will keep trying. I will keep on doing paperwork that bores me to tears. I will keep on going to skills lab and overcoming my fears. I will keep going back to the hospital (the death grounds). I will be a nurse because of Christ's mercy and because of hopes of helping her someday.

But in the meantime God, how bout some miracles to help me through? =)

True beauty

"Am I beautiful?" The six year old girl asks her mom as she twirls like a ballerina, her fluffy pink tutu filling the air with glitter.

"You are so beautiful, just like a princess", her mom says lifting her up into her arms and spinning her round and round. "You are beautiful, never forget it ok?"

Yet despite the promises we make to our moms to never forget who we are. In spite of the people who have cherished us for our life, love, and beauty and taught us to be brave... we often find ourselves laying in the middle of a mud pile on the side road picking ourselves up and questioning God and the world and occasionally the poor random stranger who walks by..

Could I really be something of beauty? Am I really something worthwhile?

You see society does nothing to teach our daughters, ladies, mothers, and woman alike that their worth is not based on outward appearances. Nor is it calculated by the tricks they may perform or the talents they may be able to accumulate. It is not set by a banker, an investor, or a fashion show director or game show host who chooses who is worth investing in or who is the most beautiful or who can sing the greatest and pop out the cutest babies.

Although the world screams to women to cover up their hearts, layer upon foundation on their skin, to blot their tears dry and apply eye cream to hide their tired eyes, to run further and further away, to lift more weights, and eat more salad.. God calls for woman who are ready to sanctify themselves in His name both inward and outward and pursue the beauty of a heart transfer with God not man.

Sometimes Christian women say God doesn't care if you are beautiful. He does not look at outer appearances like man does. But God does care about our beauty, because He cares about us and because He is our Creator.

Our Master potter and painter created us each different and smiled at us when He formed our most inward beings and called us good. Although sin quickly filled the picture with insecurities, acne, fat, self-conceit, and greed. God calls us out of the shadows and asks us to trust Him with our naked selves, our most inward, vulnerable parts of being. When we surrender those to Christ, He writes His name on every part of our body and our lives so that we will be distinguishable from the rest of the world and uniquely identified as a daughter of the King.

Some ways we receive true beauty by the King:

God restores our heart of stone and gives us a loving and soft heart of flesh. (Ez 36.26)

He takes our mind, that listens to confusing voices of this world and people who we wish to impress, and exchanges it for true wisdom found in the mind of Christ. (1 Cor 2:16)

Christ takes away our "junk food" and asks us to be content with His feedings of daily bread and solid food instead of only spiritual milk. (1 Corinthians 3, Matthew 6:11)

And Christ teaches us how to healthfully take care of our body as a Father would teach His daughter to learn to treasure herself- teaching that God is Lord of our bodies including our stomachs and that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit whom we must honor. (1 Corinthians 12,13,19)

So daughter may you stop asking the random stranger if you are beautiful and may you start praying that the God who created you would restore your beauty through His love. May God bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you. May He be faithful to you and may He give you peace.





Sunday, November 1, 2015

ComPassion Hospital Ministry

Here are some ministry pictures from ComPassion. This is the result of planning, dreaming, hard work- but mostly God. Slowly I'm learning that what I do to prepare doesn't amount to much but what God leads and the way He works- it's miraculous! I'm so thankful for Him and for my friends making this ministry become possible.

Last week we had a special experience where we got to go into one little boys' room who was blind. His mom said he hadn't smiled since he was admitted into the hospital. As we began to sing some of his favorite songs the blind boy started laughing and smiling in joy. All the nurses gathered round and all the nurses and the boys' mom were crying as we sang. Little miracles like this, special moments shared, remind me why the hard work and planning is all worth it.