Posts Tagged ‘ new beginnings ’

A New Slate

Psalm 40:1 – I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry.

James 5:7-8 – My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

Romans 12:12 – Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 15:4-5 – For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:12-13 – Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Lord, give me a heart of forgiveness. Father, help me to be patient, Help me to see how others see the world and, no matter how backwards, be filled with a patience and a hope and an expectation that You will change their perceptions. Lord, let me not be dismayed by what I see in the present, but instead may my eyes be ever fixed on the future that I know You can create/ Father, may every tear and thought be given unto You as an offering and a request that Your will be brought into fruition, that Your plan be made a reality and that present emotions be burnt as a sacrifice. Lord, as You tell me in Hebrews 11:1, faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the substance of things not seen. Father, again, help me look beyond what I see now. Bring Your truth, the truth of what You would have be in existence be all that I can see. Give me eyes for the future. Give me eyes for the glory that You will bring into my life. Blind me to present circumstances. Harden my spirit against ignorance and pride, and soften my heart toward those with such emotions. Father, fill my heart with a love for those in transition. Yes, Lord, in transition. For I am believing that such emotional states are plastic, not static. Because Father, You reign sovereign over every heart and mind and spirit. Lord, You crafted each one, Hallelujah! And You can bring each one into submission unto You. Father, reign in all Your glory in the hearts of men and women. Reign in all your truth. Usher Your truth into the hearts, minds, and souls of each man, woman, and child. Lord, open the eyes of their hearts. Give them Your eyes. Burden them for every thought, action, and emotion that is not in You. For if not in You, then it is impure and unjust and in need of Your purging. Lord, purge gently and fill me with a patience, hope, and expectancy as You bring them through a process of holy enlightenment. Father, may You ways be the ways of Your children. Father, they are Yours, so I pray for You to speak to them. Speak to them the words that will get through to them. Holy Spirit, stir within and only let your peace reign in their hearts when Your truth exists there also. Draw them near, and draw them gently. Let your assurance reign sovereign above any carnal fear. God, I know what You are capable of. I know what You desire for us. Lord, unity is Your love. Unity is your desire. Unity is what is most pleasing in Your eyes. Father, if anything, may we be united as brothers and sisters in Christ. May we be able to look beyond color and culture and nationality and see Your Spirit within each other, and therefore, see ourselves. Father, unity. Unity, I pray for most of all. Not civility, but brotherhood and love. In You.

God, may ye be praised, truly & most genuinely praise, in the hearts of Your children.

Amen.

Clarity…

I think I know what I am supposed to do with my life… I feel so… excited 🙂

Just Do

I feel so encouraged now. My problem is that I don’t truly believe that balance and contentment is attainable for me. So whenever I try to attain it, in the back of my mind I doubt I will actually get there, and therefore DON’T! It makes perfect sense. I am too focused on the potential for derailment that I never truly give myself a fair shot. And I am truly tired. I am tired of the weight in my mind. The negative thoughts, the distorted view of myself and my potential. I know God’s word is true. I have known and trusted that. And yet, for these last 3 years, it has been so difficult for me to believe that His view of His children applied to me. I’ve been too focused on the people around me that I have allowed myself to believe the lie that I am inferior to everyone around me. I have limited myself, something that I regret now. But I am realizing that I need to let that go. I need to let the regret go so that I can finally release myself from the past and adopt new views of myself for the future. I’ve been holding the key to my chains for so long now. I just haven’t had the strength to turn the lock. But I think by now I am so in need and desire of replenishment and weightlessness that I can finally release myself. God be with me, I pray.

2 Corinthians 10:

3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ

WAKE UP!

This blog has been sleeping for the past 5 months and it’s time to wake it up!!! A lot and nothing have changed in these past 5 months. Contradictory? Not really. I feel like I’m split in half. One side of me is pushing forward, making great improvements, while the other side of me remains paralyzed. It needs revival. It needs to be awakened because it’s slowing the  productive side of me down.

I’ve realized that my accountability to others isn’t enough to mobilize me to make changes for myself if I don’t first change the way I see myself. Ever since I started college, it’s been a constant battle in my mind to resist the lies about who I am and I’m disappointed to say that I have been consistently losing. I’m a senior now, and I’m still losing. How sad is that?

I figured if I am going to finally beat this, then I need a space to hash out my thoughts. I remembered my blog and how therapeutic it was to write here, so it’s being revived! Hopefully I can make some real progress here. I may have lost many battles over the years, but I’m praying that I will win the war.

Music Monday: Albertine by Brooke Fraser

For the past month, I have been at a cross-roads, struggling to discern my own desire from God’s and my own fear from the Spirit of wisdom. And my decision has only been compounded by my mom’s fears. As I wrote in a previous post, I have had a tendency to identify with my mother, and because of that, I have to a certain extent struggled to become my own person, to become what I would consider fully independent. But that said, I also don’t want to choose one road due to some subconscious desire to rebel or break free.

Maybe all of this would make better sense if I am more explicit. Haha. So, in early April, I received an email about an opportunity to go to Haiti. Of course, I was absolutely psyched! I immediately emailed one of the directors for  more information on the program, but he never answered me back. After a few more inquiries with no replies, I wrote it of as an impossibility and forgot about it. A month later, I received another email about the program from another school department and this time the directors of the program would be visiting to hold a meeting about the program. After learning more about it, I decided I wanted to go! The program is not related to any of my immediate academic interests (health, health care), but would still give me the opportunity to interact with native Haitians, learn about their experiences living in Haiti, and improve my Haitian Creole (very important!). In fact, I’m hoping that 1) independently continuing on in my Haitian Creole textbooks + 2) 3-weeks of practice with native Haitians will allow me to skip the second level of Haitian Creole and go on to the third! (Here’s hoping.) Besides language, it may also help me further develop a non-profit idea that God gave me a few weeks ago.

So when I don’t think about the potential danger, I am so excited to go. I have been able to bring my mom on-board, but I can tell she is still very concerned. But I just don’t want my fear to limit me. I feel like I am so fearful of… everything, practically! And that is no way to live. Since high school, I have had an immense desire to work abroad with communities in extreme poverty. But over the years, I have seen that goal uprooted by fear. My mom has had angst about this goal and has pushed me to consider staying in the US instead. Her reasons are sound:  “There is so much poverty here. People need help here. Why are you running to another country when people in your own country are in need?” Logically, that makes perfect sense to me. But it doesn’t erase the pang in my heart to do something for those abroad. I feel like I need an experience in order to confirm either God’s calling for me to serve abroad or His intention for me to serve populations in the US. I just don’t want fear to usurp the decision and rob me of clarity.

Last night, I shared some of this with an old friend who I haven’t seen in… at least 2 years! We had a wonderful conversation. And I realized how much I have changed as a person through my conversation with her. I am so much more open and talkative now… but I’ll spare you details on that. Maybe for another post 🙂 But, yes… our conversation was so encouraging. She went to Haiti last year and was able to share about her emotional transition to living/working in the country. It was especially comforting to me that she could relate to my expressed desire to have an experience to call my own, one that would positively challenge me to grow and become independent, and one that would give me clarity on where to go from here (international vs. domestic). After listening, she strongly encouraged me to go and embrace this opportunity. When I push the fear aside, I feel that it is the right thing for me to do and I believe that it will be a positive experience for me.

So what does all of this have to do with Music Monday? Well, last night my friend told me about Brooke Fraser’s solo album, Albertine. You brothers and sisters out there may know Brooke from Hillsong United. She’s the front-woman for the songs “None But Jesus” and “Lord of Lords.” Well her solo album is absolutely beautiful and I have especially fallen in love with the title track, “Albertine.” In 2005, Brooke went to Rwanda to work with World Vision. In her visit to a Rwandan orphanage, she met Albertine, a young girl who was orphaned by the 1993-94 Rwandan genocides. This song is a promise to Albertine and this album is dedicated to her.

This song (especially the chorus) expresses my exact sentiments about engaging work in the international community. After learning about disparity, how can you just sit down and do nothing? And in doing nothing, how is your mind not plagued by the truth and how are you not guilted by your unwillingness to do your part to help?

I have a dear friend at school who seems fascinated by my interest in Haiti. Because I have no direct connection to the country, he cannot understand why I feel compelled to help them. Akin to Brooke’s chorus, because I know the history of injustice the country has experienced and know of the extreme poverty that millions of Haitians live daily, poverty that their parents lived and their parents before them, and poverty that their children will have no choice but to endure… how can I not be responsible to do something? I may not have seen this (yet) with my naked eyes, but isn’t the knowledge that it exists enough to be mobilized to do my part?

“Albertine”

I am sitting still
I think of Angelique
Her mother’s voice over me
And the bullets in the wall where it fell silent
And on a thousandth hill, I think of Albertine
There in her eyes what I don’t see with my own

[CHORUS]

Rwanda
Now that I have seen, I am responsible
Faith without deeds is dead
Now that I have held you in my own arms, I cannot let go till you are

I am on a plane across a distant sea
But I carry you in me
and the dust on, the dust on, the dust on, the dust on, the dust on my feet

[CHORUS]

[BRIGDE]
I will tell the world, I will tell them where I’ve been
I will keep my word
I will tell them Albertine

[CHORUS]

I am on a stage, a thousand eyes on me
I will tell them, Albertine
I will tell them, Albertine

Tabs“Albertine” @ UltimateGuitar.com

Resurrection Sunday, Resurrection Everyday

It is so appropriate that in this week’s Bible study, we went through 1 Corinthians 15:35-58. I was so blessed by verses 35-38, which state:

35But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38But God gives it a body as He has determined, and to each kind of seed He gives its own body.”

This signifies that resurrection is alive and is a process manifested in our lives. A seed does not become a plant instantaneously. No, rather it first must die, and then must undergo a growing process before it sprouts from the earth in its plant form. It is the same for us. We  still in our original form:  our natural bodies. So we must be like the seed and die to our sinfulness and resurrect a spiritual lifestyle. Just as Christ’s sin-filled body on the cross died and resurrected to its spiritual form, we must strive to die to our sinful nature and live His will in our lives. This resurrection is a process because we must do this everyday. We must daily remember Christ’s sacrifice and strive to live such sacrifice in our own lives.

Thus, I would encourage you to use Resurrection Sunday as a day to:

1) to reflect on Christ’s defeat over our death/sin in order to rectify and reconnect us to God,

2) to gain renewed drive and inspiration for our individual, daily deaths to sin and daily resurrection in Christian living, and,

3) to look forward to the completion of our resurrection process with Christ’s 2nd coming, when the dead in Christ shall be resurrected and the living transfigured to their spiritual bodies ( 1 Cor 15:52).

Thank you my Christ, my All for Your sacrifice. Thank You, God, for loving  me so much and desiring to be with me so much that You would give Your only Son to set me free. His Resurrection is for me, but His Resurrection and my future resurrection are for You as well, that they would make a way for us to be together forever. I praise You God that You would view my salvation with such importance, that You would think of me, that You would die for me. I am overwhelmed by Your Love. THANK YOU!

An Old Dog Abandons Her Old Tricks

For all the growth I have made this semester, I have still been held up by old vices, which is extremely disappointing. I feel the Lord changing me, changing the person within me, and oh… God, I am so eager for it! To be new, fresh, unhampered by the past. And I know I can be. I have tasted newness this semester. But, man, can I be my own worst enemy. But I am determined to win this battle against my old self, and to do that, I need to purge.

My real weakness is that I feel too much. I identify with people, imagine their situation, imagine myself in their situation, try to come up with ways to help and guide them, feel utterly helpless if I can’t succeed in helping them, need to let them know that I am there for them, and then must follow through in being there for them fully. An extreme empathizer. So much that, as a school psychologist pointed out earlier this semester, I allow my own happiness to depend on others, which is so detrimental to myself.

I think this disposition is why I so easily identified with my mother, who in her adversity (being married to my dad), had so much need for empathy. I imagined myself in her place and tried to emotionally fill the void that my dad had created within her. Because I identified so strongly with her, I paid more attention to how my dad treated her than I did his treatment of me. And also, because I identified so strongly with her, she became an example of the kind of person I should be, while my dad became the example of the person I didn’t want to be. I put her on a pedestal.

When I was a little older (~late teens?), my mom told me that she is not the person that she used to be, the person she was before and in the early years of her marriage. But the only person I saw and could remember was this new person she had become. A woman who strived to be wholly self-sufficient, independent, emotionally guarded, masking and denying her true emotions… A necessarily strong woman. A private woman. A dependable woman, who denied herself her own desires and happiness, ranking them after those of everyone around her. Growing up, she was the image of what I thought I should be, of what I wanted to be.

But I realize now that I have truly identified too much with my mother. I have become her in many ways. The qualities that I once viewed as strengths have become faults because I have adopted them too intensely.

INDEPENDENCE –  I always feel like I need to be self-sufficient. I don’t like to ask for help for anything, if I can help it. And I don’t allow others to do niceties for me. For example, I remember when I was moving out of my room at the end of my freshman year at college, a friend scolded me for this. “Let us help you!” he said. “You don’t have to do everything by yourself!” I had tried to move my heavy boxes by myself instead of taking up their offer to help.

Don’t get me wrong, independence is an admirable quality and I am glad that I am equipped to and comfortable with doing things for myself. But sticking too firmly to it has been detrimental (i.e. because of my independence, I have purposely created distance between myself and my friends). This is something of which I am coming to the full realization. I shouldn’t allow my independence to divide me from the people I care about.

When I think more about this trait in relation to my mom, I also realize that she was so independent because my dad didn’t fulfill his husbandly role as God describes it. So she had to step up and lead my brother and I. This example, a woman leading her family, only added to my view of female independence and encouraged me to believe that I shouldn’t depend on any man to do anything for me. And because I didn’t know what that looked like… to have a man lead his wife and for her to be able to depend upon him… I now even find myself resisting guys’ attempts to do something for me. I probably appear less “feminine” to them when I hold doors open for them, rather than allow them to open a door for me. But after years of seeing my dad not do such niceties for my mom, I don’t expect it from any man (except my brother, who my mom brought up to be so courteous) and just automatically do such things for myself. But I don’t like that I am this way. Again, I should be willing to allow people to display their courtesy.

WALLS – My mom set up emotional walls after she realized that her emotions were not appreciated by my dad. He couldn’t be trusted with them. So she entered into  subsequent friendships with a walled heart. Encouraged others to do more talking, so that she wouldn’t have to give too much of herself away. Basically Proverbs 4:23 to the extreme.

I am the spitting image of her example. Growing up, it was emphasized that our private business was our business and not to be shared with others (we had extremely gossip-y neighbors). But I have carried this mandate with me into my young adulthood. I let others do the talking, which is fine because, being an extreme empathizer, I like to hear about their experiences and like bringing them pleasure by showing my interest in their life. And I think I don’t share my emotions partly because I don’t want to run the risk of discovering that they won’t be appreciated by my listeners.

But I have realized that this stunts my growth. Part of being in a relationship with someone is giving of yourself. And part of growing as a person is learning how to trust others with parts of yourself. I think a lot of my past friendships ended because I was unwilling to do this – unwilling to open up and show the other person that I trust them enough to let them see me. Trust. Now that is something that requires true strength. This is definitely something I have been working on building.

This reminds me… I recently read a quote that said something to the effect of… “the problem with [emotional] walls is not only that they keep people out, but they keep you in.” This could not be more true. It definitely has been pretty lonely being the only person who knows me.

DENIAL+MASKING – this falls in line with building walls. My mom was a master actress. Being strong for my brother and I, she denied many of her emotions and masked them. She always appeared strong. Always appeared happy. And she was both of those things. But there was a storm inside. Since I am older now and our friendship has matured, I see this more. She will sometimes say things that hint her desire for affection, but then quickly denies it and masks it. But I know her well and can identify when she’s doing this. And I think she does this because deep down she doesn’t feel that she is worthy of having her desires… or, perhaps more correctly, that it isn’t possible for her to ever have them.

I think out of all the qualities I have picked up, this is the one I need to change the most because, I realize now, it leads most directly to self-sabotage. I deny myself of my desires and convince myself that I can’t have them or am not worthy of them, and then mask that I have a desire at all. For someone who so strongly values communication, this tactic makes me a complete hypocrite because it keeps me from communicating with myself and with others, who very well may be able to deliver what I want. It is a breeding ground for mixed signals.

The truth is, it is not that I cannot have what I desire… but that I do not allow myself to have what I desire, and what is perhaps even available to me. So I create my own unhappiness, not my situation or any other person, etc. In living this way,  I  also offend God by not accepting and trusting His ability to deliver my wants, if they are right for me. So I tie not only the hands of those around me, but His hands as well. I deny myself happiness and love, so that in the end, all I have is my independent self, sitting within all those walls I have built. Alone.

—————————————————————————————————————-

I realize that I have been living as though I am a woman in a wrecked marriage, perhaps thinking deep down inside that behaving this way will prevent me from acquiring her unhappiness. But, my God. It’s all SO wrong… couldn’t be more wrong than this. And I just praise the Lord that He is bringing me to the full realization of these things NOW, while I am still young. I need to live up to a higher standard – to God’s standard. I am resolved to not look to any other person as a model for how to live, because we are each fallible in our own ways. God is the only one worthy of a pedestal!

We can’t help what situation we’re born into, but we can help how we allow ourselves to be affected by it. And I choose to love myself… fully love myself and believe that I am worthy of happiness and all my desires and that I can and will indeed have them, if not today than someday! All according to God’s perfect time.

Wow, when I re-read this, I wonder who on earth would want to have such a complicated person in one’s life. Yes, I suppose I am quite a complicated mess right now, but I know that God is a good janitor. The best, actually. And now that I have finally given Him the master key to my building, I know it will clean up better than “just fine” 🙂

Future Post:  Traits I’ve picked up from Dad.