Thursday, July 8, 2010
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,Who forgives all your iniquity, who redeems your life from the pit,Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, Who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
As I was reading over these verses, the Lord brought me to focus on the particular words "who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy".
What does it mean to crown?
What does it mean to wear a crown?
Of what is a crown a symbol?
Why wear a crown?
This is our God... one who forgives all iniquity.
This is our God... one who redeems my life from the pit of eternal destruction and separation from my heart's greatest longing- Him.
This is our God... one who crowns us with steadfast love and mercy.
This is our God...
He wore a crown of affliction and thorns so we can wear a crown of steadfast love and mercy.
A crown sets apart, and is a sign of honor and power... yet He wore a crown of humiliation and we wear a crown of love and mercy???!!
This truth blew me away.
Thank you Lord for the crown we wear because of your amazing, sovereign love and sacrifice.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
For me poetry is a creative outlet I have not found myself enjoying as of late. When life gets busy, the only writing that I continue is prayers between my Saviour and I. However, I have realized how He wants to use our words, our abilities....even when I hesitate!
This evening, an opportunity surfaced that will bring me face to face with putting aspects of my adoption story to words. Honestly, I do not know where to begin. The audience is other adoptees, adoptees who are struggling.. really struggling. Questions arise- what do I have to offer? My life has truly been blessed and I am surrounded and overwhelmed by love. But when it comes down to it, I wonder- what has held me together through these years, through the long journey, and not just the long journey of life, but the life of an adoptee...?
What is it that has granted me peace in the wilderness of questions?
What assured my heart that I was truly loved?
-Was it my parents who said the day they adopted me was one of the best days of their life?
-Was it the friends who related to my experience and knew how I felt?
-Was it the experiences of life?
-Was it the prayers of all those who have loved me along the way?
I ask these questions and wonder why do other adoptees who can answer yes to these questions- yes that their situations are similar- yet they do not have the similar affirmation of love and peace.
As I seek deeper, plunging further into the depths and corridors that exist in my heart... through tears, through pain, through joy and through gratitude.. I realize that truly and fully, it is God who has been the strength of my heart, the one who assured my heart. He alone has been my fullness of joy and peace. He alone has comforted the storms of this heart and He alone has shown me that my existence and being has purpose in Him. And to be honest, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that even if my adoption was different from the blessing that it is now, He is still good, still full of grace and I am still so unworthy... yet He loves unwaveringly and so intimately that makes my heart soar! The Lord not only cares for my heart, He is the overseer of my soul!
So for any adoptees struggling with the message of abandonment, of scorn, or shame or of rejection... turn to Jesus. His heart is for the orphan, for the abandoned.. He came to save those needy in heart. And boy oh boy does my heart need Him... day by day and moment by moment. The hope we have is not in people and even in being loved by people. That is a gift He has given, but the ultimate hope is in the love, grace, peace and joy He lavishes on those who seek to draw near to Him and follow the goodness that He is! In Him is freedom from despair and hopelessness.
So this is my story, these are my words... words of His daughter, adopted as His own. This is my story, a story in fact not of me, but of His awesomeness and glory!
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Thinking about this upcoming end, I feel reluctant to leave the place where transformation and change has occurred. However, in the midst of the apprehension of this ending, there is also hope. Hope in a the beginning of a new chapter and the opportunity for continuing aspects of previous chapters.
I feel torn :) I so long to return home to my family and friends, and yet I also long to remain here and continue in the new relationships and work that I have done. Seasons of life are wonderful, but the difficult part is the transition! But I am thankful for this season and the knowledge I have gained and grown from.
No matter what the season, the place, the people or the culture- there is always much to learn and a faithful and patient teacher to provide the lessons!
In coming to Romania, something I knew in theory but lacked in fully realizing, was this: my trials and struggles would not be any different here than what they would be at home.
Struggles and trials root themselves in the heart, and where I go, my heart goes! :)
For example, anxiety and worry are rooted in not trusting the Lord, or struggling to savor and seek the Lord could be rooted in a heart that is distracted by worldly things and not focused on that which is eternal. Changing location, setting and even culture will not change those struggles of the heart. I have found this out in an amazing way here, and even though there may be new struggles that result because of cultural differences, it comes down to the heart.
While here, it has amazed me how the Lord has created within me a greater desire for Him, a desire for a heart that is fixed on things above, on Him. What does it mean to truly "long for God" to long for Christ's return?
I feel as if my heart is coming alive to the truth that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him"!
My heart arrived at this question- do I long after God?
Do I desire him above all earthy things?
Is my prayer for His will and not my own?
But what brought me to this reflection I realized was not the different culture or a new location, but the truth that my heart was not satisfied and is not satisfied unless it is being filled with His truth, His love, and His grace!
No matter where we are, God is faithful to refine us and teach us and discipline us as His beloved children so that we may be transformed through His sanctifying work! The issue of complacency is not a result of location, but of the heart. I have learned that here in Romania, and am so thankful to go home, knowing that He who began a good work in us is faithful to carry it out to completion.
I want to run this race that is set before me with passion, with perseverance and with faith, with eyes fixed on Jesus!
In this chapter, this season of my life, there has been much change. The change is not external, nor is the change a result of "Romania" per say. Change has happened because of God's grace and work in my heart, it is being transformed and renewed day by day.
In God, my heart finds its satisfaction, peace, mercy and its ever increasing joy in realizing it belongs to Him- no matter the place, the season or the chapter of life.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Saturday, March 14, 2009
With the sea to the east and the mountains in the west, I am surrealy snuggled up in a cozy, stone, church parish in the midst of a dream, finding it necessary to pinch myself.
Just walking outside the door, down the street and around a corner, finds me catching my breath to the glories of God's creation! It is so beautiful!!
I do not have much time, but I just wanted to share some Irish proverbs I have found that were interesting. There is so much beneath the surface here in Northern Ireland, and it has been quite the adventure learning about this culture and it's people as well. I am currently reading a book entitled "Angela's Ashes" that is a memoir of a poor Irish family during the early-mid 1900's. I look forward to hopefully sharing more later.
Also, it has truly been wonderful to be here, visiting with a friend I used to work with at the Christian bookstore. There are some strong, godly brothers and sisters in Christ that I have been privileged to meet here as well, and it has just been so refreshing and encouraging! I did not realize how much I need this time till I came here!
Well, I am off to spend time with youth at a drop in center called JIMS!
I will leave you with the Irish proverbs :)
- A friend's eye is a good mirror.
- Life is like a cup of tea, it's all in how you make it.
- Need teaches a plan.
- The longest road out is the shortest road home.
- There is no need like the lack of a friend.
- What fills the eye fills the heart.
Love this girl dearly..
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
"...trials of various kinds"- this phrase has left me thoughtful tonight as I begin to write and share some thoughts.
How appropriate that this verse is worded in such a way, leaving opportunity for whatever you may fill in the under the category of "trials of various kinds".
Weariness, poverty, pessimism, hopelessness, anger, thoughts....
Last weekend something happened, minor and seemingly insignificant, yet unique; it remains on my mind.
This past Saturday, Dorothy, Anita (my host sister) and I went to a Hungarian town here in Romania, called Odorhe. It was really a nice town, and we began our outing by going to a shop where Dorothy has previously purchased beautiful, hand-made, traditional Hungarian clothes. It was a small store, and the daughter was there, in charge of the shop. Anita speaks fluent and very good Hungarian and was able to talk with the girl for a while. She was quite shy, but very sweet.
We then went to walk around the city and see what other shops were awaiting our browsing! While walking, a young boy of maybe 8 years began to follow us and talk with us. He was a beggar. You could tell by his face, his clothes and his manner that he was very poor. This boy spoke in Hungarian, and thus neither Dorothy nor I could understand a word he was saying. He was very persistent and aggressive and his words were laced with frustration and a demanding tone. He wanted money, and he knew we had it. He continued to follow us as we went into a store. As we were walking up the steps, myself being last, he got in front of me and stuck his arms out length-wise, bracing himself to block me from entering the store. As I went to gently move his arm- he turned around and hit me! I was so shocked at this and taken aback. I myself was frustrated that I could not talk with him. But we walked in the store, and that was the last of him.
Later, I asked Anita what he was saying to us. She said that he was mad that we were ignoring him, and he knew that we had money, and thus wanted us to give him some.
To be honest, the first thing on my mind after he hit me was not "poor little boy", but "how dare he.." yet as we were walking around inside the store, my mind wandered to wondering. A boy at that age, hitting strangers, where did he learn that? It is nearly certain that he sees that type of behavior at home, or even gets beat himself. They beg for money and must bring home all that they receive in order to give it to their parents, who then most likely spend it on alcohol or other harmful substances. I could imagine this little boy, 8 years old, going home with empty pockets, and being beaten for his failure of not bringing back money.
Now that, that changed my perspective... and my attitude.
Instead of feeling mad, I began to feel deep compassion and sadness for such a life. A life void of childhood innocence, instead of playing on the street- he is begging on the street... a life void of nurturing love, a life void of happiness and joy. I wish I would have been able to talk with him, and first ask him what he needed money for- if he would say food, then I would buy him food. I have made this my resolve to do, if I am approached again while here. But now all I can do is pray for this little boy. And pray that maybe some other person will take time to listen or reach out to him.
So as I face these various trials, trials of a communal poverty, of elderly pessimism, or of hopelessness, I find so much strength in the knowledge that although I am not capable of meeting all these needs and changing hearts, I know who is capable. The end of Romans 12 says to not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good....
Although this was seemingly not "my trial" it was my trial. It was difficult to respond first, in the midst of the moment, with love and compassion. Yet it taught me to take time to understand and to listen...and it tested my faith in coming to the Lord with this concern and heart-felt compassion and sorrow for the little boy. During my time here, there are certainly moments when it is hard to love mercy, do justice, to walk humbly, and to "never be lacking in zeal, but keeping spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Please pray, as I have two months left, that I will continue to grow in the knowledge and grace of the Lord, especially through these trials of various kinds! Please pray for this little beggar boy, and the others that I will encounter during my time here. Please pray that His glory and His love would evident in my life, every day and that I would continue to be humbled in loving others, considering it all a joy! :)
It was a great outing, and really enjoyable. Anita and I have become even closer friends over the past days, and I am so deeply thankful to the Lord for this budding friendship! She has become a confidant and listener of some of my more private and sensitive thoughts and feelings. And it has been such a joy to have someone to share those things with here, to share in honesty and love with the bond of Christ uniting us! Most certainly praise to the Lord for this time here with Anita and her friendship which has been sharpening and edifying!
The exquisite pottery shop in Korand.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
This year, my birthday was spent here in Romania! It was quite a blessing and joy to spend my golden birthday in such memorable circumstances. Although absent from my friends and family in the US, I am so very grateful for the family and friends that the Lord has placed in my life here.
The first birthday surprise was 2 ginormous packages from home!!! I was so floored to see them, and Rachel and mamma took joy in hiding them and ushering me into my room blindfolded to reveal the suprise packages. They were full of goodies from home- oreos, french vanilla coffee cream, marshmallows, syrup, my retainer (hehee) and gifts for the family here as well. Squeals of excitment, laughter and smiles was the noise coming from my bedroom as I opened the package with Rachel and mamma!! Thank you family for making my birthday here so special, even so far from home- (special thanks especially to Dennis and Renee! love you two!).
Morning of my birthday- Anita decorated the table with american placemates and candles. As I lit each candle we discussed memories from other years of life. It was so nice to reflect and share fun and special memories with her and Rachel! Anita also shared with me that every birthday she chooses a psalm for that year- I loved that idea and have decided to implement it as well! I chose Psalm 92 for various reasons.
The rest of the day held- a delicious lunch, a visit from friends, encouraging messages and cards, phone conversations with everyone in my family, and watching a movie! It was truly a wonderful birthday, and really when it comes down to it, I am thankful for another year- hours, days, months- time, to fully grow in the knowledge and joy of the Lord being my portion and my all!
This a section from Psalm 92, which I chose for the year, that illustrates well my prayer for the remainder of my life, that I may be like a cedar of Lebanon... bearing fruit in old age for His glory.
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the LORD,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
proclaiming, "The LORD is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.
Love and joy,