Monday, December 7, 2009

What's next...


One week left Italy, I'm sad to leave, and happy to start the next chapter of life. I have a job interview on the 21st of December. Please pray with me that I will get the job. It is at a cupcake bakery, I think it would be lots of fun.

I am also thinking that I want to become a pastry chef. That would require me going back to school for about a year or so. I am trying to think about where I can squeeze in classes as I work. Hope you are all having a lovely December.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Trees


We sit in anticipation of our next destination on the train.
We roll slowly through the countryside, past rows of vineyards, stacks of hay, and trees.
The leaves of the trees create a collage of color; red, green, gold, and orange.
They dance playfully with the wind, and begin to fall in delicate spirals towards the lush green grass.
Boldly, the trees begin to bear their branches to world, ready for the icy cold of winter.
Brown, gray, and white bark with knots, or indentations; they openly bear their scars of the past.
Their stories can be told with one look.
No fear in their hearts, they face the uncertainty of tomorrow.
No worry in their minds, they trust their days to their Maker.
Oh what great reminders are whispered by these trees.
They shall stay this way, as we continue past them on our journey of life.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Success!!!


Ladies and gentleman, I am proud to announce that this birthday was a heck of a lot better than last years. I will write more about it soon and post pictures from the event.

Thank you God, for a good birthday.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This week...


My cousin is coming to Bologna on Tuesday. It should be lots of fun getting to show her around, and travel a little more than normal. I will upload some pictures of our adventures in the future.

This week also signifies my 24th birthday. I can't quite believe that another year has passed. Last year, was the worst birthday of my life. My school that I worked at was sold, so I got a new boss and was not sure if I still had a job for half of the day. There were also two mandatory social work outings that day. Later, I went to a hookah place with my co-worker to celebrate, and felt a little sick afterwords. When I got home, the stomach pain did not stop, and it was followed by 13 1/2 hours of throwing up. This year, I making an effort to see that it is different. I am praying that it will be fun, and not painful. The situation is different, so I have hope that it will be a great one.

Hope you all have a great week, and love the Lord well.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

notes from the heart


I went to a conference last weekend. It was really encouraging, the different talks all spoke to my heart. Here are my notes from one of the talks. I hope you have time to read it, and be encouraged in your ministry whatever it may be.

From the Early Morning, Sow the Seed:
Eccl. 11:6

-We bring the hope of the nations (gospel), we have the precious gift of salvation

Prov. 6:10, Luke 13:3, Luke 4:42
-sow the seed, do not stop yourself or let others stop you!

-you have to know the soil you are sowing (aka culture, religious backgrounds, etc.)
-when a farmer intended to sow the seed, he had to take the stones out of the soil, remove weeds, work the soil to break it up, and then, he got to sow the seeds

-when coming into a culture that is not your own, do not share the gospel in a way that destroys their culture or their identity (ex:most Italians are Catholic and say they are Christians because they are Catholic. Do not tell them that they cannot be Catholic to be a Christian, because Catholisism has become a part of how they identify who they are)
-instead of destroying, respect them, love them, and use wisdom in how you approach them with the truth
Matt. 28:19 (Great Commission)

-little by little change will come
-you are a Christian, but you are also a disciple (from the Latin word for student)
-pray A LOT, listen A LOT, if you hear a word from God for someone, write it down!

I Cor. 11:1, 4:6
-we are to be immitators of the Word, mirrors reflecting it

Job 8:8
-don't ignore history
-take notes on the lessons you have to learn from God
-remember, you are on a team with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:20 "and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.")

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ho scelto di studiare Italiano.


In my attempt to learn more Italian, I thought I would share somethings I have learned with you all. Now you can also use these phrases in your everyday life in Italian.

La vecchia casa e gialla.- The old house is yellow.

Mi chiamo Julia.- My name is Julia.

Ho studiato Italiano oggi.- I studied Italian today.

Voglio questo.- I want this.

Qui e?- Who is it?

Il bambino e sotto l'aero.- The boy is under the airplane.

Cosa fai?- What are you doing?

Please forgive my lack of accents, they do not exist on my keyboard. I hope you all have fun using these fantastic phrases in your everyday life.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Better


Things are getting better on this side of the ocean. It has been an encouraging day. I studied Italian for 3 hours, talked on the phone with a potential employer, and went to a Bible study that is in Italian. I was lost half of the time, but it was encouraging that I understood some of it. My church vocab. is pretty good, now I just need to work more on my everyday language and speaking. Speaking is really the most difficult part of it for me. You can all pray that I would be improving and patient with myself/others.

Praise the Lord for all these blessings.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What do you need?


People need inspiration to thrive.
People need purpose to live.

Where do you find your inspiration?
Is it in the people that are in your life?
Is it in creation?
Is it in music?
Is it in organization?

Our purpose it to glorify God.

How do you use your inspiration in partnership with your purpose?
How do you glorify God?

When was the last time you made an effort to listen?
I'm not very good at listening.
I get uncomfortable in the quiet stillness, especially, when I think something should be happening.

How can I learn the art of being still? I seemed to have lost touch with it.














As you can see, beauty inspires me in any form.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Questions and a Statement of Moderate Length


A few questions:

What is my boat right now? Am I getting out of my boat?

Am I doing what I know I should be doing?

Why is society so driven by what they accomplish? Why can't we be, let God do, and stop racking up points for self righteous calculations?

A statement:

It is hitting me this week, that God puts me in odd positions that most people do not get to experience in their lives. I think I have a tiny idea of why I am here in Italy now. It was not the reason I supposed in the beginning, but when has it ever been what I thought? I came with nothing but the most glorious ideas and plans to progress my adulthood/future. It was a plan of action, not idleness, and then God stopped me in my tracks. There was a slight flaw in the layout I had created beforehand. Perhaps, I could have carried on with the old plans, but there were tiny irritating details that were not right. This is in no way a statement advocating idleness or saying that God has called me to be idle in this time. He is rather, calling me to something the grown up/working world will not see as practical or impressive on my resume. I don't think my life will ever resemble "the norm" for an adult. I will work, pay bills, and all that other fun stuff. There will also be times in which, I think I won't, times like now. This could all be proven wrong quite quickly over the next couple of years, but I am just pointing out the pattern I am noticing in my life. These times are not really for myself, but for others around me.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Italian Saga Continues...


How do I even start this? There is so much lately, and yet it feels like time is passing vaguely with no great intent. I still have not started cooking classes. That fact alone leaves me with little to do during the day. I read, and have opportunities to serve others, which I will expound upon more later in the post.

I have a few acquaintances here in Bologna, but no great friends to go and grab coffee with. Goodness, these are great moments when I miss Korea. No, not Korea, but the parts of Korea, and the people there. I miss having people to do things with. This morning my mother asked me if I was going anywhere, and I am afraid I might have had a rude tone with her in my response. All I said was, "no," but I could have said it in a nicer tone. My response was fueled by the thought of-- why would I go somewhere? There is no one to go somewhere with, so why I would I go somewhere alone? I actually did go downtown the other day by myself, but it was so boring. The only excitement was that I was doing something, I was exploring again. There was an undertone of adventure lingering in the bus ride, and the accomplishment of knowing which stops to get off at, but loneliness was soon my companion as I walked the streets of Bologna by myself for 30 minutes. You think that being in Italy would be exciting enough to make me happy, but it is not enough.

On that note, I will let you all know what the Lord has been in the midst of my loneliness and searching for a place here. I have been reading from this book that my friend gave me before I left Korea. It is like a daily devotional. It is called "Streams in the Desert."

The first lesson is that sometimes the Spirit requires from us a service of waiting. As the author states so eloquently, "I came to see that in the kingdom of Christ, there are not only times for action, but times to refrain from action.....Inspire me with the knowledge that a person may sometimes be called to serve by doing nothing, by staying still, or by waiting." The question now is can I learn to wait and how can I glorify Him when He asks me to do nothing?

The second lesson is more like inspiration. I will just leave you with the quote and let you think upon it. "It is your mission to walk onto the stage of this world in order to reveal to all of heaven and earth that the music in life lies not in your circumstances or external things but in your own soul."

I have recently had an opportunity to serve as I mentioned above. There were some circumstances in which I could use my cooking to serve others, and it was a blessing to me maybe more than it was to them. I was so thankful to have something to do with myself. There have been some things to do, but they have all been focused on me and my stupid cooking lessons. When I cooked for the family, it felt right, it was like that was what I was meant to do. I long to be removed from myself and to be poured out for others. Why must I wait, why can't it begin now? I was made for a life of service, and yet it seems there are other avenues I must travel before I can reach that purpose. Maybe it is like Spurgeon says, "Is the Lord uncovering your gifts and causing them to grow? Is He developing the qualities of a soldier by shoving you into the heat of battle? Should you not then use every gift and weapon He has given you to become a conqueror?" I don't feel like I am in the heat of battle, but maybe this time is a battle in itself. A silent battle that must waged within my heart. Perhaps this battle will increase my heart's strength and make it able to withstand all that lies ahead of it.

I am reminded now of my friend in Korea who would always say with tears in her eyes, "There is just so much goodness, so many good things here." I want my heart and mind to travel in that direction. I will keep waiting for it to begin, and remember there is so much goodness. There are so many good things here. Thank You God, for this place and this time even if I don't quite recognize all that You are doing in it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Italian Chapter Has Only Just Begun.


I have made it across China, Russia, and arrived in Italy. Nothing too exciting has happened over the past couple of days, just trying to defeat my arch enemy, jet lag. I am also in the process of trying to get my bank to understand that I do not live in the USA, even though I have not lived in the USA for over 12 months now....I have words for them that I will not express here.

Now is the time that I find myself the most antsy. I can't really relax, and I am having a hard time imagining a new chapter of my life. There is a war inside of my head. Time to make new friends, time to do new things, but I am not quite ready yet. I can't quite abandon the past 12 months. Not that coming to a new chapter means disregarding the old one, but it just all feels too quick, too fresh. I don't feel like I am in the right place right now, and I have no idea where the right place would really be. I feel like I am running into some invisible wall that will not let me pass. Despite all my feelings, I know that we live by faith and not sight, but sight has been discouraging me more than I would like it to. Hoping that I will soon find that adventurous girl that I seem to have left in Asia.

To top it all off, I miss my friends. You can listen, but you can't know unless you were there. It will never be the same again. History repeats itself, but God doesn't work the same in your life, He tends to go about teaching you things in different ways than before. Waiting for Him to move or for me to be aware of it, but until then, I will continue walking in this fog.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I'm actually leaving on a jet plane soon....


Dear friends and family,

Tomorrow, technically Monday, I will get on a bus and go to the airport. Then, I will get on an air plane and end of year in Korea. Once I get to Italy I will write a more formal post about it all, but this is all I can manage for time's sake now. Pray for my rearranging of bags, and the journey ahead of me to Italy. I cannot believe I have made it to this day....thanks for all of your support and prayers through this chapter of my life.

This is one of my crazy classes that I love and will miss.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

unraveling...


I feel like a frayed sweater, and someone is pulling on the loose string. Slowly I am unraveling this week. Between saying good bye, packing, and being booked every morning/night, I am exhausted. I have teared up a few times over the last couple of days. This is brutal, just like leaving Lubbock was brutal, but in a different fashion. Just trying not to get swept away in my sea of emotions....

This is a picture of my student Sophia and me. Isn't she precious?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Round Here


Not much to say today except for emotions are high these days over here for me.
Packing has begun, and I never thought that would happen. Sometimes I used to wonder whether I would live through these 12 months or not. I am trying to be balanced. Making time for people, packing, cleaning, closing it all up, and processing is not an easy task. This is my least favorite part of life. The only thing I am trying to fill my mind with, is the joy of the Lord. Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, and rejoice! That joy is the only thing that will see me through the harder areas of leaving the people I love so dearly here, and the life that I have grown slightly comfortable in.

I want to continue to be responsible. The goal is to not let sloth creep in. You know when time passes and you look back on younger years. I am seeing how stupid I was. I am learning to value discipline, and slowly getting rid of my pet sloth named "apathy," which has lived with me for about 5 years now. Without even realizing it, I have kicked "apathy" out this year. I suppose this is evidence of maturity in my life. A good sign at the end of 12 months.

Keep me in your prayers, my journey is right at the finish line, but I have not crossed it yet.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Balance beams


Two weeks left and so much to do, or potentially do. Sometimes I find myself living with this syndrome in which, I try to fix everyone and everything around me. Here I am again, trying to mend broken relationships between other people, say everything to everyone that needs to be said, and make sure that it is all running smoothly when I leave. My desire to break out my tool box comes from a few good desires that are twisted into something not healthy. When I can't fix my problem or yours, I have a hard time accepting it. As I close this saga with the Asian relative of "Wrapping It Up," I am trying to find the delicate balance between being controlling over the situations, and not doing what the Lord wants me to do. Oh how balance is the key, and it always reminds me of a balance beam in gymnastics. That was the apparatus I hated the most. One wrong move and you were on the ground. With God as my spotter, I am confident that it will all turn out well.

Monday, August 31, 2009

For Brett


I had a talk with my brother a few weeks ago about the future. New changes are ahead for both of us, and he described this image that I cannot get out of my head. Here it is thought through, hope you enjoy it brother.

I stand on the precipice of all that is to come.
I feel the winds howling, and running right through my body, sending chills to my bones.
I see the clouds approaching, they are rolling in like the tide.
I smell the rain that lingers from afar.
I feel the rush of adrenaline at the edge of this cliff.
I can't move forward, but I am captivated and cannot go back.
I do not know what is coming, but I see the danger, the excitement, the joy, the hope, the tears, the heart ache, the fear, and the all consuming glory.
I long for the storm; for the rains to beat down against my body.
I long for the purpose and the direction in which it travels.
The danger enthralls me, and brings me closer to the end of the jagged limestone monument, built in pride, that stands against every storm.
I want to leave the ground and take flight into the eye of the madness, which is the calm of the storm.
I want to defy the expectations of this world, and go beyond what any ordinary man can dream.
You are drawing me closer......closer......closer.......closer..........and closer.
It cannot end, I will stand in this state of euphoria, and wait for what is coming next.
I will wait for the storm.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fast Answers


I said I needed tangible encouragement, and I got it today. It came in the most unexpected form. For special music, a group of blind people came in from a blind ministry. One guy sang, and a girl played the piano. The song made me cry, and the speech before the song made me cry more. He sang "Give Thanks," which, I normally find a cheesy kind of song, but it came to life for me today. Before the song, he said that sometimes he feels sad about his weaknesses (aka-blindness), lack of family, and money, but he remembers what Christ did on the cross. When he remembers this, he is thankful. It was like once again, the Lord was reminding me to be thankful in all situations. When he sang, "Let the weak say I am strong, let the poor say I am rich, because of what the Lord has done." you could see that he really meant it. Lots of people were crying, and I suddenly felt as if my situation is not so bad. It is something I will struggle through, but I will overcome it, because He makes the weak strong. Our God, is the strength of the feeble English teachers, such as myself. I have so much, and am so blessed. Today, I am thankful, and I hope this continues until I leave.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Trials....again.


I am at the three week marker. Three more weeks, and all the drama, joy, and tears will be over. It's been a hard week to say the least. Too many things have happened, I have wanted to pick up and leave multiple times. It feels like someone wants to steal my joy and not let me leave well. Matter of fact, I am sure that someone wants to ruin it for me. The past four weeks have been so good, but I know that these last three will be a battle. My co-worker, Chloe, is gone now. Her last day was Wednesday, and that statement in itself is part of my controversial week. Work is not the same without her. I miss her bubbly smile and enthusiasm. We would sympathize with each other through these work dilemmas, but now I just have Andrew. I love Andrew, but he is passive and does not like to vent or have someone vent to him. He will only break when the pressure is on, and it is no longer bearable. I, on the other hand, feel that it is healthy to express yourself at all times, maybe more than I really should. At the end of the day, I am thankful that he is still here with me. All I know is that the Trinity will have to be taking lots of action in my life for the next three weeks. I am seeing old trials come up again, and it is like a big re-test. It's almost as if someone is giving me a second chance. Some of these tests were handled well the previous times, and some not so well. Pray for me and my upcoming trials, I know there will be plenty at hand this week alone. On Monday, I teach from 2pm-9pm with one 45minute break around 3:30pm., but no dinner break. I also will have completely new students. It is sad to me that I have to leave soon and I am now teaching different kids that I do not know. I cannot spend my last days with my kids that I have had for 11 months. It feels kind of stupid to walk in on Monday and say, "Hi, I'm Julia, I leave in three weeks, so enjoy our short time together!" These are only a few of the things that compiled to make the ugly monster that we will call "last week". I will end this post by saying that I am not excited about the next three weeks, God will have to give me visible encouragement soon. I will update more later, and let you all know how the rest of it is all panning out.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

May I have this dance?


In my pursuit to be a responsible adult, there are some days where I feel more like a teenager than an adult. It is like a violent wind is pushing me back from all the steps forward that I have taken this year. Will I ever get better at being a disciplined person? I am doing a salsa dance with responsibility. Two steps forward, and one step back, two steps forward, and one step back. Perhaps, eventually I will make some more head way, but for now, I see no great progress. I am just dancing in the same spot with a few spins around it. Will this dance with responsibility ever get easier, or will I just have to suck it up and keep dancing for the rest of my life? If that is the case, I think I should have picked different shoes, these heels are killing me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Confusion and Fear


"For God is not a God of disorder but of peace."

-I Cor. 14:33

You know those moments in your life where everything feels like a swirling vortex of never-ending madness? The moments that leave you curled up in the fetal position on your bed or on the floor, praying for the darkness to pass, and all the while wondering how you ever got to this place. Nothing seems to be clear, everything is quite ambiguous and part of you is lost. It feels like your soul has a missing limb. You know it is there somewhere, but you just can't seem to find it. Maybe it is numb and waiting for the circulation of life to return to it, or maybe it is gone. I only dare to dive into this dark place with you all to address an issue that has been haunting me for the past three or four months. It came a bit before "Wrapping It Up," it was unexpected, and hard to etch its character with my words, but I will try my best. This visitor will earn the name of "Confusion." I have been fighting a daily battle with confusion in my heart since I started reading a certain book. I had to stop part of the way through, because parts of it were very real to me, and evil I should say. That is when this wretched visitor took up residence. It slowly, but surely oozed its way into my box that I call home. Around this time, some of my church friends began to approach me and speak to me about things like gifts of the Spirit aka-speaking in tongues. My mind began to launch into this cataclysmic spiral, I was questioning all that I knew about this topic. After research, and discussion with others, I came to a conclusion, but "Confusion" did not go away. It was so subtle and slimy that I did not even know it was there. My heart never realized something was wrong, until my eyes saw the reality that most of my emotions were dead. I am not saying that emotions are the ultimate in this life, we walk by faith and not sight, but I am normally such a highly emotional person, that it scared me. Now, let me introduce you to "Confusion's" friend, "Fear." "Fear" and "Confusion" are old school pals, they ran in the same gang and still have not grown out of the habit of making people's lives miserable. When "Fear" entered the picture, I was listening to many podcasts. These podcasts would scare the hell out of me. They were about things like false prophets, people who pretend to be believers and are not, and my personal favorite "A Call to Weep." I know that I have an authentic relationship with the Lord, and that I can approach His throne with confidence, but I also know what happens to some people over time. I know that we have all witnessed watching a person who was walking with the Lord, or whom we thought was a strong believer go drastically in the other direction. I began to fear that this would be me. James 1 speaks of a man who looks in a mirror and then forgets his reflection. It says that if we hear the Word and don't do what we hear, we are like that man. "Fear" had me paralyzed for a few weeks, because I knew that I do not always do what I hear. I know that there are times when I go straight in the other direction. During these podcasts, that I used to find as an encouragement, I would cry and lay on my bed in a little ball. Afterwards, I would go to work, not have any energy, and be disappointed with myself. For about a month, I thought this was normal and okay. After seeing affect it was having on me physically and at work, I stopped listening to them. In these times, where so many lies were being spoken to me, God was always whispering the truth. He started with, "you will never be enough." The next week it was, "it is okay, I don't expect you to be perfect." These words over and over again, until I finally decided to believe them.

In our Biblestudy that we are doing with our church right now, there has been one verse that has moved my heart. It has brought this whole fiasco to light. It is the one I started the post with, I Corinthians 14:33 "For God is not a God of disorder but of peace." When I saw this verse, I saw my visitors for the first time. I have promptly kicked them since then, and hope they never return. This is a truth that I want etched on my heart in these times. There is so much uncertainty about what I am going to do with my life or where the Lord even wants me to be. Holding this verse firmly in my heart, and my mind, I will venture into the next chapter. All I can hope for now is normal emotions for a person who is leaving a place they have to grown to love through many battles, and that there will be no further unexpected visitors apart from God's doing. On another note, I do believe that in some of these times I was under attack, it happens, I Peter 5:8-9 says so, "8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings." Please pray for me in this last month. The only thing I know is that he probably attacks those who can do great things or have great things in store for them, and honestly, that makes me excited. Let's see what the Lord does. I invite you to watch and wait with me. In light of all this, I have switched to something a little stronger to take off the edge, a nice cup of coffee. Until next time, stay grounded firmly in the truth and have a cup of coffee for me.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Do I hear You?
What are You saying?
Maybe I am not the best listener.
Maybe You are silent.
Maybe You are whispering.
In the still small moments of silence and serenity Your presence abounds.
That is enough for today, knowing that You are here with me.
Being enveloped in Your peace, even if I am not hearing anything.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Green Tea


39 more days...I have a plane ticket, it is booked for September 21st, 1:10pm. Tomorrow, I go out and say bye to my friend Yanin. Two weeks after that, I get to say bye to one of my co-workers, Chloe. I feel like I am lacking the words I need in these last few days left. It's like a well coming up dry and empty. I feel so much, but the Lord is giving me perfect peace. These past two weeks have been relatively easy because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I guess this just another cup of tea I am having with Wrapping It Up. The flavor on this occasion is green tea. When you make it right, it tastes great and refreshing, but leave the tea bag in too long and it is bitter/nasty. For example, these are refreshing days. At work, when the kids act up, I am quite calm, and actually can relate to them better now. Maybe it's because I feel like there is nothing else that they can throw at me. They can say what they want, and do what they want, but in about 5 weeks, they will be someone else's responsibility. I am being blessed with a disposition to love most of my classes at deeper level than I normally would. There are still a few classes that I will NOT be sad to get away from, but I love the rest of them. I find myself wanting to just hang out and play games with them, and get to know them more before I go. I have resisted, and stuck to drilling the complex English language into their tiny heads. My greatest desire as this time with them winds down, is that they would feel loved in my class. That they would see a living example of the gospel. Looking back over the past 11 months, I know that there are times that I have not displayed the love of Jesus to those kids. My heart hopes that the times when I did will overshadow them. I hope they come to understand that they are precious in God's sight, even when the culture and their own family tells them they are not. These are my thoughts as of late. Just hoping that this tea bag does not sit too long and turn sour before I go.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Piece of Work...


Following the lines on my hands, looking at the delicately crafted appendage and pondering its Artist. Crafted with great care, no detail over looked. It was all quite deliberate and unique, not the same as His other many masterpieces, but equally loved. It's not just skin deep, there is more going on underneath than you can imagine. Though man explores every facet of the life pumping in my body, they miss so much. In all the bundled nerve endings, veins, micro organisms, and organs that create the most magnanimous maze-I am still a vast expanse that you cannot exhaust. Beyond the physical, He created a canvas that is intangible. A canvas that runs like a rampaging river, changing colors with the setting sun, and bursting with exuberance in it's purpose. The Artist has not stopped creating, molding, and making me into everything that He has ever dreamed for me to be. He fashioned me in His image, bestowed me with every curl on my brunette head, measured out my height, and blessed my vocal chords. The quirks and rough edges are not always valuable to the watchers; but it is not for the watchers in the gallery, I have one critic. I have an audience of One that I live and breath for, my Artist. Fixing my eyes on Him and awakening to a new life the surpasses the walls of this gallery. A moving, living, breathing, free work of art in process.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Inevitable...


Saturday morning, I am sitting in my apartment listening to Sara Groves "He's Always Been Faithful" song on repeat. I am reveling in the Lord and His faithfulness to me. Today marks the beginning of August, and I find myself wondering how I have survived this long here. It is amazing to think of all that has happened, and is still happening despite the fact that so many people I love are leaving this place. As I changed my five different calendars, (yes, I have 5), I was overwhelmed with all the emotions and the only thing I feel in my heart is thankfulness. Here is my next date with Wrapping It Up. I will walk you through this cup of tea, because I believe it is crucial to all persons who experience transition. Let's face it, whether you want to or not, you will be in the same place that I am one day. This tea date calls for peppermint. It's quite appropriate in light of the refreshing taste it leaves in my mouth. Wrapping It Up looks at me from his seat on the floor and reminds me that there are only 7 weeks left in Korea. He says, "Are you ready to leave? How are you going to deal with this?" Tears well up in my eyes as I sit in my lime green camping chair. "Think about all the wonderful people and things that have happened and are happening now." he continues and sips his cup of peppermint tea. The memories are flooding back to me. Memories of September, October, November, December, January, February, March, April, May, June, and July. Friendships of all shapes and sizes, trials and triumphs, falling and getting back up...the list continues to flow through my head like the Red River. All the while the lyrics "He's always been faithful to me," are playing for the twentieth time, yet it is not enough, I feel I will never grow tired of those words. "All I have need of His hand will provide, He's always been faithful to me." I feel paralyzed by the words, by the gaze coming from across the room. "You know this is the key to leaving," says my visitor looking at me with those piercing eyes that always make me feel 5 years old again. "Be thankful for what has been, what is, and what will be. He has always been faithful to you, He always will be. I know that you feel like you don't know where you are going or what you are doing, but He does." Now I have to breath deep the peppermint aroma and take a few gulps to help ease the tears that won't stop coming. They are falling the like the rains of Daegu in monsoon season. Moments like this remind me that no matter how much I dislike Wrapping It Up and his family, they have all had their therapeutic moments. Wrapping It Up shows me the pain, and the joy in it all. My thought process is interrupted as Wrapping It Up utters another phrase, "Remember Julia, you don't have to have it all together, that's not possible." Relief floods over me, and for the millionth time in my life I lay down my gynormous burden at the cross. "He's always been faithful to me." I breath out. These are the moments when I know the love the Lord, the moments when I am brought low and reminded that I am just a person. He is my King, I am the servant. All I want to do now is sit at His feet for a little while, until He tells me what we are doing next. I feel the comfort of His arms around me holding me in the midst of this turbulent world. Now I know that He loves me. I always know it in the back of my mind, but somedays I believe it well, and others I do not. This beautiful moment is one that will stay in my mind when I need a reminder to press on.
I look across the room and realize that Wrapping It Up is still there, "Sorry for neglecting you, I was just having a moment, or ten I guess." He smiles and shakes his head, "It's no problem, I have always enjoyed listening to this song. My job is not always talking. Well, I am finished with my tea. Isn't peppermint so refreshing?"
"Would you like another cup?" I offer.
"No, that's okay, I have to get going, I will see you later, I'll call ahead of time to let you know what tea I will want." He gets up slowly, humming the song quietly, and leaves.
Dear friends, leave well, and even if you are not leaving now, remember He is always faithful to us. Try some peppermint tea this week, it is one of my favorites these days. Love you.

P.S.-Inspired by my visitor over my vacation I visited the green tea plantation in Boseong, South Korea. The picture is the green tea field.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

For my dear friend...

This post is dedicated to a dear friend of mine who has stuck herself in a bad situation again.

For you my dearest friend and...
For all the broken-hearted.
For the fools who so diligently place their hearts and hope in another broken person's hands.
For the collapsing feeling in the pit of your stomach when you are once again, let down.
For the pedastool that you always put those men on, they can only stand on it for so long, friend.
For the rapid fluttering of your elated heart when "that" person is near.
For the excitement they bring to the world, when suddenly, everything is new and full of color.
I say all this for you, because....
Love has the power to move mountains, change hearts, change lives, change minds, give life, bring freedom to those in bondage, and so much more.
The world yields for love, yet so often, we find that our imperfect love is just blind infatuation.
I love you friend, and hope you see that life does not begin in these things, they are merely just a grain of sand on the ocean shore.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Life starts now.


I read something profound today that sparked great thoughts in my mind. There is a chapter in the book, "Cold Tangerines," and it is called Waiting. It is about how we are all waiting for our lives to start, and we think if only we were richer, thinner, lived in a different place, or had a different job, then our lives would really begin. This is why so many people love the epic movies with the turning point, the moment that defines the beginning of rest of their lives. I was watching a movie last night thinking that my life was a bit dull, and if only I had a bit more adventure than this humdrum business. I quickly retracted my statement when I read this chapter. Life has begun, it is happening now, nothing gets more exciting than this. We are living a life with the God of the universe who has a purpose for us, and we must take captive every moment we can. For who knows what is written that we do not see, and whose live are changed as a result of the things that we consider dull. Honestly, my life is not boring, the fact that I live in South Korea kind of knocks it off the charts. Even more exciting is that I can see God's hand moving here, and there are things that I know I cannot see as well. What I cannot see makes me even more excited than what I can see. Here is a toast, amidst my many cups of transitional tea to the adventure of life, and the glory of God that it is purposefully exercised in our world.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tea Time


Tea Date #1: Bhavani is gone. We all went out for the last time with her yesterday. The choice of tea for the occasion was sweet with an awkward taste that tends to linger, and finishes with an unemotional response. I am sad that she is gone now, but I didn't cry. It really hasn't hit me yet, I wonder when it will...

*Bhavani is the one in the middle.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Ocean


My love for You is like the ocean shore.
You will find it shallow apart from the water.
When the water has completely consumed it's expanse, it reaches to unsearchable depths.
Depths of great mystery that no man can define or know, but You.
Without the water, I fall to pieces and am formless.
With the water, You can shape me in anyway and fulfill Your purpose for my existence.
Consume all that I am with Your water, I desire nothing less.
The crystal blue depth revives my weary soul.
Let the tide roll in with all Your mighty waves.
Move me with Your ebb and flow.
Oh that my love would be like the great depths of the ocean floor at all times.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Do you remember your security blanket?


It feels like the fall again, some of the trees even look like they are changing colors, or maybe they are just dying from the heat index. I am now brought face to face with the fact that I am desperately impoverished once again. It was the looming cloud over my fall months and even settled into my winter. Honestly, it was the grace that helped me attempt to learn humility, servant hood, and love at different levels than I had been willing in the past. Once again, I revisit the fact that there is nothing good in me, I have nothing to offer apart from the Lord. This reminder has been quite gloriously highlighted by my desire to string along a certain person; like a child drags their security blanket behind them on the ground. It is actually quite the twisted relationship. No, wait, I recant, that is no relationship, it is a twisted addiction. The child claims to "love" this blanket, yet drags it through the dirt and refuse of this world. I think if the child honestly loved it, it would carry it properly in its arms. It would not ever carelessly touch the ground, it would be protected, but this blanket merely exists to fulfill a level of need and selfish desires. This person is my security blanket. For the sake of posterity and in case any of you should ever meet said person down the road in your life, I will not say his name. Rather, I shall call him Collin Firth. Collin makes me feel like I am in a familiar place, and I have confidence in this place that I know. It does not surprise me as so much of this year has. He is also an attractive human being who may be attracted to me as far as I can tell. That is never a bad thing in a girl's eyes (unless you are not attracted to that man). Finally, when you mix all these factors together over a period of time at room temperature, rotating the bowl every so often, the result is a validated human being. I honestly feel excitement when Collin is around, even though I know he is not the best thing for me right now. My friend says it is because I am bored at times. Knowing me, and the fact that I love painting word pictures or referencing metaphors, I will give you another one for this debacle. It is like the flamethrower at church, I love the rush I get from the fire that shoots out of it. I love the fact that I can control the strength of the flame, and I never waste a second thinking of its dangers. In reality, it would take the smallest thing for the fire to get out of hand, and for the adrenaline rush to kill me. I have no wisdom in my head regarding how I might stop or destroy what has become an idol, because this has been my fall back with similar versions of Collin over the span of my life. I am only asking that the Lord takes the flamethrower out of my hands. That He becomes my validation and security. It's time to grow up and surrender my blanket.

Prayers and wisdom are always appreciated.

Monday, July 6, 2009

My coat rack


The state of my apartment resembles the state of my life.
A hook is missing from my wall so my coat rack is hanging slanted.
Gravity is taunting it, waiting until the final hook gives way and crashes to the ground.
When will it no longer be enough to hold the weight of everything I have piled onto it?
It does not realize how much danger lies in hanging by one hook, naively holding on, and for what?
Only in the moment that it begins to completely become unattached to the wall will it realize what is at hand.
Only at the time that it is falling, will it's eyes be opened to the peril it was living in for so long.
How long will it take to repair once the damage is done?
I suppose for now the coat rack enjoys the thrill of living on one hook.
It knows it ought to let go, but life would be so dull otherwise.
Why does this stupid thing thrill it so?
The good natural thing, has become the dangerous thing.
It will be humbled, it will be brought to its knees, and it will be pieced back together from the shambles left laying on the floor.
The soiled garments that once hung on it will be cleaned.
It will fulfill it's purpose once again.
It will hang on the wall, and display the beauty it's master has placed on it.
Adjusting to two hooks will take some time, after living so long in the other manner.
It was almost like second nature, but continuing in that way would only mean death.
This time it will be stronger, this time it will remember the danger of the thrill, and it's fall.


Let me close this metaphor with a reassurance that nothing overly dramatic or awful has happened to me. I am just referring to some issues that the Lord has opened my eyes to over the past weekend. They have been prevalent for so many years, but only now can I see it. May you have the grace to see yourself rightly this week, and walk away from those things.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hello July!


July has arrived subtly over the green ridges of the Apsan mountains here in Daegu, South Korea, and I am facing a new chapter of my journey here. I dub this one sweet and sour. Reality has come knocking at my door, I have been refusing to answer, looking through the key hole and wishing that my visitor would just leave. It doesn't quite ever work that way. It always returns in some form or another. I am deciding to embrace it now so as not to have it come back and visit me in later years, resulting in something more emotional or ugly than the present. I like to think of the summer months in Korea as the harvest time. All the new teachers begin to come, and all the old begin to leave. Reality's estranged side of the family that is visiting me now as I have come to know so fondly is named "wrapping it up." Yesterday, I went to a good bye party for four different people. This past Sunday, I also said good bye to two other friends of mine from church. I will be one of the last of my group of friend's to leave, except for the few who are or have resigned. I hate being left, I would rather leave than be left. The feeling leaves me with an inexplainable lack of words to describe the feelings in my heart or how the blood begins to pulsate in a different manner through my veins.

"Wrapping it up" and I have a few tea dates ahead of us. I am not sure which tea I should buy in preparation for it, I must be careful because my visitor's family tends to be picky. "Wrapping it up" has many siblings. There was "Wrapping it up Austin", "Wrapping it up Germany", and the most recent one was "Wrapping it up Lubbock College Years." Each sibling was different, and preferred a different kind of tea. One was mild and decaf camomile. The other one wanted Chai, and the last one wanted Passion Tea from Starbucks. I have a feeling that this visitor will not want green tea, even though it is the Asian sibling. We will sit outside and enjoy the summer weather when it is not too hot, and have tea multiple times over the next two months. At the end of these two months, when the summer sun begins to fade and the breeze begins to hint at the coming of fall, I will have my final visitor in Daegu, South Korea. That unavoidable September month will bring a rollercoaster of emotions, and something stronger than tea, by that I mean coffee. = ) My final friend is named "Say what you need to say." I will spend time with those who mean most to me here that are left, and have deeply moving and beautiful talks over coffee. Then I will board a big jetplane on September 22nd, that will take me to the next chapter that I have yet to name. It is really too soon to say now, but I will tell you when the time comes closer.

Why I tend to struggle more with my current visitor than any of the other siblings of the past is, because there are SO many DIFFERENT feelings associated with "Wrapping it up Asia." I revel in the thought of no longer teaching the same tedious monotonous curriculum every 3 months to rude or overworked children. I revel in knowing that I will not be stared at in Italy. I will have access to a bathtub, an oven, and to family! On the other end of the spectrum, I have invested so much, in so many people here, and it grieves me to leave them. To not know if they will ever have changed hearts or lives. Leaving my church family here will tear me apart on some levels. This is my first time to not shop like a consumer in a market for a church, but ask God how I can be a part of my church instead of just criticizing it. The thought of leaving certain students of mine also grieves me deeply. There are specific ones that I love so much, and know that I encourage them since they are outcasts in their own culture or family. I have been pushed and shaped so much in this place that it will always hold a special place in my heart, and yet if you asked if I wanted to do it again, I would say no. Too many extremes on both ends of the spectrum. I haven't cried yet, I don't really know when it will happen. Right now, I am doing the only thing I can, stocking up on different kinds of tea so my visitor will not be disappointed. I fear not the future or what it holds, rather I want to live in my present well. Have a cup of your favorite tea for me this week.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's been a little while...


I realize that it's been a little while since I last updated, but my sister has been here for the last two weeks, so my life has been running on turbo schedule. Today she left, that was sad. As I sat on the train ride home thinking about how hard it is to see people and then let them leave again, I was doing my Biblestudy, Experiencing God. This lesson was about obedience to God and the fact that it effects everyone around you. Everyone pays for your obedience or disobedience. Being obedient meant coming to Korea, the cost is missing family and friends back in the states. I don't even want to know what the consequences would have been if I had not come. Now I am just praying for the courage to continue obeying, even in the hard times. Even if I know that it not going to be glamorous or fun. I am currently also re-adjusting to having no one in my apartment with me. It is not fun, especially on the first day. I am trying to stay busy, and rest at the same time. Hope we all hear what the Lord says this week and obey.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Great Song


This is one of my favorite songs of all time. I started listening to it again today because I remember it after 10 years and I am working on my Spanish. It is originally in Spanish, but I have translated it into English for all you and me. It helps me appreciate it more. If you want to see the Spanish look at my notes of Facebook. I have it posted there as well. Read through the lyrics, better yet, meditate on them.

Jehovah, Lord of the heavens.
Glorious is Your Name.
The King of the universes and Redeemer of men.
The rain in the trees. The wings of the angels. They would proclaim Your beauty.
They would announce Your riches. I am weak Lord, and blind.
Overwhelmed by horrors, sinful desires, and apart from Your giving.
Free me from my wickedness.
Bless me with Your goodness.
Sustain me God in Your grace, sweet lover of my soul.
The dwelling of Your temple is illuminated with beauties, stars of the firmament, and a spring of colors.
Magnanimous in Holiness, splendid in charity.
Jehovah, Lord of the heavens, Light of the eternal way.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Memory


It's funny what you remember about places or languages. Today, I was talking with my brother about Germany, and the only German that I can remember. I was exposed mainly to church vocabulary because that was the only place that I really heard consistent German speaking. The irony is that there are some words that I remember, but did not know what they meant. My brother looked them up for me and I am think that it was more of an encouragement from the Lord than anything else. Those two words are: verlaufen and vertrauen. I don't know how it happened, but they returned to my mind tonight. Verlaufen means essentially to run or continue, and vertrauen means belief or trust depending on the context used. Let me just tell you that today was a hard day. We got our new schedules, and I pretty much loathed the entire day. I contemplated quitting a few times because the thought of continuing in this for 3 more months make me want to shout obscenetities or just sit down and cry. These two words minister to my soul to press on even though everything in me wants to quit right now. I am even wondering if it is worth the money I will make to stick around until September. You can pray that I will take these two words to heart, and the other word that I received from the Lord this morning. It was actually foreshadowing for my whole day, because He said that He would carry me through this, that He would be enough for me today.

As for the issue in which I needed perspective, it seems very small compared to insurmountable feelings welling up in my heart right now. I have to battle through the next three months, and then wrap it all up in September. Today I don't want to be a teacher, but God is telling me to stay for the rest of my contract. I will obey, but the joyful part will take some divine intervention.

P.S.-The whole thing with North Korea is not as crazy as the news makes it seem. Be careful what you believe on the news.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Perspective


When your life has situations that you cannot understand, it is easy to blame God, or to try and figure it out yourself, but I am learning to wait for His perspective in the situation. "His" being God's perspective, thought I should just clarify that. I thirst for His perspective and yet am afraid of it at the same time. Afraid that it will mean pain, it will happen if it has to, but I don't want it to. I want a perspective that is pain free, but how often does that happen when we so often try to control our own lives. I don't know why this situation was brought into my life, I did not seek it out, and I cannot run from it. All I can pray for is perspective, patience, and wisdom to see this clearly, because quite frankly, it so easy to be blind. This sucks....

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Results

I did not win in the Art competition, but I am okay with that, because two far more talented artists won. If the other two people in my category had won, then I would be sad, but they lost too, so all is well. Here are some pics of everything like I promised:


Friday, May 22, 2009

If I love...


The deeper I dive into my Bible study with church, the more I see how active love must be. If I love the Lord, I must obey Him. Obedience always requires action, sometimes the actions are not fun or easy. Right now, I am learning life lessons about obeying, and seeing that God will give you the same opportunity to obey Him with an area that you failed in in the past. He did it all the time with the Israelites, there were many tests that were repeated so they could learn to obey the Lord. This time, I want to obey, I do not want fail like I did in the past. Redemption is beautiful, and having a patient God that wants you to learn so much that He would give you a second chance is amazing to me. Here I am, under construction as always, but welcoming the changes that are taking place. I hope that I can leave Korea in September and say that I have no regrets about these 12 months.

On other exciting notes, I got to share the gospel with my friend Beth on Wednesday night. We talked a lot about the reality of hell, and there has to be a hell for there to be a loving God. It was definitely an answer to prayer because I had not gotten to share with her yet. She said that she likes talking about these things with me and does not know exactly what she believes yet. She does however believe that we are all essentially gods at different levels, and that we should all love each other. I told her I agree that we should all love each other, but that Jesus was the only one who came in human form and was also God. I am hoping that we will get a chance to talk about the depravity of man soon, I am looking to proding her a bit about the fact that we are all gods. What a scary thought, may it never be!

My last point is that tonight is the awards ceremony for the art show. There are only 5 people in my category, so that makes my chances a lot greater to win. They will give awards for first and second place. I will let you all know what happens. Even if I do not win, I will not be too disappointed, I am just happy that I got the opportunity to participate in something like this. They also have our artist statements posted up for everyone to see as they look at the art, I will show you the pictures of it all later. Hope you are having a blessed week!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Learning...


A new English teacher here had his birthday yesterday, and a friend asked him what he learned in the last year. After she asked that question, I began to think of what I have been learning in my 23rd year of life. Here are a few of the things:

-you are never too young to be in the center of God's will
-worrying about things can make you physically ill and tear you apart
-it is never too late to say "I'm sorry" for mistakes in the past
-obeying God is the most freeing thing in life
-walking by faith requires living in discomfort
-not being comfortable pushes you closer to God
-God doesn't promise me wealth, health, or happiness, but He unceasingly loves me and says that His love is enough
-Loving people requires time, humbleness, and willing to be vulnerable
-you don't need what you think you need much of the time
-God is always at work around you, watch to see where He is working and join Him
-share the gospel at every chance you get, it could mean life for someone else, and it will definitely remind you of your own life that have been given
-people aren't meant for trophies, pedastools, or idols, they always fail you
-spend lots of uninterrupted and uncompromised time with God
-when you ask Him to speak, He does, so make sure you know what you are asking for
-don't let the mole hills become mountains and distract your walk with the Lord, they aren't worth it
-when you have a hard time spending time alone with God, it is not a scheduling issue, it is a heart issue, or better stated, a love issue
-I am here to do one thing, "Love God, know God, and love others."
-I have so much more left to learn....

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Art

Over the last month I have been creating three paintings that will be displayed in a gallery/competition May 20th-23rd. Here they are:

-The first one with the pollution mask symbolizes what Korea lets in and keeps out. They hold very tightly to their traditions, but do not let much of the outside world in.
-The second one with the words and the mouth is about the power of our words. Your words can change lives, move cities, nations, and the world, so don't waste your words!
-The last one is my favorite. The girl is facing the rain, and the rain is not normal water, it's buttons, because you never know what the rain is going to be. You never know what will cause a tragedy in your life, and the buttons are happy at the same time, because these tragedies/hardships shape us closer to the image of our Lord. They can be beautiful, so you can face the rain with joy.

Hope you guys enjoy them.






Monday, May 11, 2009

That I Might Know Him


Tonight, I read a sermon by Charles Spurgeon. It was 8 pages long, so I had to take a few breaks for my brain to comprehend the whole thing, but it was awesome. Spurgeon, if you have never heard of him was a really amazing man. He was not educated formally in seminary to be a pastor, but felt God's call in his life, and followed it. He became one the most influential preachers in England. He has a really hard life. He battled depression, many people were lying about him maliciously in the newspapers, and people would often give him death threats. I am so highly encouraged by his life, there are times in my past where I have given into despair and I never thought that I would read about such an influential servant of the Lord who struggled with that. It always seemed like there was something wrong with me, that people who loved Jesus really didn't have this problem, but they do. I do far better with this now then I did in the past, and I think Spurgeon had it more severely. Yet, you see how God used his life so greatly.

Secondly, he suffered. I am learning that if you love the Lord and live out the gospel, you will suffer. It may not have happened to you yet, but it will. This not an exciting thought for anyone, but here is the joy: we can share in His sufferings. It is not meaningless, it is not pointless, it lets us be closer to and know our Lord.

Which brings me to my third thing, his whole sermon was about knowing Him. We can know the deeds and actions of Jesus, but if we do not know Him; what is the point? You can know what someone does without really knowing them. Only when I experience Christ as my Deliverer, my Portion, my Hope, my Grace, can these things become more than words off of a page. I like the sermon because he talked about the different stages of a relationship. You can have a relationship with someone you hardly know, but there are certain things you do in order to know that person well. You want to know their thoughts, concerns, passions, dislikes, heart ache, and joy. Spurgeon was saying that His Word should point us towards wanting to know Him. In His Word we can find His heart. We always talk about our relationships with God, but how often do we forget what that is? How often do we forget that it is about knowing Him? Knowing Him with a balance of passion and intellect. I know I forget often, I hope this reminds you if you find yourself in that same position.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Living Contrary to my Nature


I somehow always fool myself into thinking that I have gotten away from my pride, or that it has decreased over the years. To my great displeasure I have found this morning that it has only morphed from one type of pride to another. Many people love being right, and they love justice. I am the foremost front-runner for both of these. You will have a hard time telling me I am wrong, and I love justice, especially towards myself. Don't treat me badly or look out, you will have another thing coming for you! The longer I am here, the more I am convinced that Korea is a place where people lie often in business. I feel bad saying that, but is my first hand experience. I had learned to live with the reality of that and was fine until last night. My sister will be visiting me in June, and my co-worker, Chloe's ex-bf is visiting her. He wants to work so he can make some money while he is here, so I felt like it was perfect timing. I would get a week off to hang out with Jess, and he would be making some money. Last night, Chloe and I approached our manager to ask her for permission. She basically said that it would be impossible, but it's not impossible. Chloe's ex-bf has a teaching degree, and will be working for Andrew for one week before he would replace me. He would know the ropes of Reading Town, and it wouldn't be hard for him. Our manager was still saying no, so then we brought up the fact that our contract says that we get 10 days paid vacation. We told her that she owes me time off. I told her that I did not appreciate the fact that I was lied to. I told her when the director took on the contract, she took on that part too. Then she said to me, well I think you better pack up your things and let him take your job if you want a week off. Chloe went bolistic on her, and then we informed her that he is just visiting, not staying. After 40 minutes of arguing with her, she said she would "think" about it, and tell me tomorrow. EVERYTHING in my nature wants to walk into her office today and tell her that I have no respect for her, that she is a two faced liar who only cares about money, and not about people. Yet, when I woke up this morning there was this tiny voice in my head that said, "You're wrong." I went for a walk, on the walk the Holy Spirit was reminding me that I am not to live driven by my passions and pride. I don't want to let her win, but I know there is something bigger at stake here. Jesus loved those who betrayed Him, lied to Him, disowned Him, who killed Him, and He loves me. I am not my own, I do not have any right walk into that office and give her a piece of my mind, because I am to love her despite everything she does to me. I do not have to agree with her, but I cannot walk around with this sense of entitlement. Honestly, who am I? What do I deserve? Today the Holy Spirit will need to banish all of me from myself so that I will be able to walk into that school and be honest, but loving. It is NOT natural, and it is NOT easy. All I feel now, is remorse, I do not feel that I have represented the name of God well. I don't know if I ever do it well, but this time was not my brightest moment. I am still debating whether I need to apologize to her or not. Pray for me, because I have a LOT of pride to overcome before I take that step.

"GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE." I Peter 5:5

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Big Picture


Here are some thoughts compiled from my Bible study and a sermon I heard the other day.

We are so good at looking inside ourselves. We are such an introspective culture, but that is not how it was meant to be. God revealed to me the other day that I have been so busy looking at myself, that I have not seen what is around me. I think looking at your life and being aware of your sin and relationship with the Lord are good things, but I am talking about an obsession. I get so easily caught up in what is happening in my life that I forget that it is not about my life. I am a tiny speck in the HUGE picture that the Lord is painting. It is like in Exodus when God uses Moses to save the Israelites. The most important point was not God's will for Moses, but His will for Israel. He let Moses be a part of it, He let Moses be at the forefront of bringing His chosen people out of Egypt! Now, I am here in South Korea, and it is not ultimately about God's will for my life, but His will for those around me. He is letting me be at the forefront of what is happening in the English teaching community here in Korea. Praise the Lord that it is not about me! What a relief. What a joy to be able to be involved in all this. I could have never picked a more exciting arena for my life. Dear brothers and sisters think this week about how you are a part of the BIG picture. How is God using you to bring His glory and kingdom to pass? Consider the joy that He uses bumbling fools like us, I think He could find better help, but I am so glad that He lets me in on this beautiful masterpiece.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

our talents


It is time for a few changes. I was listening to a few Tim Keller talks I had again, I haven't heard them in months, so I felt the Holy Spirit was prompting me to listen. He speaks to seminary students who are working to be pastors in these talks, but they can be applied to any believer's life. There was one line that slightly terrified me and stuck out at the same time. He said that you can be using your gifts, but not walking with the Lord. He said that this is how so many pastors fall into sin, they are using their gifts, so they think they are doing good, when in reality, they have not been in the Word or prayer. God has given me many opportunities to use my gifts here, and I tend to think that if I am using them, I must be on track with the Lord. I am taking time to carefully re-examine my life. I will still use my gifts, but I will not be using them to measure how things are going.

Hope you are all having a fantastic week and rejoicing continually in the Lord!

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Korean Wall


I have hit another Korea wall. It started this weekend. The spiral began through some painful circumstances and escalated when no one came to church with me, and then church was pretty blah. I think I built it up more than I should have. I thought, this is Easter, it will be an awesome sermon, that is not really what happened. Having no one come to church with me is discouraging because they keep on saying they will come and they do not. Not that church will completely change their hearts, but I am yearning for them to know. There is this battle waging for them, I see it clearly, because every time I make any progress with them, another new thing shows up to distract them. It is painful and grieves me deeply that they do not know the Lord and keep walking in darkness. I feel it so severely in my heart that it discourages me. I doubt what the Lord can do, because it feels like I am waging an endless battle and not getting anywhere. I pray that God helps me in my unbelief, and through my emotions. Then, as of last night, the thought of being here for another 5 months made me want to cry. I have not felt this way in quite some time, I believe that there is great spiritual warfare here, more than I experienced in Texas. I can feel the drain of it. I am reading the Word now, bringing to mind verses of truth that the Lord is my Strength, Fortress, Deliverer, and He has already won the battle. Pray that I would be encouraged by the Lord and His truth so that I may press on here. Pray that I would fight hard and not give up on my friends, even in the moments I feel I am losing them. I am choosing not to despair, but to look to the only hope I have here.

Love you all dearly. Thanks for your prayers as always.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Beauty for Ashes


"We're discovering that lots of times, not every time, maybe but more often than not, there is something just past the heartbreak, just past the curse, just past the despair and that thing is beautiful. You dont want it to be beautiful, at first. You want to stay in the pain and the blackness because it feels familiar, and because you're not done feeling victimized and smashed up. But one day you'll wake up surprised and humbled, staring at something you thought for sure was a curse and has revealed itself to be a blessing-a beautiful, delicate blessing."

"Nothing good comes easily. You have to lose things you thought you loved, give up things you thought you needed. You have to get over yourself, beyond your past, out from under the weight of your future. The good stuff never comes when things are easy. It comes when things are all heavily weighted down like moving trucks. It comes just when you think it never will, like a shimmering Las Vegas rising up out of the dry desert, sparkling and humming with energy, a blessing that rose up out of a bone-dry, dusty curse....We become who we are in these moments"
-Cold Tangerines

The quote above is just a reflection of how I feel about Korea now. I am sure that everyone could take it and apply to their life at one point or another. We all have our Korea times of life, don't we?

On another note, I invited the Wolbae crew to church for Easter. I just sent out the message, I do not know what the responses will be. I am praying that they will all come. The Wolbae crew is composed of: me, Chloe, Andrew, Ian, Rick, Yanin, and Bhavani. Keep praying for them, this could be a powerful time in their lives.