Tuesday, December 16, 2008

back to normalcy, or something like it

As of yesterday at 5pm EST, my finals are over and life can resume to some level of normalcy. I have to admit that I have been a little flabergasted today. What do I do without intense levels of stress pushing me forward.
Well, believe it or not, this week will still be busy. I have some appointments tomorrow, a few hours of work on Thursday and then 12 hours of work both Friday and Saturday.
Im exhausted- physically, mentally, emotionally. And honestly, spiritually. I think it's about time for a short sabbatical.
This semester has been one long growth spurt, especially for my heart. I think last year was a year of nourishment leading into the growing pains of a growth spurt these last few months. I have cried and felt so much peace, all at the same time. And now I am walking into these next few months, no idea where the Lord is taking me, and I am grateful for the peace.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

the road ahead

My facebook status reads that I am "sad, hopeful, and thankful for it all." And really, all three of those are exactly how I have been feeling as I approach the end of my time at Westminster. Yesterday was my last day of classes for the semester. I have a few weeks of madness ahead of me with finals and the the rest of the December will be spent doing... well, not much. Then, after a three day class on Islam in the beginning of January, it's up to NYC for me. I'll be moving into the Jews for Jesus building to spend some quality time with the two student interns there. I'll also spend some time working on my thesis which is on discipleship formation among the postmodern unchurched population in Manhattan. My nerd alarm goes off anytime I even begin to think about how excited I am to work on this project. And then May 28th, I graduate, and that is where this timeline stops. I have NO idea where the Lord will take me at that point. In fact, I have little idea of what my life will look like from January through May. All this uncertainty should be rocking my world, but so far I've been fairly calm. I've been here before, in the land of uncertainity. And I have seen the Lord lead time and time again into new territory, into new schools, new communitites, even new countries. And He has always provided. So I am learning to trust that His goodness never fails.
Yet I'm surprised. And I'm surprised that I'm surprised. I've been feeling this sadness fall over my heart this last week. The thought of leaving the community I have found at Westminster brings tears to my eyes. My friend Michelle accuses me of breaking hearts. I go places, make friends, and then leave. And I am tired of feeling like there is no permanence in my life. I'm tired of making friends and then realizing that I will leave them soon. I don't know what the Lord has in store for me, but this week I am allowing myself to feel that pain and coming before the Lord with it, and offering it. There isn't much else I can do. But my sadness is followed by hope, knowing that God is good and has given me this opportunity to place all my trust in Him. And at the end of the day, I am thankful for this time.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Snow is here, and I'm not okay with it

My house... all covered in snow.

Our street.. burrrr!
This whole snowing thing that has happened on us the past few days is disturbing. I feel like a little kid who has to deal with life changing and having no control over whats going on around me. I don't like it. It's really cold. I know some people really like the snow, but I just can't seem to get there. I miss warmth. I miss the sun. Goodness, I miss California.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Admiring Betsy

I've been feeling frustration in a lot of my relationships. Growing pains. Things in me feel different now. I had a really awkward conversation with someone today who I have been waiting to get to talk to them for months. And now I'm all awkward. My fears are creeping up into my heart and there is little I can do but recognize them and surrender them. I'm realizing how little I pray, and how weak my few prayers are. I'm seeing my pride lash out against my brothers and my heart breaking.

I think I'm learning to be single. There are these two women here at westminster who I admire deeply. Betsy and Barb. They are each involved in amazing and awesome ministries and I find myself watching them and the way they approach life. Both are single and fully and wholly devoted to God. Truly beautiful.
And yet it seems like so many older single women, especially in ministry, are rough and cold. They lack that feminine warmth that brings people close. It almost seems like there is a bitterness in them. If you are older and single and reading this, please do not be offended, I don't have anyone in particular in mind, just a general reflection on life.
My fear is that if I never marry, I will loose that warmth that comes with being a woman. But these two women have shown me over the last few months that you CAN be a single woman and still be filled with joy and warmth.
Betsy has really caught my attention. She's lived in Thailand for the last 17 years and her perspective on singleness is inspiring. She is a role model if I ever saw one. I see her gentleness and sweetness and I admire her. If I am going to remain single my whole life, I hope I take advantage of it. I hope I love life and find joy in my relationships, never falling into despairing bitterness. I hope my heart remains open to life and wonder. The more I time I spend in this part of my life, the more I am becoming comfortable (maybe too comfortable) with my singlehood.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween fun (I mean, Reformation Day fun!)

Last night was Halloween, you gotta love it. Lexie from school and Lizzy from church threw a party at their house. Basically a bunch of people from wts, New Life Glenside, and other random places having WAY too much fun!
I was Reformation Princess Superhero. :) Of course.
Chris, my peruvian friend and me... he was trying to steal my TULIP!

Miss Heather and me


the "greek" boys.. gotta love them!



Me and Mr. Bobby Rhodes



Michael stole my tulip!





The Blades and me




And finally- what do Peter Pan, a penguin, and the Reformed Princess Superhero have in common? THEY LOVE TO PAR-TAY!





Thursday, October 30, 2008

for all my peers

Question:
(and please DO leave your answer in the comments section. I have a site reader and know who is reading my blog, so DO respond)

Do you think your real life relationships are changed/altered/dimished/helped/hurt by your online relationships (your facebook/blogging/skype/gchat relationships). Many relationships will have both real life and online components, but my question is if and how the online component is affecting the real life component.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Moment of Grace

This blog post is dedicated to Laura, David, Sarah, and Casey.
Laura shared something the Lord has been teaching her recently, and it didn't hit me until a few hours later how deep this truth is. My feelings to not dictate my being. When I am feeling something bad, sadness or pain, that doesn't change the fact that the Lord is good. I don't mean to diminish pain or any other feeling, but to give it its proper place in my life. It is not what decides what is true about me. The Lord decides what is true about me and His promises to His people are true whether or not we feel them. We are forgiven. We are loved. We are in Christ Jesus the apple of His eye. When Laura shared this with me, I heard it and walked away. Little did I know the Lord would deal so greatly with me today.
David and I work together in Student Association here at Westminster. And he made a comment to me yesterday that stung my heart deep in its core. Not because his comment was wrong in any way, but it was dead on right. Nor did he say it in anger or malice, but with honesty and love. What he said probably wasn't even caught by anyone else in the room, but its effect on my spirit made it obvious to me that the Holy Spirit was working this one. The Lord has been hard core convicting me of my pride, my ridiculous pride. And after a few days of looking at the ugliness in the mirror, I am ready to cry out for mercy.
So I have come to The Loft (our student hangout) to get work done. I had a long day of school and work, and instead of lying in bed and watching tv, I've decided to use my one free weeknight to get work done. As I was driving over here I was hit by the sadness of the relationships, or lack thereof in my life right now. My closest friends live the furthest, and I am feeling alone. I know people out there who love me, but here in this place right now, I have nothing to hold onto besides the pile of books I have to read.
Those were the thoughts that were running through my mind when I signed onto gmail. I saw Sarah's gchat message: "If you ever doubt God's love and patience for you, just read the Bible" Matt Chandler. And I realized, it was exactly what I needed. That's when I saw Casey's chat message: Romans5, baby, Romans5. Ok, sounds good. And that's what I read. And God is faithful. The first few verse are about how we stand in grace and worship in hope of the glory of God. That is what is true about me. My lonliness is my feeling right now. Sadness maybe. But those are not what is my being, who I am. I am fully justified, standing before God, worshiping Him in the beauty of His glory. Because that is His promise to me, and His promises are true no matter what I feel. Amen.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Discipleship

I just checked out from the public library Deitrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship. It's one of those books that I have had on my to read list for years and yet never had the time to get to it. Even in the first chapter I find myself drawn to this man who suffered and died to live out the Gospel among his own people. He was a German pastor during the Third Reich and he stood against the Nazis. Even when his friends offered to get him out of the country, he stayed believing that his duties as a pastor and a leader in the country required him to suffer with his people. He died in a concentration camp just days before liberation.
I have been thinking about discipleship a lot recently. Partly because my internship with Jews for Jesus is directly related to discipling their interns. Partly because it has been of particualr interest to me over the past few years. And mostly because no matter how academic I get, it comes down to what the Lord is doing in my own heart. I cannot pretend to be above the Lord's correction in my life. Goodness no. Indeed this past week I have been confronted by the Holy Spirit about my overwhelming fear of man. He is so good and faithful to not let me go on my own. But instead His hand is always gently correcting me and calling me to repent and turn to Him.
So what is discipleship? First we need to know, what is a disciple of Christ? The most basic answer is one who follows Christ, who is being conformed into His image. This concept is so richly tied into all the beautiful biblical theology I have loved over the last year. Adam was created in the image of God. He was above all the other creation, was created to be God's representative here on earth, stewarding the rest of His creation. But as we know, Adam failed and humanity fell into a rebellious animal-like state, no longer truly reflecting the beautiful image of God to all of creation. But Christ is changing that. He was the new Adam, the perfect one who lived sinless and died for the sins of those chosen in Him before the foundation of the earth. And for what we were chosen? Just for heaven? Just to be "saved" from hell? NO! Well, yes, but that and SO MUCH MORE! We were chosen to be new creations in Christ, to do good works through the power of His Spirit alive in us, and to be that image that reflects his beauty here on earth. Adam was created in the image of God, and now through the power of the Holy Spirit, by the blood of Jesus we can live as his images.
How does this educate us on the issue of discipleship? Disciples are those who are being conformed into the image of Christ. Colossians tell us that Jesus is the image of the invisible God, and we read in Romans 8 that we have been chosen to be conformed unto His image. What does this look like? This has been the question I have spent the past few weeks reflecting on. The more I think about it, the more I think it has everything to do with relationships. Every fruit of the Spirit named in Galatians deals directly with our relationship with either God or another person. There is no fruit that is experienced outside of relationship. Even the two greatest commands that Jesus summed up the whole of the Law in are directly dealing with these two kinds of relationships. So a disciple of Christ is someone in relationships. And not just with God, but with the body of Christ and humanity as a whole. I think a disciple of Christ loves others with a heart brimming over with joy. A disciple of Christ considers others above himself, and yet rests confidently in the peace of God. There is a gentleness in disciples of Christ. There is hope that flows through every action of a disciple of Christ. In our western culture, with our intense love for knowledge, have we replaced these qualities with bible trivia skills? I would never discourage anyone from studying the bible, but how do we measure spiritual maturity? How do we judge someone's relationship (or our own for that matter) with God? Is it based on how many bible stories we can quote? Is it how often we go to church? Or is it seeing the depth of a person's desire to serve the lowliest? I think someone's spiritual maturity is harder to measure than just how many bible studies they have completed. A disciple of Christ will be seen by their love for their brothers. The Lord is working this out in my heart, and in the process I am seeing more and more His Spirit transforming my life, breaking me over and over again and reforming me into His image. Wow, He is amazing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

a new "do"








So, here some pics I promised some of ya'all. I dyed my hair on Sunday and got it cut on Monday. I'm used to the change (since I have dyed it since 7th grade) but wts people aren't and its been amusing to see the guys react to it. Some of them notice right away and some of them stare for a moment, cock their heads to the side with a confused look on their face, and then finally ask me if I changed my hair. Amusing.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

There isn't much to say these days. Life is moving along and work is keeping me busy. I am finding myself appreciating lots of little things. The leaves turning into deep reds, oranges, and yellows put me in a reflective mood. Not contemplative. I love the season. I forgot how much I loved it until last week when suddenly the air got cool, the sun began to set earlier, and sidewalks where littered with brightly colored leaves. I think others who have grown up in this season filled land have learned to look forward to different seasons. They live through the spring, knowing it leads through summer, and the summer to fall, fall to winter, and of course the cold of winter eventually gives way to the budding roses of spring. But I don't think that way. The coming of a new season is a shocker to me. I suddenly notice that everything around me is different. And everytime I walk out the door I see the changes and I wonder at them. I never ceased to be amazed at the beauty. What a beautiful God we must have if all this beauty around us is a reflection of Him.

An Autumn Poem

See how the colors change,

How brighter greens roll to dark reds

inciting a passion deeper than our hearts can hold.

See how breath is caught in the chest,

crying to come forth in sighs of sadness,

hoping for the warm winds of the past.

Crisp air hits the skin of lovers

who lie cheek to cheek

clinging to each other in the fading light.

- Anonymous

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One of my favorite things is when a dear friend of mine speaks into my life the very words I have spoken to her time and time again. It amazes me how easily I forget the awesome graces of our Lord. I had one of these moments a few nights ago. I was talking to a friend who I have walked with through many tears in the past year. This time I came to her and confessed my own doubts of the Lord's faithfulness to provide. All I saw in front of me was fate deciding my life and my own passive acceptance of this path. But she reminded me of the Lord's condesencion into this world of ours. His promise that He is with us today and tomorrow. And His mighty sovereign hand that holds all the earth together.
I've been contemplating the pain of love not returned. With many of my friends starting relationships I find myself content where I am, but contemplating where I am not. I am not in a relationship. I am not in a marriage. Even though I do not feel it right now, I am alone. Not in any cosmic sense, but then again lonliness is rarely actual cosmic solitude. Instead it is the feeling that no one is with you in a deeper sense. No one understands you. No one "gets" you. And I am there, but I don't feel that despair that often comes with such a situation.
But back to the point, I have been contemplating lost love. What does God know about the pain that comes from a love unreturned? I'm young and fairly unexperienced. I haven't lived long enough to know much, but one of the few things I have learned over the past few years is the pain of love unreturned. When you feel so much for someone and they can't return it with anything satisfactory. The pain and humiliation. The questions that follow. Why not? What am I missing? The gross desire to change into someone else, someone who might merit the love you can't seem to get.
But, as my friend reminded me, God does get this one. While He might not desire to change and He doesn't question His own perfection, He understands the pain and humiliation of a love rejected. His love for Israel ran deep and is often described as the love a husband has for his wife. Israel was not only the object of God's love, but He actually created her for Him. Yet Israel in the grossest way rejected God. He loved her. He loved her even in her painful rejection. He loved her so much that He came down to her and suffered and died for her.
Now my own pain and feelings of rejection are no where near what God has suffered through with Israel. But I can see through my own pain the shadow of the depth of God's pain. And it amazes me to know that this Lord over all the universe has been here, he's been here in pain and suffering. He is no stranger to the lowside of being human. And yet, He loves perfectly. There is no bitterness in Him, no jealousy. And He calls us to be faithful to Him, to be conformed to Him, to be bearers of His image. What a God we serve!

Monday, October 13, 2008

ramblings that could have been posts

A few blog posts I wish I had time to write (and maybe will find the time in the future):
Obama as a demi- god and my fear that we are setting him up for failure in the way we place all our hopes in him.
Reading Mother Theresa and pondering the anthropological theology she presents in her writings.
My heart is in a new place and I wonder how much of letting some old dreams die has to do with the moving on.
Learning a lot about discipleship and the Lord is walking with me in discovering what it truly means to be a disciple of Christ.
Loving my Missions Anthropology class and even though it requires an insane amount of work, it is everything I thought my program in Urban Missions would be.
Hablo Espanol todos los dias ahora que vivo con una familia Peruana... y me encanta.
I have been feeling so loved and so blessed this past week.
The Lord has shown me again and again this week how weak my faith is, how easily I am rocked by the waves of this life. And yet, He remains faithful!!

Monday, October 06, 2008

some Augustine for thought...

"You stir us up to take delight in your praise, for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless till it finds its rest in you"

Sunday, September 28, 2008

hope revealed in Joshua

One of my homework assignments for my Old Testament for Ministry class was to read through the whole book of Joshua in one sitting, taking note of the themes and challanges in the book. So yesterday I sat down with a few hours to spare and began what I imagined to be a somewhat mundane and yet surely somehow beneficial task. I wasn't even into the second chapter before I realized that this was going to be a completely different experience for me. The past year, I have soaked in some amazing lessons in Biblical Theology (oh, Goldsworthy would be proud!) and I saw my reading of Joshua deeply deeply afffected by my education.

Here are some of the things I noticed in the first 9 verses:

Right from the start, the land is life. Throughout the whole narrative of Israel's covenant with God, the Land is much more than a geographical location or a place to put her sheep out to pasture. The land was so closely tied to life. We'll see this later on in theology as the Promised Land is associated with the promise of everlasting life (check out the whole book of Hebrews).

God tells Joshua that He has given Him victory and Joshua can be strong and courageous knowing that the promises of God are being redeemed. To be strong and courageous becuase He is with him, and that means victory. But then, without even blinking, God commands Joshua to be strong and courageous being careful to obey the Law. He connects the obediance to the Law with His own very presence. And His presence with victory. And victory with the inheritance of the Land and Life. And so, Life, in a round about way, is tied to obedience. Now this may seem like something we would associate with the teachings in the Old Testament, afterall, isn't the Old Testament where God gives the law and the Israelites have to obey it or be punished? You know, the Old Testament God is the one of judgement, but Jesus comes in the New Testament and teaches love and mercy. Well, I don't think it's that simple. You see, one of my favorite prayers is the shema. It says, "Hear o Israel, the Lord our God, The Lord is One." He is One. He doesn't change between the Old and the New Testaments. And Joshua is a perfect picture of this.

The Lord brought Israel out of Egypt and told her that He would bring her into her inheritance, a promised land, flowing with milk and honey. But Israel was a far cry from the kind of people she was supposed to be. The obedience to God's law, His good and perfect Law, was replaced by grumbling, lack of faith, and pursuit of any idol that would tickle her heart. And yet, God's presence depended on her obedince to His law. Israel would never see the promised land without the Lord, and her heart refused to follow Him. Yet, God delievered on His promise. How? God knew that a leader greater than Joshua would come and would bring people into Life. Jesus (who actually shares the Hebrew name Yehoshua with Joshua) is perfectly obedient to the Law, even to the point of death of a cross. His perfection gives Him admitance into the presence of God. But it gets better. Jesus is God. Basically, all those promies of life and land are found in Him. And we have access to these now through Him. Through His blood we have union with Him and all the glory and victory of God's presence, the Land and life are ours. Awesome.

lonliness, or lack thereof

In a conversation with my dearest Chubs last night, she asked me if I was lonely. This is not an extraordinary question since our conversations since jr. high have often times been around the topic of boys and relationships. But it was the first time someone (especially someone who knows me so weel) straight out asked me if I was lonely. I couldn't answer immediately. I didn't want to assume that I was since that seems like the right answer for a lady of my age and situation. But I also didn't want to say no just because that is the seemingly more "spiritual" answer. I finally answered " I don;t think so". But it left me wondering. Am I lonely? I know I still desire to get married, I think. But if I'm not lonely, then why do I want to tie the knot? Chubs and I discussed it a little more and I think for the time being, the Lord has allowed me to desire marriage without really wanting it now. It's nice. I realize still that I may never get married and I may very well struggle with deep bouts of lonliness. But I will praise God now for the wonderful times I have right now. TImes filled with something that might almost look like contentment. What a thought.

Feliz Cumpleanos a mi Mama!


Happy birthday to my mom! We argued yesterday over what age she is turning today... I think we settled on 36 (she was really young when she had me!) In anycase, happy birthday. I wish you all the joy in the world today (oh, wait, I'm your daughter, so you already have all the joy in the world! ) I love you!

Friday, September 26, 2008

moving and craziness

I haven't had a chance to blog much recently. My life seems to have imploded. I moved today. I moved from my two bedroom apartment with Liz into a three floor house with Rita and her two kids, Nicole and Andrew. It will be a huge change, but honestly at this point, life is so hectic that I'm not sure I will even notice this change.

Work. Even though it is really busy, it's good. I realized that this job is in many ways my dream job. Sure, it's stressful and hectic, but I can handle it and I actually thrive under the pressure. I love the bilingual aspect of it. I love the fact that my boss trusts me to get the job done and she enables me to do so. I love the fact that I get to make things happen, that I have full control. Yeah, I have learned over the past few months that I am a total control freak. Really, I'm a hard core control freak. The Lord needs to deal with me.

School. Last year, I enjoyed my classes, but really found myself only interacting with maybe 60% of the material. This semester is incredible. I feel like the Lord has opened my eyes just a little more to His amazing Gospel and I am seeing its work in my life everyday as I sit in classes.

I'm sorry this blog is so dry. Someday I will get back to writing on more than just the dry details in life.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Journal

Here is a journal entry I had to do for my Human Personality class. It was supposed to be an entry on my ideas of who I am, of my anthropology, and how union with Christ might affect that.

I tend to be reflective. I tend to wonder how others are seeing me and I imagine what I might look like to the outside world. But when I am honest with myself, I think I have a better idea of how others view me than I do of who I really am. I cognitively know the theology of who I am. I am created in God’s image, fallen, chosen for faith and Life in Christ Jesus. But what does that really all mean? I don’t think that cognitive knowledge affects my true understanding of who I am. Yesterday was a bad day. It started out stressful and half way through I found myself on the verge of tears from a confrontation with a friend who hadn’t been treating me well and yesterday was the last straw. And today I wake up and feel like yesterday is miles away and yet its not and I still need to deal with the stressful situations and the confronted friend. So I woke up early to do my devotions. I know the Word of God holds life for me and yet it’s the last place I go. I read Spurgeon’s Morning devotion and was reminded of the conversation we have in Human Personality on our union with Christ. Back to who I am: I am in Christ. But once again, so what? How does that actually manifest itself in my life?
Let’s take a moment and look at Ephesians. The book opens up with blessings for those who are found in Christ. Being in Christ means receiving every spiritual blessing from above. It means being chosen to be holy and blameless before God. This is me. Whether or not I live up to the calling I have received, this is who I am. For I am in Christ. Paul goes on to tell the Ephesians that he prays for them, that they may have wisdom and deeper knowledge of Christ and the calling to which they have been called. You see, I am not the only one who is in Christ and yet doesn’t remember or live up to the calling that He has blessed us with. I am just like the Ephesians, for I am in Christ. And Paul continues in his encouragement with a reminder that the God who calls us, also empowers us. And His power is strong enough to raise Christ from the dead and seat Him at the right hand in the heavenly places. Amazing. I am in Christ.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Some thoughts from the last few days

  • Got to stretch my organizational skills with the honor of hosting the annual Fall Picnic at school. Basically I bossed people around to make picnic dinner happen for 350 people.
  • The "greek" boys (those first year seminary boys who took greek this summer) were SO helpful and blessed me immensly. I was so discouraged by the bad attitudes I encountered last year. But these boys are different. They did any job that was asked of them and were actually appreciative of my work for the school. Seminary boys who are helpful and appreciative, shocking.
  • After the picnic, I went to the afterparty and against my normal excessive social personality, I just sat and enjoyed watching others being social. I sat on the front porch with some of the guys and just listening silently. That's when I knew I was tired. :)
  • Saturday night I went to a friend's birthday party and danced like a total dork. There was no one to impress so dork dancing it was. It was a little blast from the past with a disco ball and jello shots. There's no other way to celebrate your 29th birthday, or so I've heard.
  • This was my first Sunday at church when I didn't have kid duty. I actually woke up kinda sad. I know I can't commit to those kids this semester since my schedule is too crazy, but man, those 3 year old stole my heart and gave me so much joy every Sunday morning.
  • My heart... anything to share? Nope. I am stuck somewhere between wanting to hope and being too busy to notice where I am. It does seem like the winds are changing. Maybe there is a storm coming, maybe not. I wish I could say that I am cleaving to the Lord right now, but I'm not. I'm fine, but I'm not allowing the Gospel to penetrate the deepest parts of my heart and I fear a storm will tear me apart without that anchor of Jesus Christ. Whoa, went a little too deep there for a "some thoughts" kind of blog. Sorry, I'll get back to mundane shallowness.
  • I will say this, last semester was way too intense and I have a feeling this semester will be a breeze after the craziness of the Spring. All that said, I'm really looking forward to some of these classes. Apologetics, Church History, Mission Anthropology, Human Personality, and Old Testament for Ministry. Coolness.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

It's gonna be an ADD day

Today is the first day of school. In fact, for all I know this might be my last first day of school. Even though I have spent the majority of the last month around campus, I haven't seen most of my schoolmates since May. And being a ridiculously social person, I can't believe I get to see so many people in one day! I tried to sit with a friend for a few minutes to catch up and couldn't help my wandering eyes searching the room for familiar faces. And of course I saw them and they saw me and the few minutes were spent talking to them and then talking to the next them and then the next them. It will be an ADD day.
It reminds me of my high school days when I would decide that I would be shy. There in the car, on the way to school, all on my own, I would decide that being outgoing was not for me, and from that moment on I would be shy. Like you can decide that kind of thing. I would arrive at school and no kidding, the shy Becka would last about 30 seconds. Well, at least the 25 seconds it took to walk from my car to my locker. Sad, eh? I wanted so badly to be shy. The good Lord made me outgoing and I guess if I have a problem with that, I need to take it up with Him. For today, I will enjoy the rush of getting to see friends and if that means I'm a little ADD today, so be it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Continuing the Anglican Theme

One of my favorite pastors to stalk (yes, stalking pastors is a pastime of mine) is Justin Moffat of Christ Church in NYC. He's from Sydney and moved to NYC to plant Christ Church with Redeemer. Awesome- a PCA planted Anglican church in Manhattan. I started stalking him when I was in Chile and had a chance to meet him last year. It turns out that I know quite a few people who go to Christ Church. Anyways, while I have taken a bit of a vacation from my stalker responsibilities, I still like to check Justin's blog every once in a while to see how the Aussie is doing in the Big Apple.

Follow this link to read a great blog on the Anglican Church.

http://moffattnyc.blogspot.com/2008/07/on-1662-book-of-extraordinary-prayer-1.html

Saturday, August 23, 2008

GAFCON video

For those of you who haven't heard, there was an Anglican Conference in Israel this summer ("GAFCON" -not sure what it stands for, but I'm sure one of the nerds who reads this blog- you know who you are- could answer that in the comment section) Anyways, Bishops from all over the world gathered to discuss the Anglican Communion and the movement of the church. Really exciting stuff. This video was passed along to me by Ben Moore who was there in Israel and helped with the conference. Check it out if you have a chance (I do need to add the disclaimer that this video will probably only appeal to those who have at least an ounce of nerdiness in them).


http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1620641154?bclid=1622640497&bctid=1741212819

easy in love

I find myself seated at Starbucks again, listening to some Jason Mraz. I associate him with Cal Poly. I'm not sure why really. I think he came to CP before he was really famous. Or maybe it's that his music is so laid back like San Luis Obispo. Who knows.
One of his songs, I'm yours, is the ultimate Cal Poly song. It makes love sound so easy, so care free and light. I know that it isn't. Or at least my experience has taught me that it isn't. It is painful, hard, and requires more of us than Hollywood lets on. But I remember all the couples in college who seemed to just float into relationships. They met, fell in love, married and moved into little one bedroom apartments. It all looked so easy from the outside. Was it really? Mraz's song reminds me of that ease, just floating into the relationship, being utterly in love and leaving us single girls somewhere between despair and hope.
Now, half a decade later, I look back and realize how much of perception has changed. I now view relationships as challenges. They may be worth it, but they are challenges none the less. I can't imagine being in a relationship, but still find myself wanting nothing less than to be a wife to a godly man. Maybe some day... maybe not. Odd to be old enough to look back on these thoughts and see the progression through emotions. Is this what aging is all about?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back from Iowa

I've been back for a few days now but thought I could give a quick update on how Iowa went. I had a great time working with the team and found myself counting the blessings God poured out on us each day. Some examples of these unexpected blessings are:
- a woman from another team let me take her boots to use for the week. I had been given men's boots size 13 and soon realized that it would be nearly impossible to get the work done in them. A woman whose team was leaving as my team was arriving gave me her boots which fit perfectly. Praise God!
- I got to spend some quality time with Tom Tomer, one of the leaders in my church, as we did laundry and other errands for the rest of the team. It was so cool to get to hear about his family and see how God was using such a godly man. Praise God!
- I didn't get hurt at all on the job and in fact had more energy than I had expected to have throughout the day. Praise God!
- I didn't bring a blow up mattress but realized that we were sleeping on concrete and my sleeping bag wouldn't be enough. The church we were staying at had some extra mattesses and I was able to have one for the whole week. Praise God!
- I didn't get a single asthma attack the whole week (never once pulled out my inhaler!) even though I was working in a small enclosed space that had mold growing all over it. Praise God!
- The weather was amazing. Just awesome. It wasn't as hot as the week before, and rarely rained while we worked. Praise God!
- When I felt sad and disheartened from lack of physical affection (surprisingly didn't get a ton of physically affection from the 14 year old boys nor the 49 year old men!) , some of the women from another church took me in their arms and hugged me. Arms of God, I swear. Praise God!

So those are just some examples of how God poured forth blessings this past week. He is good, isn't He?
And during the week I was struck by how much I really liked doing what we were doing. I mean, constructions (or really, deconstruction) isn't my thing normally, but I really wanted to stay a second week. I like the organizational part of the show too. I know I have more lives that I want to live than can possibly be lived by one person, but I was thinking about how much I would like to work for a relief organization. That would be cool. We'll see. For now, I am trying to patient and wait at least until I'm closer to graduation before I run off.

a poem

clinging to it with all the despair of a
widow who sees her dead husbands reflection in the mirror,
wanting more than anything to bring
it close to my chest where I can guard it with all diligence,
and knowing that the very hope I cling to
is actually a knife ready to sink into my heart,
killing the life that beats within me.
there is no hope in this dream, it is nothing more than a hallucination of happier days
-Anonymous

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Love,
I see you there
Adrift on the air
floating by the open widow
oh, the sentiment of love
reflections that speak of
what can enter
when out hearts are open
Here witnesses appear and recognize
how sacred love can be when stated
shared shown for all to see
the beauty that can be
when love is cultivated

Out love is a sacred thing
like the mysteries of the night
in the darkness unwavering
and still so strong come the light
Our love in an infinite thing
Like the suns last ray on the sea
as it sets low in the west
and the moon rises


-Sarah Harmer
Open Window (The Wedding Song)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

jm, i'm waiting for my grade. :)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

yo quisiera, dreaming of what isn't

One of my favorite songs from my life in Chile. It's about a guy who is best friends with a girl and who wants nothing more than to be her everything, but she seems blind to his desire for more. Anyways, I have been listening to some of my old school favorites (Reik, Orishas, RBD) and missing that country I called mi pais for so long. Will I end up back there? Who knows. I miss the warmth of the people, the men who unashamedly make professions of love to the women they desire, the kids who think its normal to spend time with their abuelos.




The curse of being young, time moves so slowly and we are captive to the years that hold us still. This week I have nothing and everything to do and all I can think of is how much I miss my busy life. I love having a million and one things to do. I hate sitting at home. My first few months in Chile were filled with nothingness. How did I survive?

I feel so useless here. I know there is a purpose in this time alone. And I am not talking about being single (although it does easy apply). I am alone here in the sense that those friends who truly know me, who "get" me, who push me forward in life, aren't around.

I miss my coffee dates with Chubs, curled up on couches drinking lattes. I miss coming home to Ashlee and cooking dinner together while dancing to Ciara. And how could I not miss Rachel and Carlos and Tahoe Joe's happy hour? Danielle and I stuffing our faces with the free bread and jam at the hostels so we wouldnt have to buy lunch. My best friends, they seem like pieces of my heart that are missing here at Westminster.







Saturday, August 02, 2008

back to the good ol' times and moving onto Iowa

So last week was rough to say the least, but I can feel my life moving forward. It's almost as if summer is dragging my heart through the horrible humidity and toward the fall where the cool breeze will calm me down. Something like that.

Anyways, life is moving on. I'm not doing much and yet my days are over too quickly and I find myself scrambling for time to do the things I have to do. I know that things will be easier once school starts and I have a full schedule each day. There is something satisfying about falling into bed after a full day of activities. I know life isn't about getting things accomplished, but it feels good to look back and know that the day was used well.

All of that said, August will be much busier than July. For starters, I will be going to Iowa for a week. My church is sending a group of 10 of us to Iowa to help with the relief work going on there. We will be going from the 9th to the 15th and we'll be tearing down the moldy walls in the homes that have been submerged in water for the last month. Please pray for us as we prepare to go out there. Please pray for my health (especially my asthma)- that the Lord would keep me healthy and safe before and during the trip. It will be a blessing to serve.

Like I said, the summer is moving on, and so am I.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sorry for the angst

So the last few days have been filled with a lot of feelings. Up and down and everywhere. My poor friends have had to listen to my complaints on different situations and wipe the tears from my eyes. My last posting is just an example of the extreme emotions I have felt the last few days.
There is a lot going on in my heart and I am learning that I cannot deny the pain that I am feeling, nor should I ignore it. This is a time when I can learn to truly cleave to the Lord. I have found myself praying this simple prayer throughout the day: Lord, deal with my heart. Any pain and frustration. Any hopes crushed. All of these push me into the arms of the Lord.
Maybe I am not doing enough now, maybe Im not distracted enough. Maybe I have too much time on my hands and that is making me think about things too much. But really, is thinking about things too much possible? Do I always need to be distracted? Anyways, either way, my prayer for today and tomorrow is: Lord, deal with my heart.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

wasted

you make me mad
how dare you not care
how dare you just walk
after so long

all the time I wasted on you
all the love I wasted on you
all the hope

Oh the hope that someday
something might be returned
but there's obviously nothing
you have nothing to give me but sadness

for so long you were the source of joy
but it was all based on a false dream
that will never see the morning

how dare you cast my heart
so easily to the side
and you have no clue

in the end, I am the fool
how dare you not know
I am the fool
to think that it would be different

now no words are given
nothing shared
and the truth comes forward
and I am the fool
I am the fool

Saturday, July 19, 2008

pitter patter of the heart

I wrote out my "non-negotiables" over 5 years ago. And for the past 5 years, I have seen those non negs as the guidelines for what kind of man I would hope to marry and what kind of wife I would hope to be. The past month, I have been learning something new about my heart. Not different, but new. Instead of setting boundaries for my heart, the past month has been a time to examine the natural tendencies of my heart. I have spent some considerable time talking to some close girlfriends about some recent matters of the heart and I have come to realize that my approach romantic love is quite unconventional to my generation. I seem to fit more into the mold of Elizabeth Bennet (from Pride and Prejudice) than any modern heroine. I am not looking for that butterfly in the stomach, can't sleep at night, sweaty hands relationship. I am looking for deep admiration and respect. Sure, I would love to feel that chemistry with someone, but when I am honest with myself, that chemistry means much less to me than truly admiring and trusting a man.
There have been few guys I have deeply admired this way. But those few guys have affected my heart in a way that I cannot describe. It's odd. I feel a deep deep love for them. All I want to do is love them and pray for them. And even though we may never actually move to the dating stage of our relationship, my love for them does not die easily. Back in the day when I was into the whole eharmony thing, I remember being asked if I valued chemistry. I wasn't sure how to respond. Now I know, my heart may be quick to move on the surface level, but the love that will someday lead me to the altar comes not from a few movie dates, but from a deep respect that is built upon months of noticing godly character.
All of this is to say that I am learning how my heart works. I value admiration over chemistry. A godly man, trustworthy and gentle, strong and humble. These qualities make my heart pitter patter.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

some movement of the Holy Spirit

In the last 24 hours I have been twice given the opportunity to serve others, to put others before myself. My church called and said that they needed someone to teach the 3 year old class. And to be honest, I hesitated. Not for any good reason, but just because I wanted my summer sundays to myself. And I could have said no. I could have asked for a more glorious job at the church. But I knew God was softly whispering His rebuke, calling me to serve before being served, to give before receiving glory. So I agreed to help in the way that my church needed. And I knew as soon as I said yes, that I had done the right thing. Serving would be the biggest blessing.
And then today my roommate asked me to help some of her friends pack to move to Texas. I really didn't want to. I didn't have any plans but wanted to spend the evening selfishly sitting on my couch. But I tried to find any valid reason to not help these people, and nothing came but the Lord's reminder that serving is a blessing. So I went tonight and spent a few hours helping a couple who are moving to Texas to pastor a church. And you know what? It WAS a blessing. Truly there is blessing in serving. As someone who all too often jumps straight into the spotlight, I need the reminder that our Savior was a servant. He loved so much that He gave up His own life to save us.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

4th of July Parade


Jason and I before the parade. We rocked it!


Our church passed out water bottles to the people watching the parade



Even the puppy helped the cause


I love my church!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

more pics from the travels


beautiful portugal





hot mommas!




pictures of the travels



Dani and I with our monster backpacks



Our super cool lunch of cheese on bread!


Remind anyone of Valpo???

It rained in Venice


YUM!

writing from home, at last

Some photos from Venice:












Hello friends!


Just wanted to let you know that I have arrived safely at home after my travels abroad. I had a wonderful time. Portugal, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Northern Ireland, England. It was a wonderful trip. I got sick at the end, but still managed to have a great time. I will try to post some pictures so you guys can see the amazing places we got to go.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Time for some more "heart"

Time to get personal again. Here is my heart, on a platter, with small garnishes around it...
This is something I wrote in my journal yesterday as I sat watching small boats float down the canal...
( I am not a poet, so please don't judge this as poetry, but it is something I wanted to share on this blog which has been a chronicler of my heart's whims)

For love is not meant to be lived by one, but two
Who together find each other as one
These two wholes become halves
and leave the other wanting
But alas, one cannot live love alone.
There is no half, nor whole, but none

This truth, though seemingly dark,
has shed some light on my situation
I am not half for there is no other
to make me miss that other part
I have not lived love, not yet anyways.
So I am left with this dark truth that brings forth light.
I have not lived love,
but I have looked upon it.


I have looked upon love
It beckoned me to enter
But the key to its joy requires two hearts
And my heart stood alone
What sorrow has God served me
Love
beckoning, challenging, begging,
Love would not leave me
but stuck its claws in my tender soul
I looked upon love
and implored him to let me go
Let me return to my peace
But my pleas were returned with silence
No hope given
How long will love hold me in his strong grasp?
Please oh Please, my rosy captor
Let me go
The joyful days of old are calling me back
I must leave you for you can offer nothing
but death for the single heart
Someday I may return with another
I may find that other heart
The two of us will create a key
To enter your bliss
Until then, I bid you adieu, farewell, adieu

By the way, EUROPE

By the way, my trip is going great so far. Danielle and I met up in London and travelled through Portugal, Spain, and Italy. Now I am with my mom and family in Amsterdam. Saturday I will meet up with Danielle again in Belfast where we will visit Sam, and then we'll spend a week in England. Jolly good times!

more and more sadness

I have heard that some more sadness is going on with my beloved school. I read some emails with some distressing news yesterday and found myself wiping away the tears that had silently fallen. There is nothing I can say here (some students evidently are getting in trouble for what they write on their blogs and I don't want to risk anything). but I will say this: the division this is causing is too much for my heart to bear. It pains me beyond words to see Christian brothers in such a situation. I love Westminster, the history of it, the people there, the culture of learning and believing that I have experienced there. but this situation is tearing all of those beloved qualities apart. No longer is Westminster a place of joy and learning for me, but of sadness. Please pray for my school, for the students, for the faculty, for the administration, and for the board. May we be charitable to each other and true to the Gospel that has saved us.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

1. One book that changed your life: Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom (ok, it looks like I copied Sam on this one, but this was actually the first book on Biblical Theology I read and it totally changed my life)

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: The Bible (or Charles Spurgeons notes on the Psalms- both volumes!)

4. One book that made you laugh: John Brennan, How to survive the Chilean Jungle

5. One book that made you cry: H. Norman Wright, Always Daddy's Girl

6. One book that you wish had been written:I'll read Sam's book: Looking back and moving forward: towards a recovery of reformed catholicity (Sam, let me know when you buckle down and write it yourself)

7. One book that you wish had never been written: Joel Osteen, Become the better you

8. One book you’re currently reading: Michael Goheen, "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you": Lesslie Newbiggin's Missionary Ecclesiology -So freakin interesting!

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity

10. Now tag five people: Um, the only people I know nerdy enough to answer these questions are Sam and James. So anyone who reads this blog (Danielle, Ashlee's mom (??), Justin, Karen, you know who you guys are...) feel free to make use the comment section to make your own list.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Urban Mission Department- Adios Manny and Sue!


On our last day of class we honored Manny and Sue who have faithfully served the Westminster community for years. They are officially leaving us now to continue their work in Urban Church Planting.

Michelle and Elle, las chicas!





Manny and Sue, my professors







We presented them with some plants. Jenn is posing with Sue and Alvin is... well, let's just say that Alvin is being Alvin. :)




Michelle, Karen, and Me

My profs!!!




Camp Out!

Charlie kissing Tosha (shhh! Don't tell her husband!)


Hannah and Mellis and Me


Some good ol' school guitar playing


Check out the cool fire!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

(Note: I am totally procrastinating right now. I have SO much work to get done this weekend but that's okay. My priorities are a little out of wack. Whatever!)

I haven't written for a while. Between schoolwork, real work, and just life in general, I haven't had much time for writing down any reflections. But today I am taking a minute to share a thought that is bringing me confort today.
Last weekend I met my dad down in Washington DC. My grandparents live there and my grandpa is not doing too well. The doctors say he probably doesn't have much time left. I have had a special relationship with my grandparents for a while now. I am the first girl to be born in the Lipkowitz family for three generations. When I was little I didnt really get my grandparents. THey lived on the other coast and when we went to visit them it was fun but not necessarily intimate. When I was 16 something changed. I went to visit my grandparents by myself. I found out that my grandma is pretty cool. My grandpa, silent and strong, also found a special place in my heart. Since then, I have gone to visit them by myself quite a few times and over the years have grown pretty close to them.
So this weekend, standing next to my grandpa's bed where he is growing closer and closer to death by the day, I couldn't stop the tears streaming down my cheeks. I rested my hand on his head and prayed that he would feel my touch and know it was me telling him that I loved him. I might not see him ever again. As my dad and I drove away, I couldn't face my dad for fear that my eyes would begin to pour out and I wouldn't be able to stop the river of tears that I was fighting.
I thought, what hope do I have? Is there any comfort for this pain? Death is very painful, for those who die and for those who are left behind. My mind rested on 2 Cor 1:3-4.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted.
I have found solace in these verses countless times in the past. I have been thinking about it recently though. What does it mean that God is a God of comfort? I have been playing around with these thoughts and today as I was reading the passage it hit me: God can comfort us because he experienced the pain we experience. He is not a distant God. The effects of sin (of which death is one of the saddest) are not foreign to Him. He came down here and subjected Himself to the pain and suffering of mankind. His comfort is one of familiarity and yet victory.
Too often I focus on His victory- the fact that He overcame sin and death and offers us new life. But I forget that He actually went through this world, He felt personally the pain that this world forces upon us. He is no stranger. Indeed, He knows our sorrows.
This incredible truth brings more tears to my eyes as I realize that I can rest in Him, even in my pain, I can feel pain as I rest in His promises. Pain is just one more reminder of His glory. We are so far from it. There is comfort in Him.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Springtime



Spring is here.


Just as winter was a whole new experience for me, springtime is filling me with wonder.
This week, out of nowhere, there are flowers on the trees, daffodils in front of the houses, and robins flying around. I have taking walks and listening to The Village Church sermons on my ipod. After my walk today I laid out in the yard and just enjoyed the gorgeous day.
I miss California. I miss the sun. The light cool wind that blows through the trees offering refreshment from the heat.
But I will admit, I am liking this whole "springtime" thing. Thank God for spring.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

WTS and football

video

Here we are playing football. Well, not playing football, more like tossing the ball around. Don't we look like the normal seminary students?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Last of the Mohicans


I love this movie.

There are some movies that so pull on your heart and this is one of them. I find myself lost in the story. Man, I am such a girl sometimes. In the movie, there is this one scene where the main character played by Daniel Day-Lewis is going to leave the woman he loves so he might save her in the end. The looks they exchange before he leaves are priceless. So much passion and trust, fear and love. Sigh.

"To know your name"

This is a song we sang in church this morning. May the words bless you as they did me this morning.

The precious blood of Jesus Christ redeems
Forgiven I’m alive, restored set free
Your Majesty resides inside of me
Forever I believe
Forever I believe

Arrested by Your truth and righteousness
Your grace has overwhelmed my brokenness
Convicted by Your Spirit
Led by Your Word
Your love will never fail
Your love will never fail

I know You gaveThe world
Your Only Son for us
To know Your name
To live within the Saviour’s love
He took my place
Knowing He’d be crucified
And You loved
You loved
A people undeserving

‘Cause I know You gave
The world Your Only Son for us
To know Your name
To live within the Saviour’s love
And He took my place
Knowing He’d be crucified
And You lovedYou loved
A people undeserving

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Cast your eyes upon He who reigns

I know I have alluded to the painful situation that we are going through here at wts, and really I should at some point I should actually share with you all what is going on. But before I write that blog, I have to write this blog. It is a confession. In the pain, in the sadness, in the confusion that has overcome our beloved school, I have taken my eyes off of Christ and found them fixed on the depravity of man. I realized this last night in class when the professor was reading a passage from the Bible that was supposed to comfort us and instead of listening, I chose to check my email to see if there was an update on the situation. Bad Becka, bad. I have been praying about the situation the whole way through, but my prayers feel more like desperate cries than confident appeals to a God who IS in control. Lord, forgive me for my unfaithfulness. Forgive my doubt and help me live today in light of Your reign and glory.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Coffeehouse at westminster

In the midst of the painful situation we are facing at Westminster, some of us came together tonight to hang out and enjoy some of our schoolmates perform.