Tuesday, March 30, 2010

a prayer for 2010

I can't believe we have already made it to March 30th. It seems like just yesterday that we were in 2009. This year has flown by. The other day I took some time to read through my journal. I started at New Years and worked through to this week. I'm usually a very diligent journaler. I started journaling when I was about 12 and it has been a consistent part of my life since. But 2010 has been moving too quickly to keep up. The days drag on as I'm at work, but the weeks fly by. I hope all of 2010 will be this way.
I'm happy enough with my life situation now, I don't love my job, but it's not miserable. I don't love this culture, but it's livable. And I do love what I have seen the Lord doing in my life. I have seen Him restoring what I lost (hope, joy, love) and I realize how desperate I am for His grace in my life. I have felt His redemption in a real way over the last year. I have been overwhelmed recently by how broken we all are. I am good at pretending like I have my life together, but the truth is that I sin in horrible ways and my sins hurt those in my life. I recently saw how my selfishness hurt a dear friend of mine. I can apologize all I want, but if my heart isn't changed by God's mercy, I will never be able to truly love them.
And here is where I pray that the Lord would use this year as it flies by, that it would be a year fully and wholly glorifying to Him. That He would use this broken sinner, who tends to hurt her friends with her impatience and self-centeredness. And that He would grant me a deeper knowledge of Him.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Annyeong!

Sunyoung and I went to Suwon for the day on Saturday. It's a town about an hour south of Seoul where there is a fortress. I'll post more on the trip, but here is a little "taste" of the trip. :) We ate Galbi (BBQ) for lunch.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pesach

Passover is here!

I've begun preparing for the seder I'll be hosting. I love this holiday, probably more than any other Jewish holiday. In fact, I think it might be my favorite holiday ever. There is something deep in my soul that stirs when we sit around the table retelling the story that has been passed down generation after generation, when we sings songs, asking the God of the universe to bring us into Peace, and when we reflect upon the past redemption and future redemption. The songs are my favorite part. Such simplicity and depth.

This year as I prepare for passover, I'm praying for a deeper understanding of God's redemption. This is the time of year last year when the ex and I started dating. How do I know? Well, I spent all last year's passover seder completely distracted (and slightly insane) thinking about him and the possibility of us being together. Sounds silly now a year later when I know how that story ended.

But I've seen the mighty redemptive hand of the Lord over the last year. I've seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I have gone to what can only be considered the depths of the wild sea, and the Lord has held me with His steadfast hand. The past few weeks have been a little bit of a rollercoaster with some stuff going on in my life. I hit my 6 month mark being in Korea. I hit my 9 month mark of the break up. And I hit the 3 year mark of leaving Chile (which left as big of a whole in my heart as any man).

But the past has taught me a few things.

I've learned that- Life has enough rollercoasters in it, I don't need to create more for myself.

I've learned that- Time passes really quickly even when youre not having fun. It's just life.

I've learned that- I can trust God to give me wisdom, but I have to be the one exercize it. I cannot blame Him when my own selfish desires keep me in sin.

I've learned that- while my desire to be a wife and mother never seem to fade, my joy in being single increases each year.

I've learned that- I am a broken sinner. And my sin hurts those around me.

So as I get ready for Passover, as I pretend to remove all the leaven here in my apartment (it's not gonna happen!), as I practice the blessings for the seder so I dont look like a fool, I want to reflect on the Passover Lamb who died for the sins of the world. The One I call my Lord.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

ENTP

My second year in college (wow, that was a whole 8 years ago!) one of my assignments was to take the Myers Briggs Personality test and to find out what kind of personality I have. It's a test that looks at how you interact with the world around you, how you intake information, and how you make decisions. It's really fun to take and when understood appropriately, it can be helpful in understanding relationships.

There are four spectrum.
Extrovert-Introvert
iNtuitive-Sensing
Feeling-Thinking
Judging-Perceiving

So when I originally took the test in college, it said I was an ENFJ (Extroverted,iNtuitive,Feeling, Judging).
Its the kind of person who deeply loves people, who lives out of relationships, always thinking about people's needs, etc.
But that's not me. :)

I took the test again a few years ago (thanks to Carolyne Rohrig) and discovered I am an ENTP. and boy oh boy, am I an ENTP! This means Extrovert iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving.

Reading the ENTP profile was like reading my biography. They get easily excited about a thing, they dream big, envision major change, gather people around the cause, buidling up momentum, and then often lose interest.
(for more info about ENTP read: http://www.personalitypage.com/ENTP.html)

Here is where I have to pause though. In reading this profile, which also included romantic relationship and parenting advice, I was struck by the fact that this description was dead on about me. In the relationship description, the profile said that ENTPs are very concerned about the health of their relationships and will be very vocal and intentional in making the relationship as healthy as possible. Me, vocal? Really? (I hope youre all smiling!)

But each personality type has certain strengths. It takes all types to make this world go around. But each type is also more prone to certain sins. I know with my type, there are various ways we tend to hurt people, to not follow through, to not be sensitive to people's needs. We can get impatient with people to change. I know that is one of my pitfalls in ministry. I am such a "thinker" as opposed to a "feeler" that I see what the solution is in someone's life and I tell them what to do, and then expect them to just do it. When they don't. Or when they struggle to implement my all wise counsel, I get frustrated and annoyed. Yeah, way to go Becka. Way to be patience and long suffering for others. Way to extend grace. One of my friends (shout out to Rachel) had to tell me to my face that I had no grace. I was graceless for people, especially my friends. Yikes, that is NOT the character of Christ!

So what do I do with my personality type? I rejoice in the good, for God created me specially to do His work here. But He also is showing me where my sin pockets lie. Those areas in my life that often go unchecked because I like them, or because they arent as noticable (as the major sins often are). THings like pride, selfishness, and inconsistency. As I see those in my life, I am praying that God would teach me to be more like Him. Jesus walked this earth with perfect humility, selflessness, and consistency. He was always patient, always speaking truth, and always gracious. It is this God that I follow. The God who walked the steps before me. No personality type can claim exemption. We all fail to live as God created us. For my personality type we tend to fail in certain areas. So in those places, and in all the places of my life, I look to Jesus, who walked this life perfectly.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

pais de mi corazon

Recently Ive been missing Chile. I think I've missed it since the day I left, but sometimes I miss it more than others. These past few weeks have been filled with longing for Chile. I miss so many things about the country, and I know that if I return it wont be the same (mainly because I wont have my girls with me!), but I still long to return. Its been three years since I left and I still feel very connected to the country. I've found myself talking more in Spanish these days. I have even begun to read my Spanish bible and try to memorize verses in Spanish. I dont know if I will ever be able to live again in a Spanish speaking country, but I hope so. I still dream of returning to Chile. People have asked me about visiting. No. I dont want to visit. I know that if I go back, Im moving for good. If I try to go for just a visit I will end up breaking my heart when it is time to leave. So I just wait and trust that God's goodness reaches far and wide. I'm starting to think about what will come after my contract with SEA, and while returning to Chile is a bit far fetched (I am still in debt from my loans for seminary) I know that God is good and He has never failed to lead me in my steps.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I got these pictures from Edith Valdes Bernal's facebook page (I don't actually know her, she is a friend of a friend). One of my newfound friends is from a town in Chile called Constitucion which was hit pretty hard. Here are some photos from around town. While Santiago is not under such destruction, they are still rolling through the earthquakes (each week there are a few aftershakes and even some more new earthquakes!) Please keep this beautiful country in your prayers.



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Sunday, March 14, 2010

food photos

One of my favorite things about Sundays is lunch after church. A group of us go out each Sunday after church. It'snever organized and its always a blessing. Its such a sweet time of fellowship and it just might be my favorite part of the week. Anyways, here are some photos from our lunch today. We went out for a special kind of soup that is basically "military soup" since it was originally made with the rations that they gave soliders.




Know thyself... thoughts on marriage

For my faithful readers who have been wondering if I would ever write about heart issues again, here you go. I've been working through some things and I was waiting for a good time to write on the things going on. I've learned in the past that blogging about personal matters is always complicated and when it involves other people, it is nearly impossible. So today, on White Day, I'd like to share with you some reflections about my romantic life (or lack thereof).

In a recent conversation with a friend about relationships, I confessed that as I have gotten older, I have gotten pickier. I'm not sure pickier is the right word, but as I've gotten older, I've gotten to know myself better. I'll try not to get too new ageish with this, but honestly I have learned about the things that matter to me, and things that don't. Boys who I would have died to be with in college, I now have the hindsight, and foresight, to see that we would not be good together. Many of my friends married really young, and for them a lot of their growth as a person has been affected, or even directed by their marriage. But I have been alone for most of my 26 years. I have had to take care of myself, to make decisions based upon myself, and have sought the Lord's will alone. This means I have moved into adulthood alone and I am beginning to realize that I have to be pickier than I was when I was 20.
For example, as I've gotten older, I've realized how important adoption is to me. There was a conversation in my last relationship when I blurted out (to my own surprise) that I really wanted to adopt. I had always thought it was cool, but the moment I was in a situation where I was making decisions about my life, I knew that I wanted to adopt. Don't get me wrong, I want a kid or two of my own, I want to be pregnant and to experience all that comes with that. But there is something inside me that knows that I was made to adopt children. It's making me teary just thinking about it. There is such a beautiful picture of the Gospel in adoption. One person shared a quote with me from an adopting mom about her birth children being born of her body, but her adopted children being born of her heart. I hear that and think about the children out there who are in such need of moms and dads. In the last week the topic has come quite a few times. So today when I was talking to a friend about relationships, I realized that adoption is almost a non negotiable to me. Maybe it wont ever happen, maybe I will never get to be a mom (either biologically or through adoption) but the way I understand the world, the Gospel, and who I am as a woman compels me toward adoption. I want to be with a man who isn't just okay with us adopting, but who is committed to loving EVERY child in our family as his own.
I've been thinking about marriage recently. As I've gotten older, I have begun to understand who I am before the Lord. Im understanding my gifts, my weaknesses, and my calling to worship God. I am more comfortable as a single than I ever have been. I know who I am, and while I still desire greatly to marry, I cannot just marry anyone. If I ever marry, my poor husband will have to be full of grace and patience for me. But I also have come to see how I will be an excellent wife to the right man.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

a thousand and one reasons

I am smiling for a thousand and one reasons.
Tonight I came home to an unexpected email. Someone found this blog because they were googling one of my favorite theologians (brownie points to whoever can guess who Im talking about). This week has been really good. As I wrote about earlier, I got to hang with an amazing woman named Hannah, I had lunch today with another awesome woman named Becky, and I got to see a TON of joyful things going on in the lives of people around me. I am getting to see the Lord work great merciful things in the lives of my loved ones. I have had some incredible conversations this week. And I have learned a lot about myself, my limitations, and how God's grace covers me even when I desire things outside of Him.
I've been working through some things these past few weeks, but today as I walked around downtown Seoul doing some shopping, I popped in my ipod to listen to some worship music. I was overwhelmed with peace. I have no clue what my future holds, and in some ways I'm not sure I even really understand where I am now, but I have learned to have peace and joy in all these moments. I need not worry about my future. As Becky pointed out today, Jesus knows me better than I even know myself. I think I know all these things that would make me happy, but I have to trust that God knows my heart better than that. If He is withholding, it is good. I will trust Him.


For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah
(Psalm 62:5-8)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

murderous thoughts for cats

I got home from work today, exhausted, only to face the horrible whining of the neighborhood cats outside my window. They used to be really loud, and then in the cold of the winter they disappeared. But now they seem to have returned in full force. I sure hope I can sleep tonight!

Chai with Hannah

This morning my pastor's wife Hannah came over to chat over some chai tea (sent to me by my amazing Grandma!!!). Hannah is first off just plain beautiful. I mean, her smile lights up anyone who is having a bad day. But her heart matches her face. She has a sweet and gentle spirit. She laughs easily and is filled with compassion. Add all these traits to the fact that she went to Reformed Theological Seminary and got her masters in Biblical Theology (my FAVORITE subject) and you have an awesome coffee date. There wasn't anything necessarily on the plate to talk about, but have no fear, we never lacked for conversation. In fact, all the major issues I wanted to hit up with Hannah were covered. Im really grateful for her soft wisdom and honesty with me.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

changing

I feel a little dizzy. Not really, but I feel like I should. I honestly barely recognize myself yet I know that the person that is staring at me in the mirror is just the new Becka. She is something similar to the Becka of 2008, but somehow older and wiser. I am reading a book called A Grace Disguised (by Jerry Sittser) that talks about how to deal with loss. Some of the sentences in this book I have to read 3 or 4 times beforeI can move on. They are so deep. I wish I could just sit in them for hours. One of the quotes that caught me today, "The soul is elastic, like a balloon. It can grow larger through suffering. Loss can enlarge its capacity for anger, depression, despair, and anguish, all natural and legitimate emotions whenever we experience loss. Once enlarged, the soul is also capable of experiencing greater joy, strength, peace, and love." (p.48) In case youre tempted to throw this guy's words aside as fluffy, this author wrote this book out of his pain of losing his wie, daughter, and mother all in one car accident. His grief was and is deep, yet he offers hope to those who walk in the darkness of sorrow. There is life in pain. I really recommend this book to anyone who is suffering or who knows someone who is suffering (which is ALL of us!)
Back to the point. I have so dramatically changed in the past month. My friend Ben moved here and I remember telling him before he came that I was very different than I used to be. That I was antisocial, prefered to be alone over being social. That I was not filled with joy or peace or hope.
He must think I was lying, because started about a week before he arrived, I started to see a change in myself. It started the night that I got into a fight with my friend about the Gospel. I was defending the Gospel of Jesus and what it means to follow Him. In particular, I was defending what it means to love the way Jesus loved. I realized that I had shackled myself to my sin of selfishness over the last 9 months. I was being really selfish because I was filled with fear of being hurt again. That night I cried a lot. I left my friend. Cried some more. I talked to my dad the next morning. And cried some more. I was afraid that my days of depression were returning. I prayed fiercely against the pit of depression. And I went to church. There is no magic potion to dealing with this stuff. But I can tell you, living in a grace filled community is a sure help. I dont know all the factors to my change over the last month but I think it is more than a coincidence that it has occurred over the time that I have attended this church.
So to all of you who have been praying for me, thank you. I am doing well. I have awoken to find that I am enjoying life again. It wasn't a decision I made. It wasn't even noticable until it was happening. But it was a miracle. I still don't really like living in Korean culture. I'm still annoyed with my kids talking about my weight. I still miss latin culture with all my heart. But I have found a way to live here. And maybe it was good timing that Ben came here as I came out of my funk. As I hit my 6 month mark here soon (on the 16th) it seems like God is changing me.

Congrats to Jinhee and John!!!

As some of you remember, I went to a wedding here in Korea a while ago. It was a friend of Sunyoung and it was such a cool experience. Well, last week I got to go to another wedding, this time of a friend! My friend Jinhee (who is Korean) married John (who is American). A bunch of us from my school went to the wedding together.
Brittany, Carter and I
Olivia, Erin, and Maggie (I think the Koreans think they are all the same person!)
Maggie and I
Here are the two moms lighting the candles at the beginning of the ceremony. Note the big dress, its the traditional dress of Korea called hanbok.

White day




Boy am I glad that I have already worked through my "single issues. Well, at least my Valentines issues. You see, there is a tendency for your single women in the states to react against the horrible day by throwing "singles awareness" parties or defensively calling each other their valentine. Don't get me wrong, I love showing my affection for my girlfriends with flowers (just ask Ashlee about trying to explain to our church in Santiago why she had flowers from me). But a few years ago I realized that if Im bitter at Valentines Day, its MY problem, not hallmarks. Sure, our society doesn't make it easy, but I dont need to lament my singleness. No, I am not cursed. I have to trust that if I am single, it must be a blessing for me today. Anyways, all this means that the last few Valentines Days have been much easier, almost even enjoyable. I can actually rejoice for my friends who do have relationships without feeling bitterness and jealousy.


So you may be wondering why I might bring this up in the second week of March... wasn't Valentines Day last month? Well, once again, Korea likes to do things differently. Here in Korea, there are three, count them, THREE holidays that surround romantic love (or the lack thereof).


The first is February 14th- Valentines Day.
Then on March 14th- White Day
And finally on April 14th- Black Day

Each day has its purpose. Valentines day is when girls their guys chocolate. Guys are not required to give anything...
until White Day. This is when the guys get to be the givers. They are supposed to give their girls chocolate on this day.
Finally, on Black day, for those who have no loved one, who didn't get or give chocolate, whose hear therefore is "black", they must eat jajangmyung (black noodles).


Needless to say, this all seems ridiculous to me. Still, I wouldnt mind getting chocolate on White Day.... and really, if it doesn't happen, the black noodles are kinda tasty...
(Pictured above: two of my girls who wrote out their predictions of who was who for White Day dates in our school. They paired up a few of us girl teachers with guys.... sadly not a SINGLE one true! As I watched the girls scramble to write out their lists, I couldn't help but think of guys when they are doing their sports teams things.. listing teams.. you know, whatever they do around basketball.... )

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Walking with pee

As my faithful readers may have noticed, I haven't really been blogging much. What few blogs I have posted recently have been focused on my students. The truth is, most of my life revolves around my job and my students (which is clearly reflected in this blog) and the parts that are unrelated to my job have been not really appropriate to blog about. I have seen a radical change in my life over the last month. Nothing in this culture has changed, nothing in my job has changed. I still dont really enjoy either of those nearly as much as I would hope. But I have found a community in which I experience so much joy that my frustration with other parts of my life are faded into the background. I have laughed more in these last few days than ever in Korea. My small group (bible study) is filled with a bunch of awesome guys and one other girl. Kelly, my lone girlfriend in the group, is super chill and somehow our group really gels well.
As I posted earlier, my friend Ben came to Korea to teach at a sister school of mine. It's good to have an old friend here and I am really confident that God is doing awesome things in his life. He has fit right into Covenant too. I'm sure as time moves on, this blog will see many more posts concerning Covenant Church.
So you may be wondering about the post title. Well, the last few months I have been doing some research and seeing some doctors, just trying to figure some things out about my body. So one of the tests that the doctor is doing involves me collecting my pee for 24 days. Now, I realize that for you in America this might be TMI (too much information) but here in Korea and in many other parts of the world, there are different views on one's right to privacy. So the doctor gave me a bag to put my pee in for 24 hours day (which meant that I was bound to my apartment all day). One of my friends who has lived here for a few years said he was surprised that the process wasn't more invasive. These kinds of things are usually much more ridiculous here. So tomorrow I am bringing my pee to the hospital... in a huge 3 liter bag (and no, I didn't fill up the whole thing!). I realize that this means I will be walking, taking a subway, and walking some more to bring this pee to the hospital. I have a black bag all ready to carry the contents over, but still, it's weird. Then again, it's only weird to me. No one else will know. Unless they read this blog, in which case...
Peace out!