Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

It's a day late here in Korea, but in California...


Dear Dad,
I blame you for my insanely social personality, my love for Israeli folk dancing, and my inability to remember any musicians names. And I thank you for your prayers over the last 27 years. You are a blessing.

Friday, June 18, 2010

World Cup and the dreams that come

World Cup fever has taken over Seoul. The team here in Korea is called the Red Devils (an appropriate name for such a legalistic Christian country, dont you think?) It's not uncommon for my kids to come to class dressed all in red with little devil horns on their head. It bothered me at first. Really, the real Devil would love nothing more than for us to think that he is a little red guy with horns and a tail. But if I have learned anything over the past few weeks, its that I have control over few things in life. And the proud control freak in me needs to learn to let go.

Here are some of my friends cheering for Korea on Thursday. I sadly was at work and missed this game. Notice the beer and pizza. Good times!

I will hopefully post some pics from when my friends and I went to cheer last Saturday. It was fun, although it made me realize once again, how different Chile and Korea are. For example, when Greece (Korea's opponent) scored or blocked a goal, the Koreans were silent. I mean, there was some groaning, some quiet whining. But really, coming out of latino countries, where riots start, I was hit with the stark contrast. And it made me miss Chile. In fact, maybe it's because I've let myself think more about Chile in the past few weeks, or maybe I'm trying to mentally escape some of the drama in my life here in Korea, but I've been a little more impatient than normal to be in Chile. I told Sunyoung on Saturday about my plans. In sharing with her some of my dreams for the future, I realized how huge these dreams are. Not that they are unrealistic, but they seem huge to me. They seem surreal in many ways, and yet I know that these are the places the Lord is taking me. I don't know the exact places the Lord has for me, but I know that He is my guide and provider. For those of you reading this blog who wonder if God is a faithful leader, He is! He is not just faithful to lead, but as the creator of your heart, TRUST Him to lead you. Set your desires on Him. He is infinitely more satisfying than any dream or idol you might have. 10 years ago, when I was finishing up high school, I couldnt have ever imagined that this would be my life. He has been more than I could have ever hoped for.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Confessions- anger is a root issue

Recently my friends and I have been looking at CCEF's tree model to understand how to approach the issue of sin in our lives. You see, according to the tree model, the real issue is under the surface, where the roots are. The real issue is that in some way shape or form we don't believe the Gospel. Because if we did truly and fully believe in the Gospel, we would not see bad fruit (aka sin) in our lives. There are great resources out there, here is one of them.
So anyways, this way of viewing sin makes you take note of the circumstances in your life and your reaction to the circumstances, but always pushes you to ask, What is going on in my heart? Where is my heart not believing in the Gospel. I totally agree with this model of counseling and have been encouraging my friends and I to use it as we minister to each other.
So tonight God challenged me. It's almost 2am and I am wide awake. I was in bed for almost an hour, tossing and turning. Why? you might ask. Well, anger was burning deep in my heart. Yeah. Anger and and pain. Oh, and don't forget bitterness. Yep. They were mulling around, keeping me from going to sleep at a decent hour.
The situation doesn't really matter, it's all just my circumstances. And my response is only truly valuable for showing me something even more important: that my heart is NOT resting in the Gospel. In my situation, there is a person who has done x,y, and z. Like I said, it honestly doesnt even matter. My response is anger and bitterness. So what does that tell me? Well, to be honest, Im not completely sure. I feel like I am just begining to scrape the top of the huge ice cube that is my heart. I can tell you this much, part of my anger is self righteousness. Yeah. I think somehow that this person's sin is so much worse than mine. The truth is, their sin is gross to God and I should react to it. But I have to react in light of my own gross sin having been forgiven. Not by my own deeds, but by the blood of Jesus. So when this person does something that send jolts of anger into my heart, I have to fight to remember that I am no more than a forgiven sinner. My anger is like the guy in Matthew 18 who is forgiven of much but then refuses to forgive his neighbor of a few pennies.
Our responses show our heart. I praise God that He kept me awake tonight. He didn't let me go to sleep in my anger, or thinking that my anger is justified. No, He loves me enough to show me how sinful my heart is. As long as I sit in anger and bitterness, I can't experience His grace. And let me tell you friends, there is no experience to be had other than His grace. It is the sweetest part of life, and it is the greatest hope in death.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Single Woman

A guy recently asked me if I was content being single. It was one of those conversations that I live for. I barely knew the guy, but we got deep about real issues as we sat in our friend's living room after our bible study. He asked about being content. I pondered the question for a moment and then answered. "Yes, I am content." I went on to explain that I had seen the Lord give and take away those things that I truly desire. And even in the heartbreak, I have learned that it is God's goodness. The guy asked if I wanted to get married. Of course! I think anyone reading this blog probably knows me well enough to know the answer to that one.
Then the third question came. This one wasn't so easily to answer. The guy asked, "So then are you preparing yourself for marriage?" Um...
I think I know the idea this guy is working from, but there is something in me that says its the wrong question. Now, let me say first, that this guy, and the people who think this way, have some AMAZING theology. They have encouraged me more than ever in my walk with the Lord.
But I battled this idea of preparing for marriage a lot over the years. The truth is, I am a woman, created in God's image, and if He has me single, it doesn't diminish any of those facts. So while I want to marry, and I think its a possibility some day, I can't live my life oriented around a hoped for day in the future.
No, God has so much more for me. He made me to live today as a godly woman. All the gifts that I hope to exercize as a wife- hospitality, kindness, patience, selflessness- I am supposed to use them today! Of course it's different, but godly character is godly character whether or not you're married. So I told this guy that I am trying to pursue His goodness for me today. That I am looking at biblical feminity no just for when I get to be a wife, but that as a single I could truly honor God as a woman.

One of the authors who has been really encouraging me is Carolyn McCulley. In an article she wrote, she talked about this issue of being a single woman seeking biblical feminity. I'll leave you with a quote from her:

I was not a female form outlined in dotted lines, waiting for one man to
fill me in and therefore complete my femininity. I was feminine because that's
how my God made me, and there was something of his image that I was to reflect
as a woman—even a single woman.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

So much has been going on over the last few weeks. There is nothing truly monumental, but the little pieces of life seem to be moving mightily. Because it's past midnight, and I should be going to bed, Im going to brush over the pieces. Sorry for the lack of depth, but maybe with these large brush strokes you can see the quick and steady current of my life.

Over the last two weeks, I have been praying for some of my friends. I've been carrying around a prayer journal and using my spare minutes to pray throughout the day. It's been a deep blessing in my life and I have found myself praying more and more as the days go on.
One of the biggest blessings of the prayer was in the Lord blessing me with the opportunity to pray as part of the service this Sunday. I don't take anything I do for the church lightly, so what could have been just a simple and easy prayer turned into an hour of reading my bible, reflecting on what kind of prayer would best serve and lead the church, a small but real moment of fear of man, an almost withdrawing from the responsibility, and then finally a realization that any fear I have is a fear of man. For God gives me the right to pray, because of HIS righteousness.

I started having an asthma attack the friday before my birthday. So its been over a week of wheezing and coughing. Its allergies, and I got myself to the dr. who put me on a steroid inhaler. It's working, kinda. But it does mean that I spend my day feeling my lower lungs wheezing as I breathe in and out. Feels almost like my stomach grumbling, but its my lungs.

We have a visitor at our church right now. His name is Howard and he is a friend of one of the guys in the church. He is only here for a few weeks (he leaves this friday) but he has been such a breath of fresh air. He works with small groups at Covenant Life Church in DC (it's CJ Mahaney's church). He has been helping the guys with their accountability group, and even giving us some guidance for our girls group. But even more than the logistical help, he has been refreshing because the guy just quotes scripture. Every time I have asked him anything, his answer is always half just scripture quotes. It's cool. It's a good reminder of what our sure foundation is. I realized in my conversations with him that I know a lot of theology, and in many ways, its good theology (or so I think!) but my intake of the Word is so low. I seem to have forgotten that my joy and peace come from the Gospel that is proclaimed through these very scriptures. I doubt their power in my life. And really, let's call it for what it is. My attitude toward the scripture- laziness, disbelief, and apathy- is sin. This realization has driven me appropriately to the Lord and His Word. I have been praying for a renewed love for His Word.

Beyond these things, the in and out of each day has been quite the same. I am still plugging away at work, learning to love the kids better, trying to not think too hard about the educational philosophy that I am promoting by being here.

My desire to return to Chile has been tempered by the realization that I wont be moving around much more after this, that I feel like a season of settling down is coming.
My desire to serve others, especially in my church, has been so fulfilled with the Lord bringing incredible opportunities for me to lay down my life in small ways for people in my life.
And my desire for a husband... well, that's always there. I am still praying that God would teach me to glorify Him, to believe that His goodness extends into every season.

I have some solid blog posts on some of these issues, but they will have to be for another night. For now, I go to sleep, knowing that my rest is in the One whose angels encamp around me.