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Showing posts from 2014

Boxing Day Reflections.

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{Disclaimer:  This entry really isn't about Boxing Day.}
In reality, I don't exactly know what Boxing Day is, but I'm choosing to reflect upon Christmas on this day because Boxing Day is special enough to have a spot on an annual calendar.
As this holiday season comes to a close, I can't help but ponder the growing beauty of Christmas that strengthens as my childhood years have given way to young adulthood years.

My mind travels back to one particular Christmas morning when I was about four years old. My family was getting ready to open the gifts that were neatly and colorfully wrapped underneath our tree. I opened a "Dentist Barbie," which I adored, and I unpackaged the doll and her dentist chair out of their cardboard casing as soon as I could. How I loved that gift and its contents (somehow playing with that doll made going to the dentist less scary to me!).

Throughout the years, I asked my parents for gifts such as an Easy Bake Oven, a Furbie (quickly regr…

Purity is More Than a One-Time Commitment.

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When I was twelve years old, I begged my mom to buy me a purity ring because I felt I was ready to make the commitment to stay pure (and I really wanted the neat sterling silver ring). I signed the cardboard commitment card in the ring's package and thought that by signing my John Hancock, I was "officially" a pure young lady.

For the next few years, I wore my purity ring proudly, answering questions about it when asked and ever-confident in my classification as a "pure individual." Whenever I read in the Bible about being "set apart," I didn't consider there was anything else involved except my promise to remain a virgin until I got married.

However, once I started high school, I realized that my one-time purity commitment was not helping me in everyday life. My thoughts were regularly contaminated, and I didn't know how to control them or keep them from running too far ahead from me. I was confused why my mind didn't always seem squeaky-cl…

Christmas Carols & Little Voices.

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One of my favorite memories in Bangladesh was having the opportunity to teach Christmas carols to little ones at a children's home. Though it was only the month of June, the children wanted to learn these carols so that they might be able to practice and perform them for a special program in December.


With our best a cappella renditions of commonly-known songs such as "Joy to the World" and "O Come, All Ye Faithful," my roommate Bethany and I led the children in learning these songs line-by-line, and sometimes even syllable-by-syllable (I felt like Maria in The Sound of Music when she first teaches the children do-re-mi!).

My personal favorite tune to teach was "The Little Drummer Boy." With its repetitious rhythm and slower pace, the children caught onto it quicker than the other carols. However, they always seemed to have a little trouble singing "Pa rum pum pum pum" whenever the phrase came up in the song. Though the children were famili…

Smita: My Princess.

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As referenced in my previous blog entry Healing, it's taken me a little longer than I thought to process through my overseas experience this summer.  I think perhaps that instead of processing Nepal & Bangladesh one bit at a time, I felt compelled to process it all at once.  Thus, anytime I tried to write about any of it, words would not come to mind, and I'd become so overwhelmed about all of my emotions that I would choose just to stuff down my thoughts.

Now that I have some good break time over Christmas, I feel moved to finally sort through the beauty of my Nepal & Bangladesh experience piece-by-piece.  I want to reflect on the loveliness of the places I encountered and the hearts I came into contact with.

If you're reading along, I hope you enjoy my descriptions of the places and the faces that have truly become some of the dearest memories of my healing heart.

~ ~ ~
I believe I must begin with my dearest Smita, whom I met while staying at a children's hom…

Healing.

The past five months have been unlike anything I've ever experienced in my life. They have been filled with silence and a lack of inspiration. They have been filled with dark moments, confusion, and heartache. They have been filled with an awareness of my lack of control. They have been filled with testing, frustration, and sleeplessness. They have been filled with anxiety.

While the silence has been so tempting, I feel it's finally time that I write. It's finally time that I speak through my writing. I will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of my testimony (Revelation 12:11).
The difficult journey started during my final week in Bangladesh this past July.  Before I left for the States, I came down with a nasty virus. Fever. Chills. Full-body rash. Panic.  I didn't know what was happening to me. Never had a mild illness given me such an upset. However, this time was different. When I read a number of over 100 degrees on my digital thermometer, my body w…
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{Such a beautiful time of year}

Eyes on Jesus.

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During this season in my life, the Holy Spirit has been reminding me of the importance of keeping my eyes on Jesus.

When I was in elementary school, I remember learning for the first time in Bible class about Peter walking on water (found in Matthew 14:22-33).  The imagery of the story was quite amazing for me to imagine.  I pictured the waves tossing, the disciples' boat rocking, and Jesus' voice peacefully calling in the midst of it all.  I was fascinated by the thought that Peter was (1) able to get out of the boat to meet Jesus on the water, (2) able to stay above the water when his eyes were fixed on Jesus, and (3) unable to stay above the water when his eyes were not fixed on Jesus.

I often wonder if I'd be able to get out of the boat if Jesus called my name.

However, I realize that in day-to-day life, Jesus ever calls us out of our personal "safety boats" and urges us to keep our eyes fixed on Him.  I realize that the fear can often grip our hearts so powe…

Perfect Peace.

I have to be honest.  There are times in my life when I ask myself, "Can God's perfect peace really overcome my deepest fears?" And I doubt and question and wonder.  I often wonder how I can finally allow myself to constantly rest in God's peace, not just experience it here-and-there only when I'm having a good day.

My fears become so seemingly real and overwhelming and gripping.  When they're at their worst, they seem like the truest reality there is, and there seems to be no escape.  I fear for my family, my health, my finances, my education, my future...the list goes on and on.  It becomes obsessive, compounding, never-ending.  Fear is a trap, yet it's so attractive.  I believe it presents itself as a way for us to have control over what happens--or at least to be prepared if the "worst" does happen. However, it is a dark spiral of despair that never gives us control.  Fear only gives us more reason to hold on more tightly to the things that G…

Home from the East.

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"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation,the news that the God of Israel reigns!" --Isaiah 52:7

I have recently returned home from a two-month trip to Nepal and Bangladesh, and I can sense that I've been changed.  As I attempt to fit myself back into everyday life back at home, I can sense that a little part of me feels different.  I can't really figure it out completely, but I think after having such an experience overseas, it is expected that I be changed.

In the next few months, I plan on writing about thoughts and experiences that occurred while overseas. If you've ever been overseas for a season of time, you can probably relate to the fact that such an experience takes some processing through.  If you've never been overseas, I hope that my processings will help you to glimpse in a new way the joys and the difficulties of experiencing a new culture, a different religion, and t…

Snapshots of India.

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India or Bust.

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"India or bust."  These words were written by my older sister Katie in her prayer journal to God while she was preparing to become a missionary to India.  God had placed the people of India on her heart from a very young age, especially the little girls of India.  Though Katie endured some difficult times, God continued whispering to her heart that she was called to the people of India.

I remember Katie talking about India very frequently during our conversations.  I suppose that's because her passion for the Indian people was so strong that it poured out beautifully from her heart in her everyday life.  I loved that God had spoken to her so clearly about what His plan was for her life--and I loved seeing her so excited for that plan.  Her enthusiasm for the country inspired me, and I often liked to picture myself one day visiting her in India as she dedicated her life to serving the Indian people.

When she died suddenly in a car accident as a 19-year-old in March of 2…