Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
I'm currently reading a book (along with two others...) called Brother, I'm Dying. It's an autobiography written by a Haitian-American immigrant who spent her childhood in Haiti, much of which was apart from her parents, and adult life in America. I'm only about 50 pages in, but was struck by something she wrote regarding her father in setting the stage of why her parents immigrated from Haiti to America, leaving their two oldest children with family for eight years.
Her father was skilled as a tailor, making simple clothes for Haitians. In the 60s, a stream of used clothes from America flooded Haiti and thereby removed the need for Haitian tailors or seamstresses as the Haitians have a tendency to think American products are better than their own. Her father looked for work in other areas, but continued to struggle, particularly after a wave of government corruption hit and gangs took what they wanted. Given that, he left for America to find work.
What the world?!?!
I was, once again, struck by how sometimes our efforts to help can inadvertently hurt. Yes, the donated clothes were likely given in an attempt to help, but perhaps that wasn't the best course of action (obviously I have no idea if it was or wasn't, this is merely an observation)? Or perhaps it was part of the Lord's plan and was a piece of the story to get us where we are today. I don't know.
In any case, though, I continue to be challenged to not try to fix everything (in poverty, friends, life, etc.). And to not act hastily apart from the Spirit's leading, while knowing that at times His leading may lead to struggle. He is sovereign and can fix my blunders, but sometimes a little pausing, praying, and considering what He says may prevent some blunders.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
For the provision provided within and the timing with which I became aware of said provision. For the author's rawness and unknowingly encouraging others through her words.
And for Haiti; how it is being changed from the inside out, and that I am eternally blessed to have walked it's dirt roads, hugged it's children, sang praises with it's people, and loved its beauty.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
As I ponder this notion, I can't help but remember my days in high school science class. I had a love/hate relationship with lab days. On one hand, it broke the monotony of lectures, but on the other, it made it unbelievably clear how much I had no clue as to what the world I was doing... Sometimes I'm not sure how I passed biology or chemistry...in high school or college! Anyway, I remember the microscope days. You know the ones, when you're supposed to look at gross, weird stuff on the little slide? Yeah, I feel like I was great at faking it. I'd look and say I saw X and Y, when in reality it looked like a gross blob.
I think perhaps my teachers liked my creative responses? Who knows. Back to present day.
Along with not being a fan of science, I'm also not a fan of looking at myself or thinking about how I feel. It's interesting as I'm most definitely a feelings-based person, but when it's about me? No thanks. I'd rather focus on you. Or the random person I don't know. Or imaginary people. (before you think I'm crazy on that last one, I mean fictional characters...you know, books, movies, TV shows)
Lately I feel like I'm being pushed on that weirdo slide and shoved under the microscope. And then, to make it even more uncomfortable, am forced to look myself. So not a fan! I don't particularly want to see the gross blobs. The parts of my story I wish would just disappear (and you can bet your bottom dollar I've prayed that they would...hey, God can do that).
And yet, as a glutton for punishment, I keep going back to that science class. I keep allowing myself to be microscoped. And keep looking in that greasy eye piece (I remember them being greasy; random, I know). And keep analyzing the blobs and trying to figure out answers, yet typically turning up with none.
I hate the microscope. I sort of want to break the microscope, and yet I know it's necessary. I'm fighting it tooth and nail, sometimes thinking it's a big waste of time and energy, and sometimes feeling like a horrible person as I get tired of looking at my own blobs. I don't want to look at mine! I want to help others and not be annoying by asking others to help me decipher said blobs!
Even so, I know I have to keep going. Keep listening to the Instructor, keep looking at the microscope, and trust that eventually the blobs will make sense with the Instructor's help.
So while I hate the microscope, I'm choosing to be thankful for it.
The first has been on replay for quite some time (though not this version, I prefer the one from the Passion album :)). I think part of the reason it's extra special is that I first heard it with my sweet college girls on the way to our retreat last spring. We had a tradition of listening to and singing praise music the whole way to our small group retreats, which ALWAYS were some of the sweetest moments of the trip. And pointed to how much growth they've had from the days of Fergie and other Top 40 hits blaring...we transitioned to blaring praises to Jesus.
The second is a newer one for me that I just downloaded last week after hearing on the radio. It's actually spurred an interest in further understanding the names of God, as I think perhaps that may help me better understand his character. And I'm sort of confused by his character right now.
Enjoy. May they encourage you, too.
Friday, November 4, 2011
So my thanks for yesterday is:
1. Sick time and the ability to sleep most of the day in a cozy bed
2. Nyquil. They miracle medicine that helps me sleep when my head and throat are throbbing
3. Sweet friends who check-in on me. I'm a little like my dad, though, and always worry I'll get others sick so tend to go being sick alone. I greatly appreciate those of you who did check-in!
4. A body that, with God's help, has the ability to fight whatever is wrong and heal itself
Now here's hoping I feel 100% tomorrow. Or maybe even later today.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Melissa and Emily surprised me last weekend and came to serve at Hideaway, our high school retreat! They served beautifully (not surprising at all...they have such servant's hearts) and shared about their idols to encourage/challenge the students. They did SO well and I am just so darn proud of them. And yes, I maybe had to try not to cry when I said bye. Oh, and I may get to see Margaret this weekend...three girls in one week? Yes, please!
I'm also beyond thankful for the opportunity to continue discipleship with my new group of freshman girls. Excited to continue to get to know them and shepherd them in Christ. I pray they, too, will be ripples for Christ's love.
3. David Crowder Band's Christmas album. Yes, it's only November 2nd and yes, I've taken to listening to this album pretty heavily over the past week. And I don't care that it's still before Thanksgiving.
Lately I've been faced in a big way with the depravity of man and this world. The Truth of Christmas and the hope that comes with the birth of dear Jesus is helping me to see through the depravity and on to beauty, joy, and love.
And besides, for all we know Jesus' birthday is tomorrow. :)
4. Community. For loving me in the midst of my ugliness, anger, and bitterness. And for a host of other things. :)
5. Laughter and penguins. Monday night I was at a thing and was about to share something that was challenging. Right before I started talking, a woman walked in dressed as a penguin. While it was Halloween, this venue was not quite costume-appropriate, so for a moment my inner Billy Madison kicked-in and I thought perhaps I was seeing things. Alas, it was just a woman dressed as a penguin. It -brought a big, laugh-to-tears moment among the women I was with.
That's it for now. I feel like junk and just finished work for the evening so think I'll hit the hay since my head may soon explode and I have about 24 hours of work to do tomorrow... Oy, is it Friday, yet? :)