" Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are 'patches of godlight' in the woods of our experience."

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hope

Hope - it's such a small thing, a tiny seed planted in the heart. At times, it blossoms and grows into a lovely flower. The heart swells with the fullness of the bloom. Things seem better during these times. The fuller the bloom, the happier the heart.

Sometimes, the flower dies. The precious earth that surrounds the seed dries up. The heart becomes dry and cold. Things couldn't be worse. Maybe the heart weeps from a loss or rages from injustice. Either way, emptiness and sadness follow.

It's such a small thing that affects our everyday lives. If the flower is blossoming and healthy, then the monotony of every day life seems easier. The sun shines brighter and the sky seems bluer, even when in fact, they remain as sunny and as blue as always. Tweeting birds appear to share our hope. Even thunderstorms can't dampen the flower. The heart is amazed and refreshed by the storm.

If the flower has died and the heart grown cold, the affect is quite the opposite. All the bright things now seem dull, even though the brightness of the thing has not changed, the heart has changed. Sunny brightness is now a bother, instead of a delight. The sky now appears in sepia tones. Those tweeting birds! Why won't they stop? Thunderstorms are worst of all, no longer amazing and refreshing. The clouds blanket the heart in darkness. The tiny seed is suffocated, perhaps it even dies.

Who can help a dead seed? Who can bring it back to life? Can a seed revive itself? Sometimes, the circumstances of life revive the seed and it blossoms again. Sometimes, no matter the circumstances, the heart stays hopeless.

Is there any way to heal the seed? Can the flower bloom even in the darkest times of life? The answer is yes; there is One who can heal all wounds, revive all hearts - the Great Physician, Jesus. Let Him into your heart. Let Him touch that seed and revive your hope. He is the reason you have that tiny seed of hope. He wants you to always have that flower blooming, during the good times and the awful times. Know that there is always hope! Maybe it is dormant or dead, but it is still there, waiting to blossom again and the Great Physician can help you. Let Him cultivate your hope!


*This blog post was inspired by one of Emily Dickinson's poems. "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul..."

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Broken

My heart is crushed
Cracked open for all to see
Bruised by those closest to me
My broken heart -
I'm loosing the pieces - Help!
Too much pain,
Piercing and cutting me apart.

Every day passes normally,
But inside the pain haunts me.
Death would be easier to understand.
I'm dragging around a heavy load.
I try to let it go
I pretend it's not there
But I stumble,
And I feel it crashing into me.

Is this my fate too?
Will this happen to me?
Will I abandon the ones I love?
Will my heart turn to stone?
I can make my own choices.
That's what I'm told
That's what I used to think,
But now...what if it's my fate
To follow in your footsteps?

Can love be forgotten?
Can love leave so easily?
I never believed it - until now.
Your decision makes everything seem pointless.
Does it mean you love me less?
I think it means that I love you less...

So maybe I am like you,
Maybe my fate is the same.
I pray to God it's not,
I pray that He saves me
For I cannot save myself.


Friday, April 17, 2015

A Brief History of Me


            As a child, I always enjoyed history class. My teacher was engaging and always seemed to bring the stories to life. I believe this is what originally sparked my interesting in learning about different cultures. I was always fascinated when missionaries would come speak at my church and talk about the country they were serving in, but I never thought I could be the person ministering to those people.  I always believed that this was a job meant for those picked by God, and I would not be one of them. However, one summer at a National church conference, I sat and listened to a former pastor speak about different cultures , and about how many people had never heard about God and they did not have a Bible in their language. I was shocked by the numbers, I felt God speaking to my heart, telling me He wanted me to be one of those people who go and tell those who have never heard about Him.
                After that, I signed up for a missions trip for the next summer after I had graduated high school. Then, when I attended college that next fall in Nashville, I decided to minor in Missions. I suddenly felt like I was doing something right. I excelled at my classes, and best of all, I enjoyed them. I took courses like Cultural Anthropology and The Study of World Religions. Because of my minor in missions, I was required to participate in an overseas apprenticeship. I chose to go to France. I stayed with a missionary there, and helped her at the French bookstore she ran in Nantes. This trip lasted for two months, and gave me a real taste of life abroad. I loved it. I had to learn to survive on my own for the first time. This trip inspired me to take as many as possible during my college education.
                A couple years later though, I realized I was in quite a bit of debt, and I still had several college general classes that I had yet to take. So, I moved home to take those classes at a community college near my parents. I met my husband then, and we married a year and a half later. It was then that my life came to a standstill. I was happily married, yet I was not sure how my dream of living overseas and ministering was going to come true. After about a year of marriage, we went to Nashville so I could finish up my degree. Afterwards, we moved back to Arkansas so my husband could finish his.
                During this time, I worked a lot. Occasionally, my thoughts would wander to my previous trips overseas, and I wondered if I would ever get to travel again. I was never quite happy with my job placements. I was working in retail and at daycare centers. Nothing seemed to fit, and I kept switching jobs. So, my husband and I had discussed what I wanted to do with my life. He wanted me to be happy, and said he would be happy to go anywhere with me after he finished his degree. However, I was not sure how we could go overseas. We had student loans, and I did not feel that I was trained to work internationally. Then, one day I remembered my sister had taken the TESL course at TFLI. The course had been required when she and her husband moved to Japan. It sounded like something that would work perfectly for me. I would be able to work with people from foreign countries here or overseas. I still had a couple years to wait for my husband to finish school but at least I had a goal to work towards. I signed up at the local Literacy League to tutor people in English. They did not have a high demand for English teachers, so my first student was a man learning to read. However, my second student was a Hispanic woman wanting to learn English.
                When my husband finished school, he started looking for jobs in Nashville.  It took about a year, but we finally made our way back to this city. We decided I would take the TESL course this summer. Now, I am writing this essay, and I cannot believe that my time has almost come. I am very excited to take this course, and I know this is going to open doors for me.  I hope that during the next few years my husband and I will be able to travel overseas, and possibly move to a foreign country. This course will enable me to finally live out my dream of ministering and helping people, and for that I am eternally grateful.


*This is the entrance essay I wrote for the TESL class I will be taking this summer.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Fear of Death

Just 3 months ago, I was writing posts celebrating Christmas and the birth of Jesus. Such a joyous time Christmas is. It's one of my favorite times of the year. Now just a few short months later, Easter is upon us.

For us, only a few months pass between celebrating a birth and celebrating a death. It sounds so gruesome to think of it as celebrating Jesus' death. But death is a huge part of why Christ came to earth. Without his shed blood, we would be hopelessly lost. Yet death is such a scary thing for us. At least, it is to me, even though I am a Christian. It's something I fight with myself about constantly. Something I have to pray about consistently. I have to ask God to take away my fear of death, to remind me that He is waiting for me on the other side and I have nothing to fear. And yet my flesh is so weak and so scared.

But just think about Jesus up on that cross - think about how much pain he was in, how he was suffering physically and spiritually. And remember He knew when His death was coming. He had lived His whole life knowing He would die for all of mankind. He knew how He was going to die. He knew He would be reviled, spit upon and beaten. Think about that moment when He was all alone on that cross - when He cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Can you imagine be separated from the presence of God? That was probably worse than all the physical suffering he endured.

Remember how He prayed to God before it all happened, "Let this cup pass from me." He was afraid too. He had a human heart like the rest of us. It shatters me on the inside when I think about it. All the things He went through and yet He still went willingly to the slaughter.

Yet I fear death. I fear the end of my tiny human existence....

And I won't have a moment of separation from God like Jesus experienced. The Bible says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. When I die, He will be there with me from the moment the last breath exits my body and He will be with me for the rest of eternity.

Why am I so afraid? I won't die like Jesus (hopefully). I won't ever be separated from God.That's comforting. Now when I am afraid, I will remember all that Jesus went through, how He faced the same things I will face, even more than I will face. If He can do it, then I can too. If He can walk purposely towards His death, then I can too. And I will be resurrected just like He was.

Remember Jesus' example this Easter and march onward!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

He causes it to come.

Some days are like springtime, warm and fresh,
Gentle breezes blowing, sun smiling down.
Birds singing and flowers blooming,
Everything seems perfect, like nothing can go wrong.
 But dark clouds gather quickly and the sky is torn open
By harsh rain and lightning.
Your perfect day can be ruined in a flash of clouds and rain.

Just remember who controls the storm -
Remember He planned it all.
He knows the moment it will stop
And He can tell the sun to return.
He gives sunshine and rain,
flowers and puddles,
lightning and rainbows.
He knows when you need a perfect day
And when you need rain.

 He is with you always in the storm and in the sun.
Don't forget Him during the good times,
Because He is thinking of you.
He gave you the perfect day - Remember to thank Him.
 And thank Him during the storm as well.
Don't be frightened because He is holding you and the storm in His hands.
He knows when you need a perfect day
And when you need rain.


"God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend. For he says to the snow, Fall on the earth; likewise He speaks to the showers and to the downpour of His mighty rains....Whether it be for correction or for His earth or for His mercy and loving kindness, He causes it to come."  
Job 36:5,6,13

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Some things to think about...


Winters are not endless,
Valleys are not infinite.
Storms come and go quickly,
Nighttime lasts only a short while.

Winter is brutal but think of the snow, glittering and white. Each snowflake created to be different and special. Think of Christmas and all the lights. Think of hot tea and cocoa shared late at night. Think of the trees that remain green through the cold, like a splash of color meant for you.

Valleys can be treacherous and dark, but think of the green countryside with blooming flowers to see. Think of calming rain showers brought to refresh you. Think of a bubbling brook singing just for you. Think of the view - oh the view of the mountains - majestic and bright, topped with shining snow.

Storms are frightening, wind howling and rain crashing. But think of  how quickly they pass, especially a summer storm. Think of the lovely sun shining soon. Think of that fresh smell of the grass and trees right after their shower. And think of a rainbow glowing in the sky, reminding you of God's promise.

Nighttime is scary, darkness closing in with a fear of things unseen. Think of the stars sparkling above. Think of a cozy bed, with a loved one close by. Think of the moon, giving some light. Think of the sunrise and the sky turning colors - pink, purple, red, and yellow. Remember, joy comes in the morning.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Escape

I hid myself
Built a wall around my heart
I ran, thinking my problems would just go away.
I let the gate slam shut,
Pulled up the drawbridge,
Determined to keep You out.
I needed to escape,
That was my excuse
Time to myself
Time to be free
But instead I bound myself up in larger chains
Confined myself to the darkest dungeon.

But You never left
You were always there
Watching and waiting
Arms open wide
You knew I would return.

I grew weary of my race
Tired of seeking escape
My chains became heavier
As did my heart.

Everywhere I turned,
I saw You.
In the strangest places-
A book, a poem
A movie, a song
You presented Yourself to me.

And each time
My wall began to crack
The locks on my chains began to rust
I felt my heart beat in response to Your love.
Then I realized my mistake
You are my escape
In You I can be free
No more running,
Except straight into Your arms.