Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Poured Out

Just this morning I was blessed to hear from two VIAs who came back from Albania. While they were there, their time was split between homeschooling two children full time and a brimming weekend of ministries through youth services and children’s Bible school. It could not have been a more beautiful transition into what I read in Called: Following a Future Filled with the Possible later on.
I opened the devotional book and stared at the page entitled: Called: From ‘How Much Do I Give?’ to ‘How Much Do I Keep?’. That is fitting, I thought. It went on to speak of the story of Mary- Mary who listened to Jesus instead of helping her sister in the kitchen, Mary whose brother was raised from the dead, Mary who poured a bottle of perfume that cost her a year’s wages over Jesus’ feet. Since I have always been more of a Martha type of a person, I have tried to pay attention in my life to the stories of Mary. This story stands out to me, not only because of the expense of the perfume that she poured on Jesus’ feet, but also because of all of the social norms and rules she broke in order to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It was not easy for her to come into where the men were eating, where her sister was serving the meal. She interrupted the talk, dropped to her knees and poured the perfume on His feet. She did not stop there; she dried His feet with her hair, leaving the fragrance to float through the air and permeate the noses of everyone in the room. If her act of interruption was not enough to get their attention, the attacking smell to follow surely would have been!

I am not saying that it is good to constantly break social norms; oftentimes they are there for a very good reason! But in those moments when I hear my Savior calling me to break out of my seat to go up to a stranger and ask them if I can pray for them, or to step out of my shift to help someone who is struggling to juggle all of the tables in their zone across the restaurant, I pray that I will heed His voice. I pray that I will pass on from solely being a Martha to being a Mary. Just as the VIAs spoke of this morning, we are called to serve, but to also go beyond that to obey. I pray that I will dote on my Savior just as “He lavishes His love on us and calls us His children” (1 John 3:1, NIV). Marys do not require a special profession; Marys require a special frame of mind and heart. Will you join me in being a Mary today?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


As I was doing my devotions this morning, praying for God to provide for others and for myself, He had me read once again some verses that He keeps bringing me back to. You see, today I was searching in Matthew for the section on storing up your treasures in Heaven as one of the themes for my MK kiddos may be “treasure boxes”. Right below this section, some blue highlighting caught my eye.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:25-27, NIV)

This time it is not just the text that has stood out to me, or the fact that I have just been listening to the song of some of those very birds two minutes ago while walking the trash down to the curb, but rather something that I have written in the margin of my Bible right next to this text. “Summer 2013,” it reads. I smile with the memory that comes trickling into my brain with those words.

At the beginning of last summer, I agreed to an unpaid internship with Shepherd’s Door part of the Portland Rescue Mission, for more Social Work experience. I was nervous when I took the position, as I knew that this 40 hour a week internship would not allow me much time to find a job and pay for my expenses and future year of college. God kept bringing this passage to mind, however, letting me know that He knew my needs even before I did. Guess what happened? First, Shepherd’s Door offered me a place to live with the internship allowing me to have all of my food and lodging covered. Then, partway through the summer, they offered me a part-time job to help with some of our other living expenses. That summer, God brought me not only a wonderful Social Work experience, time with family, and some additions to my family in Christ, but He also allowed me to have some money for College the next year! Currently, I still have around $5,000 to raise. How is this year any different? How can I worry? We serve a Good God! Jehovah Yirah is His name! 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


It is a bright red felt heart floating in a crystal glass. This was the memento that was given me on my surprise Quinceañera (15th  birthday party) by Vivian Rodriguez, the speaker of the night and the mother of my classmate. With this glass, she told me that this night marks the moment when I would be moving into the adult world. Many guys would come into my life, offering me many promises, but I would need to guard my heart until Christ told me to give it away.
In the seven years since that night, my heart has been broken many times. Don’t worry; this is not a depressing story or a country song, just wait for the redemption at the end! No, these broken hearts were not over my male heart throbs, though I did shed some of those tears as well, but rather in regards to countries, people.  
You see, when Doña Vivian spoke of guarding my heart, she spoke of guarding it from guys or impure thoughts or actions that would not glorify God, she did not speak of the fact that you leave a little part of your heart in every place that you live, with every person that you love. As I write this, my heart lies in four continents. God has blessed me with friends, with the ability to study abroad, with the ability to serve in churches. With the joy of every smile at meeting someone new comes the tears of having to say goodbye.
I was pondering this while sitting on the porch of my sister’s apartment in Honduras. I was asking God why once again my heart had to break, why once again I had to realize what it was like to desire to live in Barcelona, Honduras, Indiana, Oregon, Washington, Iowa, and Uganda all at the same time. Why I could not be there for every event in my best friend’s life.
He gave me an answer! As it started to rain-shine (when God lets drops fall out of a beautifully sunny sky), He reminded me of a piece of artwork that I saw in the Shepherd’s Door when working there last summer. No, it was not a painting; they were two vases filled with broken pieces of plates.  I thought that they were beautiful, but I often wondered why they were there. Then one day, I overheard my supervisor speaking to some of the new ladies that were entering the program. She mentioned that they were on the mantel as Ebenezers. Yes, the ladies were broken just like the plates, but God could redeem that and transform it into something beautiful. Those plates had a purpose!
Yes, I am a cracked crystal glass around a broken felt heart, but God can redeem me and transform me into who He wants me to be. God reminds me of the beautiful memories and friendships that I have in each of the places that I have lived. I would not change it for the world, and neither would He. He is going to use my brokenness. He is going to use my tears. He is going to use my experiences. He is going to use those relationships. Praise our Father because He is a God who does not waste; He redeems!

Romans 15:13