Monday, September 9, 2013

Pray For Us

Pray for us that we would have strength and courage.  We who go out into the world every single day to work and to go to school, we need you to pray for us.  We can’t do this alone.  Pray that the strength would be the right kind – the kind that comes from the joy of the Lord.  Pray for us that we would have courage because our God is with us.  Pray that the strength wouldn’t be replaced by brute determination and the courage wouldn’t be overtaken by angry cynicism.  You who are older and stronger, pray for us who are young.  Pray when the days become weeks and the weeks become months, the months spent among those who don’t love our God.  Pray when the day by day of this breaks us down.  Pray when what we have believed and confessed seems to retreat to head knowledge.  Pray when we need God so badly and seem so far from Him.  Pray when the sin we see becomes normal and acceptable.  Pray when the cynicism that we don’t want grows up in us, until it tells us the Sunday services that we so need and want are just a joke, that the people at church are deluded.  Pray when the jokes at work become funny. Pray when the language we hear becomes the expected, even fitting response to situations.  You elders, we see what you do for the church, how you stay out late at meetings instead of being home with your family, how you deal with hurting people and hard situations, and we thank you and pray for you.  Fathers and mothers, we see how you raise your children and how that can be hard and we thank you.  But please pray for us too.  You who stay at home with your children or work in a Christian workplace, pray for us who go out into the world every day.  You who are older, who have grown up in a Christian country and deplore the way the world is going now, pray for us who have grown up in this.  You to whom the current state of things is shocking and horrifying, pray for us for whom this is normal.  Pray, because what you see as new developments in human depravity, we see as normal.  This is the world we were born and raised in.  It is hard for us to believe in beauty and good and love because outside of the church, outside of our homes, we don’t see it.  It becomes easier to believe our people are deluded than that good actually exists, when we go out into the world every day.  Pray for us at this time, when we feel so close to slipping away from our faith and the light of the gospel.  We need you so badly, we need the church, we need the gospel.  Don’t try to become “relevant” or “current”.  We need the traditions and the old songs and the straight truth.  We need the ties to our past and to others who have followed Christ before us so that we may walk in this way.  Pray for us when grace and mercy seem irrelevant, when the way to get through life is by creating a shell around ourselves, glaring at any who may come to interfere. Pray when we cease to love those around us and shut others out to keep safe.  Pray when trust is hard because the women we are surrounded by talk behind each other’s backs and the men talk about women as objects and not people.  Pray when the day to day of going to work is easy – the people are friendly and the work is pleasant enough, but the weeks and months turn into a weight.  When it is hard to believe the sincerity of anyone who truly loves God, and yet we want so to love Him that much, to be in close communion with Him, what are we to do?  Pray for us courage and strength, love and joy and peace and light and good. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Going Public

Yes, I am opening this blog up to anyone again.  It is a little scary.  However, since my posts have been sporadic, I think I have lost any followers I had.  This way maybe people will see it.  Anyway this is just an announcement post. :)

Love and Life Ramblings

I am slowly beginning to figure out that some things can't be quantified, defined, predicted, or evaluated.  They must be felt.  These are things like love, faith, joy.  Things you can't make happen, they come from God.  I am a very mathematical person.  I like to have everything run according to rules.  In my "ideal" world, each person's characteristics could be listed.  Then, the bad traits could be subtracted from the good, and what was left would be the person's overall personality or worth.  When choosing friends, or especially when choosing a life partner, one could simply look at the person's list, at their good and bad points, and then decide who is the best choice.  Then, love would be determined by how much each person put into and got out of the relationship.  Joy would be gotten by doing certain things... for example, if I cleaned cheerfully, and helped someone else with their work, and got all my school done, I'd feel happy, and I could spend the evening reading a book without feeling guilty.  Life would be neat and tidy.  If I needed to find out how something would turn out, I'd find a formula, like this: y = 3x2 + 2x + 5 and I would graph it, and then I would know what to do, what to say, who to talk to. 

HOWEVER.  Before going on I must define what I meant by "ideal".  This is not what I want. This is what I, by nature, aim for.  This is what direction I take when my subconscious takes over.  The "real" me, ie my conscious, is more sensible. :)  My mind tries to categorize, whereas my heart already knows.  My heart knows what love is, what joy is, while my mind is trying to define these so that it will know what they are and if they ought to be.  My mind does not understand why families love each other.  It doesn't seem to make sense.  Seriously why would this group of people of different ages and ideas care about each other? Is it because they share DNA?  Is it because they always have known each other and lived with each other, so they are used to each other?  But then I realize that no, it is none of these things.  They love each other because that is the way God made them.  God made people to love each other, families to bond and care.  He made us with emotions and feelings, and my mind has to accept that it will never know why.  My heart whispers, "Don't worry about why. Don't ask questions.  Just accept.  You love these people.  That just is." 

Yes this post leaves a lot of questions.  It doesn't have a point or a moral or a conclusion.  That is because I am still probing, still looking, still learning.  My heart still surprises me.  My mind still worries and evaluates and schemes.  My heart surprises me when I am holding a baby and my heart is content and happy.  My mind says, "Look at what you will have to give up if you have children someday.  Look how hard it will be."  My heart says "Sshhh.  It will be worth it. Just believe." 

I am not saying "Follow your heart."  But do listen to it.  Sometimes it needs to be scolded or even disciplined.  It is sinful and depraved.  However it is human and it has human feelings.  The mind does not really have human feelings.  It can become mechanical, legalistic, and uncaring.  If you want to be a compassionate person, allow your feelings to exist and let your mind and heart feel love and joy, and plan and think and evaluate the world.  Do not let your members war against each other, but let them be one person.  God made you.  Trust Him that He knew what He was doing.

Now don't think I am a horrible person, a sort of subhuman monster, a computer in a girl's body.  I'm sure I could develop into that if I tried.  But God has renewed me.  He is making me new.  He is teaching me lessons.  He is bringing me into this beautiful, messy, painful world and showing me that I can give up my control and just trust.  Just accept that God is, that love is, that people are broken and messed up and worth loving.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dream Big

These words describe my goal for this year.  I did not start off this year with many resolutions or a "Word of the Year".  Instead of coming up with a goal, the goal found me. 
         dream BIG

I have heard it from several different people... a friend who joined the army wrote a letter to our Bible study group - he said, "Dream big.  God can do big things through you.  You have to have a dream."  He recommended we listen to this song:

 
 
And my other friend, who is off in university, told me, "Don't be afraid to dream big.  God can to more than you think." 
 
It's true.  Look at Amy Carmichael, who went to India with a desire to spread the gospel and ended up founding a community that rescued children from temples.  Look at George Muller, who rented a house to make a home for a few orphans - eventually he had several large buildings, and helped thousands of children.  God can take your little dream and grow it beyond what you can imagine.  He is "able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think." (Ephesians 3) 
Here's another song I think of when I think of dreaming big:
 

 
So this year, I am dreaming big.  I am refusing to be held back by fear; fear of failing, fear of my life not working out, fear of what people will think.  I am daring to think that if God wants me to go to the Philippines, He will get me there in His time.  I am daring to dream that He can use even me to make someone's life better.  I am daring to dream that my passion will be for Him, and when I wander, He will bring me back, and that because of Him, my life has a purpose.  And I will dream.  I won't give up.
 
(Note:  I do not in general listen to Christian rap.  and I do not condone country music, though I must say I enjoy it.  However, the Lecrae song was recommended by a friend, and the Eli Young Band song is one I heard many times while I was working in the restaurant.  Both are ones that have sort of shaped this "Dream Big" goal of mine.  So don't you worry about me degenerating. :P) 
 
 
 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Words on a Wednesday Afternoon

The other night I heard someone reading a text on the radio. It said, "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." John 10:11. Then I knew that if He laid down His life for His sheep, there is no way He will ever let one of them go. If one of the sheep strays, He will search him or her out until he or she is found, just like in the parable in Luke 15, when the one sheep strayed and the shepherd left the ninety-nine to search it out. Romans 8:38-39 says, "For I am persuaded that neither life nor death, angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor life nor death, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." There is great comfort in this.
You should listen to this song. There is so much simple joy and praise in it. :)
Justine

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Well now.

Because Hi is too boring a title.
~I burnt my finger at work tonight. I wanted to know if the stove was still hot. It was.
~Consolation for that: I saw a beer ad that said, "It's okay to have a blonde moment."
~Someone should start a radio station in this area that plays some of my favourites, such as Stuart Townend, Keith and Kristyn Getty, Jamie Soles, Casting Crowns, etc. Then they should get a good strong transmittor so I can get it in a back kitchen sandwiched between two buildings.
~Today I chatted with my friend who lives seven hours away via facebook. I miss having her ten minutes away, but I'm glad I could chat with her.
~Tonight I worked with a girl who I'd never worked with before. She is taller than me!!! Okay, so I'm not that tall, but most of my coworkers are shorter than me. She's also a lot of fun. So, after working alone two nights this week, it was great working with her.
~These last few days it hasn't been humid. I am enjoying it.
~My sister is reading "The Help". When she is done I get to read it. I read the first few pages, but I better not keep reading because she won't be very happy.

Okay I'm done with point form. :) So we had a sermon on Sunday about friendship, particularily the friendship between David and Jonathan. Now in such a deep friendship, people share the deep things in their lives. My question: how much is right to share? Should we fill our best friend in about all the little details? When we are sharing what is bothering us, what is the line between appropriate sharing and complaining? How do you find a friend who you can open up to like that? Now here's another topic for questions. To what point ought we to express ourselves? Where is the line between being too self-centred/whiny and not bottling it all in? Where is the line between being strong/good/cheerful/caring and showing others the weakness and troubles in our lives? At what point can I stop trying to be a strong big sister and helpful daughter and actually speak of my weakness and messed-up-ness? Ok I better stop before I say too much. lol
On a lighter note, we were reading about the creation of Adam and Eve the other day. Mom asked Nadia what God took from Adam to create Eve, and Nadia said, "His ribbons." When Emily was about that age, she said, "He took a piece out of him."

Justine