Monthly Archives: May 2013

Remember Me

As I found myself in a different country every month last year I often questioned God. What good is just one month? How much could I actually do in four weeks? How deep of a relationship can actually be built in less than thirty days? What fruit can I truly see in a month’s time?

Some days I thought about this more than others. Being completely honest, during the hard months where no fruit was evident I questioned God’s purpose a lot.

But for the past month I’ve found myself with a completely different outlook on this.

It took me coming back to the same place where I spent a month to truly realize the impact that can be made in such a short time.

When I was in the Philippines last November I got to spend a lot of time with the local teenagers. We played basketball together. We did bible studies/awana together. We hung out on the college campus together.

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And one night I was even a part of a retreat with them. They had multiple bible studies and seminars packed into one night.

Imagine trying to keep the attention of a group of teenagers late into the night…it’s not an easy thing. So to break up the monotony of the seminars Leah and I were asked to find a way to engage the students and energize them during a break.

We created the perfect workout routine and allowed the students to participate. We did push ups and the superman and declarations and star jumps. We acted goofy and silly and were completely ok with it.

I went to bed that night laughing at our ridiculousness but expecting it to soon become a distant memory.

But that all changed a few weeks ago when I came back to the Philippines and was remembered by these same students as the girl who made them do star jumps.

At first it made me laugh because of the way I was remembered. Since then I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I was only here for three weeks and yet these students remember me.

They don’t remember me because I preached the best sermon they have ever heard. They don’t remember me because I shared a bible verse with them that changed their lives. They don’t remember me because I told them all about jesus.

They remember me because of my sheer ridiculousness.

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But they remember me!

They knew who I was because when I was with them I cared about them. I joked with them. I played with them. I wasn’t afraid to act silly with them. I was myself with them.

I’ve been battling with writing this for days. When I read it back to myself it sounds like I am bragging to the world that I am memorable. It sounds like I want people to recognize that I was important to the group of people I hung out with. It sounds like I am trying to boost my ego for others to see.

And for all of those reasons I didn’t want to write this. Because I never want you to see me in my writing. I never want to glorify myself or put myself on a pedestal. I want you to see jesus in everything I write.

But I wrote it for the pure fact that I have the privilege to tell you about just how important your relationships are.

Those relationships where you are in someone’s life for a week, or a month or maybe even a year are so much more important than you realize.

People are noticing you. You are influencing people. You are making an impact.

It may be with the person waiting in line at the grocery store.
It may be the person you go out to dinner with.
It may be your child who watches your every move.
It may be the driver beside you at the stop light.
It may be the person you invest in from your small group.
It may be the person you sleep beside every night.
Or it may be someone who overhears one of your conversations.

But wherever it is and whoever it is you, are leaving meaningful impacts.

I know because I’ve witnessed it firsthand.
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It is vital for us to participate in the lives of others. To encourage those around us. To build each other up. To inves
t.

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Clay

I’ve become intrigued with clay lately
Well maybe not with clay per say
I haven’t gone as far as to using a shovel to dig up the ground around me to find clay
But I’ve definitely become intrigued with the thought of clay

If you think about it, clay is a pretty cool thing
If something goes wrong as an artist begins to mold clay into a bowl
They can just throw the clay back together and start over
The clay doesn’t go to waste and have to be thrown away because a mistake is made
The artist simply takes what they started with and begins again
Until the final result is something beautiful and they are well pleased
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Hello, welcome to my life
Where time and time again, day after day
God has to take me off of the molding wheel and throw me back down
He has to start completely over and shape my heart to look like his heart

Imagine how disappointed an artist must feel when their work of art turns out to be a mess
They throw the clay down to redo everything they spent so much time on
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Multiply that feeling times a bazillion and I’m sure that’s how God feels
It can’t be an easy job for him
I’m sure some days he feels like he is starting back at ground zero
Especially on those days where he has to take it back down to the basics for me

If I stop thinking about it right there I walk away discouraged
But instead I remind myself of just why the thought of clay intrigued me to begin with

“And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay and you are our potter. And we are the work of your hand.”- Isaiah 64:8

God is my potter
He is the one who sits at the wheel
He is the one molding me
He is the one shaping me
And when it’s time to start over on things he is the one to do it
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On those days when I really mess things up
He is the one to turn it into beauty
He is the one who doesn’t let me go to waste
But instead puts me back on the wheel and continues molding me

“Then I went down to the potter’s house and there he was making something at the wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he has hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. Then the Lord gave me this message: ‘Can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.”- Jeremiah 18:3-6

Praise God that when I mess up he doesn’t quit on me
He just continues holding me in his hand
Molding and shaping
Working out all the kinks
Making a beautiful creation
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Are you letting him mold you into a beautiful creation? 

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Time for Class

A main focus of ours right now in Malaybaylay is to learn how to speak Cebuano. By the end of every tutor session my brain is ready to explode. I pack my things up and walk out of the cafe not wanting to say another word for the rest of the day. I don’t want to have to think anymore.

Some days I leave discouraged or annoyed that it’s such a long process. It feels like it’s going to take years before I can just sit and have a normal conversation in Cebuano. 

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But Saturday night it all fell together for me. 

I got to spend the day in Cagayan and then walk around the town at night. I got to see what life is like in the middle of the city on a weekend. I got to experience the nightlife activities. 

But most importantly I got to see why I’m studying the language so intently right now.

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I met a little boy. I can’t tell you his name. I can’t tell you how old he is. I can’t tell you where he lives or who he lives with. 

All I know about him is he pretended to be a lion as we played together. The only words exchanged between us were roar. And maybe a few grunts thrown in there every now and then. 

I couldn’t figure anything out about him because I don’t speak Cebuano and he doesn’t speak English. And for me that was super frustrating. I wanted to know him. I wanted to be his friend. I wanted to do more than act like a lion with him. 

Saturday night that wasn’t possible. And next Saturday night that probably still won’t be possible. 

But as I waved goodbye and walked away I knew that every time I walk into the cafe for tutoring lessons that little boy will be in my mind and it’s going to make me work just a little harder to learn the language. And rest a little easier knowing the importance of what I’m doing in the right here and right now. 

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Rocky Road

When you think of roads and sidewalks I’m sure you think about pavement and cement. However, here although the roads are paved the side of the road is dirt with rocks scattered everywhere. With a person as clumsy as me it gets tricky trying to run without falling. Don’t laugh….I’ve kept my balance…so far.

Thankfully running on this terrain has served a small purpose as it has helped me understand one of jesus’ parables a little better.

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“He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. The seed on rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.”- Matthew 13:3,5-6,20-21

Some days these little rocks make me angry. I have to spend my time looking down trying to avoid the rocks and miss out on the beautiful scenery around me. The rocks are taking my attention away from the sky, the mountains, the greenery.

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One day it was enough to make me quit. I had enough of my ankle collapsing from stepping on the rocks. I was tired of the rocks jabbing my foot. My toe hurt from kicking rocks so hard. So I quit. I was done. I wanted nothing else to do with running.

When I left the house that morning I assumed the run would be enjoyable. But the more rocks I kicked the quicker I became angry and quit. I didn’t last long. The rocks became my problem and I let them win.

Just like these pesky little rocks we have problems that arise in our lives every day. Some days the problems might seem small. Some days the problems might seem like you can’t take any more. Some days you might be fighting for your marriage. Some days you may just want to let your kid go to school without shoes to keep from fighting the small battles. Whatever the problems are, they are there.

And the little problems become huge problems when our roots are on the surface drying up. When instead of being strong and deep they are cut off by the rocks of this world.

Praise Jesus twenty-four hours later it was a new morning and I was able to put the past day behind me and start fresh. I was able to go back to the rocky path without being deterred or becoming so angry.

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But what about those people who don’t wake up the next morning feeling like it’s a chance to start fresh. They are still beaten down by the day before. They don’t feel like fighting the same battle over again. So they quit. And never try fighting again.

Those people need me. Those people need you. They need for us to pick the rocks up off their path and throw them out of the way. They need for us to encourage them along the way as they let the roots grow down deep.

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What rocks do you need to help others throw out of their path?

What rocks do you need to throw out of your own life to let your roots grow deep?

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