Sunday, March 18, 2012

the bittersweet change

Sorry for being MIA for the last month! Too many thoughts overwhelmed my writing. At last, I have found focus and inspiration!

I should give a shout out to my friend Jenni O who inspired this inspiration. She has been faithful to process with me each week during my time in Korea. I am truly thankful for her wisdom and friendship. This morning she read to me a quote from a book I gave her a while back ::: Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. I never finished reading Bittersweet because I gave her my copy of the book when she was leaving for Nigeria. I remember reading this quote, but relating to it in a completely different way than how I do now. You should totally read it (don't just skim it - I'm so guilty of doing that). I really love how Shauna explains the bittersweet of change.
'The idea of bittersweet is changing the way I live, unraveling and re-weaving the way I understand life. Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a moment of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness. 'It's the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands. Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. Bittersweet is courageous, gutsy, audacious, earthy. 'This is what I've come to believe about change: it's good, in the way that childbirth is good, and heartbreak is good, and failure is good. By that I mean that it's incredibly painful, exponentially more so if you fight it, and also that it has the potential to open you up, to open life up, to deliver you right into the palm of God's hand, which is where you wanted to be all long, except that you were too busy pushing and pulling your life into exactly what you thought it should be. 'I've learned the hard way that change is one of God's greatest gifts, and most useful tools. Change can push us, pull us, rebuke and remake us. It can show us who we've become, in the worst ways, and also in the best ways. I've learned that it's not something to run away from, as though we could, and that in many cases, change is a function of God's graciousness, not life's cruelty.'
A life of sweetness was my expectation of Korea. Why did I think I would accept the bitterness so easily or did I even think there would be bitterness? Oh how I have been fighting change with each complaint and negative thought I have. I like that Shauna said that "change has the potential to open you up, to open life up, to deliver you right into the palm of God's hand." That was my experience when I first read this quote for the first time (couple of years ago).....The change taking place in my life took me straight to the palm of God's hand. Why is this go-around of change doing the opposite? Why do I feel so much apathy towards the battlefield in my mind?
I can't stop reading the quote as I write this post. It is crazy how much it speaks to my soul. I want to combine the bitter and the sweet in my life right now....not just see one or the other. For me to find, breakthrough I must ask the Lord to help me to see change as a bittersweet good. "Change is a function of God's graciousness, not life's cruelty." If you read this, would you pray for me? I truly desire to see breakthrough in my life!!
Thankful thought:
This is my first day out of the first trimester! We just got to see the ultrasound of the baby moving in my womb and hear the swoosh of its tiny heart beat. Ahhh! Absolutely amazing experience for Dan and I! God is so cool! After we were done with the appointment, Dan made me laugh when he said, "well.... at least we know you aren't faking it." haha what a punk!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Nehemiah One

::::::In the previous post, I said I would reveal more details going on in our lives. This post isn't exactly what I had in mind. Instead, I am inspired to write down my thoughts about Nehemiah 1. Hopefully next post with be an update of things that have been going on (with pictures!!)::::::

NDE and I are studying Nehemiah independently/together right now. We read some days by ourselves, then discuss or we read together, then discuss. We went through a study on Nehemiah a few years back in our church. NDE has amazed me with all the background knowledge he retained from the study. He has the intellectual mind and I have the analytical mind. Makes for good pair when studying the least I think so! :)

Today I was thinking back to the first chapter on Nehemiah and still blown away by Nehemiah's response to finding out about the damage to Jerusalem and its people people. 

"So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven."

He didn't complain or "see who could fix this problem". He immediately did what he know he could do - PRAY & SEEK GOD in this situation. I see that the Lord did a great work in Nehemiah's heart for him to respond in such passion. I see God had ordained Nehemiah to respond intensely to this situation. I can't help but desire to have that same response. I look up to Nehemiah. He was wealthy man with great political connections and he didn't let things of the world conquer him. He turned to God with intense passion no matter what cost it might be.

Just has Nehemiah did later in his prayer to God, I must humble myself. I confess I am weak in praying passionately, in responding intensely, and always living deeply. I will wait upon you to build this in me. Prayer will give me strength; when I wait on God in prayer, He will renew my strength (Isaiah 40:31). I doubt myself to be able to accomplish any of this Abba Father. Only you can accomplish this with in my heart. :) 

Thankful thought:

We attended a Valentines banquet put on by our new church.There was a great speaker and we were encouraged by his message of passionate love. We spent most of the night laughing and learning new things about each other. Oh and I didn't have to cook dinner (always a plus for me --- the not-so-good-cook!) 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

a lot can change

It has been over 2 weeks since I last wrote....a lot can change in two weeks. When I last wrote, I was realizing living in Korea was hard on me. I needed to cling to the Lord more. Just be faithful to believe in His promises. He has been so completely gracious to me. I mean seriously gracious. My heart has been easily distracted to escape rather than run to His open arms. I am a foolish child. Why do I seem to always come back this problem of not being faithful in the small?? Yet Abba Father has graciously loved on me unconditionally and He is faithful to bring glory to His name. (I'm in tears just even writing this) He has led me to a group of deep, honest women that I can fellowship with each with week (wow what a gift!). My heart is overjoyed to study the word and worship with these women. I know they will become my family during my time in Korea.   

I have become excited about a few other opportunities forming as well. My application just got processed to begin volunteering for Red Cross which will hopefully put me in contact with a lot people I can just love and serve. I found out there is an orphanage in our city and I am just itching to visit it!! Our friend, Ben, is becoming a really dear friend. His family (wife and 3 boys) will hopefully be joining us in Korea soon and I am so ready to dive into a deep friendship with them. I also have a few relationships forming with Korean women at our Realtor's office. Maybe some day soon, we can actually hang out! 

Another big life event that happened in the past two weeks... we grieved a death of a brother in our homegroup back in Texas. Cancer is UGLY. I like how Neva said "For some reason, Nick could not stay with us forever.  I can't stop thinking about all he is seeing right now.  I keep telling him in my mind “told you so!  You knew heaven would blow your mind!” Better things have happened for him.  And those who love Jesus as our Lord and Savior and have surrendered our will to Him will reunite with Nick in God‟s appointed time." My heart now prays daily for Andi, his wife. She is a hero to many as she let everyone (who wanted to) walk beside them in their fight against cancer. I love her.

We also have some other big news, but I will wait until the next post to update you :) 

Here are some pictures of our latest adventure:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I wasn't ready

It's interesting. It's interesting the thoughts I had before moving to a different country. Was I really ready?

"I'm so ready to move and get out of the only place I have ever called home for 20 years."

"Everything is going to be fine. I'm sure it will all fall into place."

"I like talking with people. It won't be hard to make friends."

"Korea sends out more missionaries than any other country. Finding a church will be easy."

I find myself the past few weeks doubting each one of those confident thoughts and thinking "wow, I was really not ready." Some days are very hard.  I now understand why people say it is so important to do missions in teams and to prepare before you go. Why did I not treat this more like a mission rather than just a regular move? My heart and my mind was not ready to move away to a far away new home. But even in realizing this, I believe in God's grace to carry me through this new season.  I read this quote this morning and it gave me so much encouragement:

This new season looms and I don’t know what is next. But He doesn’t need me to be ready for this season because He is ready. He just needs me to be clinging to His feet.
By Katie Davis, Kisses from Katie

I know clinging. The past few years I have become quite acquainted with clinging to His feet, but I even need His grace to help me do this. Everything else I may not be ready for, but one thing is for sure....clinging to His feet is where I want to be, where I NEED to be.

Thankful Thought:

Our household good will be arriving today. I'm thankful more of my time will be busy and that I get to play house for the next week setting everything up :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

exploring new territory

For news years we went exploring with our new friend Ben. He took us to Uijeongbu which is about 30 minutes away. Getting to see a little bit more of Korea was really fun.

Coffee was the first stop on our grand tour
interesting statue... looks like they are getting married

This market is bigger than Pikes Place in Seattle
Kimche..... NDE is def not a fan
SOOO many fresh fruits

absolutely LOVING being together again!!!
very random bear that we found
we had to stop at this cute little glad we did!

Ben and NDE

To end the night we went on top of our apartment building. Ben took this amazing shot of us :)

New Years was really fun this year. We got to do a lot of NEW things. Haven't really thought about any resolutions. I actually haven't even processed all of 2011 yet. Instead of resolutions, I like to look back on the previous year and see how Abba Father moved in my life. I also spend a significant amount of time/days seeking the God's heart for the year to come. (To see what promises, visions, or words of insight the Lord wants to give me.) This next week I hope to figure some of that out...I'm not sure if I post about that, but if you think about it please pray for me to be able to see and receive God's heart for 2012.

Thankful Thought:

For God imparting his sweet presence to be near to NDE and I. We are remaining encouraged. Yesterday, we found a really great series called Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls: Studies in the Book of Revelation by Mike Bickle. It is my first time to actually study Revelation. NDE and I are really looking forward to this series!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

a few more steps

It's amazing what writing can do. For me, I usually always gain more freedom of mind and spirit by writing out my thoughts. Just wanted to share with you all that today feels a bit more normal here in Korea. I think it is partially due to finally starting to journal about my time here. Maybe it is also due to a few more steps I took yesterday. I finally found the motivation to go on base by myself and gets some things done. I needed to get our medical insurance switched over to overseas .... check! I needed to by some groceries for dinner .... check! AND I wanted to get some information about volunteering and employment opportunities..... check!

There was one volunteer possibility that sounded really fun. The director of the youth sports program needs an assistant. I don't know what it would all entail, but I'm definitely going to look into it. The volunteer coordinator said it could turn into a job as well (woohoo). NDE also encouraged me to look into ways we can volunteer in the community next time I go talk to them. We'll see what comes from that :)

Today I am thankful for my incredible THOUGHTFUL husband and my incredibly GOOD coffee. Some of you my know I am quite fond of coffee (what you would call a coffee snob). Well, we didn't have a coffee maker because all of our household goods have not arrived in Korea yet, so I decided I would just fast from coffee until it arrived. NDE decided to take matters into his own hands and bought a coffee maker for $10 from one of his buddies. He surprised me last night with it! And fortunately, my Costa Rican family (the wonderful Delgados) gave me a bag of ground supreme Costa Rican coffee that I could brew this morning. Words can not describe the experience of my first sip of liquid heaven (as my cousin Courtney would say)!! Dramatic, I know. haha!

Take a look at the set up just to make a few cups of coffee:

coffee pot plugged into US outlet into Korean outlet
love my new anthropologie mug!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

first week, the weird transition

A lot of my time this morning was spent trying to figure out how to explain my first week here. The best I could come up with was weird. Don't hear what I'm not saying because it was so amazing to be reunited with NDE and to have the opportunity to live in another country (espcially Korea!)....BUT all of it just felt kinda weird as it all unfolded (and continuing to). Weird to live with my husband after 9 months of separation. Weird to live in another country with which I only know how to say hello and thank you. Weird to live in an apartment 6 stories off the ground. It feels like I'm living in the sky haha. It's incredibly weird to live so close to human trafficking. Only a couple miles down the road some really disgusting stuff is going on. It's also really weird when trying to use any of the appliances in our apartment....all of the instructions are in Korean. (At least there are pictures!!)

I have figured out about myself that I can be a go-with-the-flow girl, but when it comes to big changes my mind goes into process mode. My demeanor is more intense and everything doesn't seem so light and fluffy. Outside encouragement has been a lifesaver for me this past week. I needed to hear "find thankfulness", "don't be afraid or discouraged", "you are being prayed for", "we love you".  Just even writing those out gives me a renewed mind :) Living in a new place is going to be good and exciting. NDE and I are going to make a lot of new friends and cherish a lot of new memories. And I know things may get hard sometimes as well. (So good to trust in a God is in control of all of that!) Family and friends, get ready to read about both the good and the bad for the next 2 years. Maybe in some way this will help you to understand where I am in life and also to get perspective on what moving to another country looks like. I'm looking forward to what will unfold during our time in Korea....good or bad. (give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18.... going to try my best!! Lord please help me!!)

To end each post, I will write something I am thankful for. Today, I am thankful for 3 O'clock snuggle time. NDE has deemed 3 our time to snuggle (which today he just ended up falling asleep haha but hey it's still sweet!)