Monday, August 30, 2010

roots and wings

"a bird may love a fish, sire, but where would they live?"

I have been pondering this for the last several days. As I left to travel to Cambodia this time around, my heart was a bit torn. I am so excited about what the future holds for me. I deeply love Cambodia and her people. I love the work that I do here, even when it is incredibly difficult and exhausting. I love life here. I love the activity. I love riding on the back of motorbikes and bartering in the market. I love my friends here. I love seeing God move here.
But, I also realized that I love Indiana summer--the smell of cornfields and the sound of quiet. I love my family and my friends. I love cuddles with my nieces and nephews. I love baking in the kind of kitchen I am used to. I love cool morning runs.
So, it was hard to say good-bye to those things for who knows how long, even though I knew I loved what I was going to be receiving on the other side of things. I am finding that choosing to live my life with God tends to be like this...remembering my roots but embracing my wings.

"then I shall have to make you wings..."

*and props to anyone who can name that movie*

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

are you mad at me?

He's not mad at you...
He's not disappointed...
His grace is greater still...
than all of your wrong choices

These are some of the lyrics to a song by Pocket Full of Rocks, and they have been running over my mind quite a lot lately.

Based on all of my "Christian understanding," of course I know that God is not mad at me. Of course He isn't disappointed. And, of course, His grace both covers me and empowers me to be better. That's the right answer, isn't it?

But, knowing all of that doesn't mean that I still don't marvel at the thought of Him not being mad at me and disappointed in me for all of the awful decisions I make, the evil thoughts that I think, and the good things I simply don't do. He has every right and reason to be disappointed in me. He has 24 years of ammunition against me, and I add to it every day. Yet, somehow God looks past all of that and sees something else in me. I certainly don't deserve that.

Most people live with a subtle dread that one day they will be discovered for who they really are and the world will be appalled...we come into the world with a longing to be known and a deep-seated fear that we aren't what we should be. ~ The Sacred Romance

I have often read those words and marveled at how true they resonate with me. Don't we all wish that someone really understood us? That someone really could relate to us and understand how we think and feel? But then, doesn't it terrify us that someone will actually get a glimpse of what goes on in our minds and be absolutely horrified? I know that I am not what I should be, and I would wager that many other people would acknowledge this about themselves as well. However, it is one thing to acknowledge this about yourself, but it is an entirely different ball game when someone else realizes you for what you really are and knows that you are not what you should be. And, isn't that the exact position God is in? He knows exactly what we're thinking, how we're feeling. He knows our faults. He knows our successes. He knows our inner beauties and our deepest ugliness. Yet, somehow He comes out on the other side and isn't angry or disappointed, and I am left questioning,

"Are You sure You're not mad at me? Not even disappointed?"

And, often, before I even give Him a chance to answer, I think,

"Because I am. I am disappointed in myself. I am angry at myself for the stupid things I do."

Meanwhile, I think God is shaking His head (not His fist) and marveling at the forgetfulness of humanity. And, like Jesus said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing," He says it all over again to me. He says, "Look from where I have brought you, dear child." And then, as He said so many years ago,

"It is finished."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

so...what's on your list?

In preparing for the next phase of my life and heading back to Cambodia, I have been asked several times if Cambodia is where I feel "called." The short answer to that is yes...for now. I do feel called to be in Cambodia for this season of my life. There is actually nowhere else I would rather be right now. I LOVE the nation, the people, and the work that I do. And yes, it is incredibly exhausting and draining and hard, and I really have no idea what I am doing. But, thankfully, God has it all under control; He just needs some hands and feet on the ground to get things done, and I am happy to oblige. However, I do not anticipate being in Cambodia for the rest of my life. There are so many things for which God has burdened my heart. There are so many things that I want to do and to see and to change, so many people with whom I want to share my Jesus. So, I thought I would list a few of the things on my "before I get to Heaven list."

1. Run a marathon.
2. See Victoria Falls.
3. Take culinary classes.
4. Write a book.
5. See a Broadway show in New York City
6. Live in Africa.
7. Have my own motorbike.
8. Live in a house with a HUGE kitchen...with a double oven! (Not convinced this one will ever happen, but this is my dream list so I can put whatever I want!)
9. Visit 6 of the 7 continents. Antarctica doesn't interest me. (I only have one more to go! Anyone want to buy me a ticket to South America?)
10. What is be on Jeopardy!?

So, what are some things on your lists? And, I would really love to hear from anyone that reads this blog. I keep hearing about people who say they follow my blog, but I have yet to receive any feedback from you!!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Sometimes I find that I need a good dose of reality, a good reminder of just how blessed I am. And, that reality is that I was born into privilege. Simply because of the color of my skin and the country of my passport, I have more than the vast majority of the world. I don't know what true hunger feels like. I don't know what it is like to not have my basic needs met, to not have a roof over my head at night. Sure, there are plenty of things that at different times I have been sure that I needed. But, I don't really need much. I have what I need. So, just in case you are like me and occasionally need to be reminded about the blessings you have in life.

Almost half the world, nearly 3 billion people, live on less than $2.50 a day.

At least 80 percent of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.

The poorest 40 percent of the world's population makes up less than 5 percent of world income. The richest 20 percent of the world's population makes up 75 percent of world income.

24,000 children die every day from poverty.

Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century without being able to read a book or write their own names.

Less than one percent of what the world spent on weapons every year was needed to put every child into school by the year didn't happen.

For every $1 in aid that developing countries receive, $25 is spent on debt repayment.

In 1998, $8 billion was spent on cosmetics in the United States while an extra $6 billion would allow for basic education to be available in all developing countries.

If you find this list interesting and would like to read more, check out this site.

"Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [ I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]." Philippians 4:11-13