Epiphany

Yesterday I had a really nice day.

It started poorly.  Eating out in Beirut is a gamble, as we don’treally know who washes veggies/fruit and with what.  I was sick, and it was a weekend.  I was also alone, as one of my two friends here at AUB was going home, and my fiance, who I want to see every minute, was thousands of miles away.  The two of us finally chose our honeymoon destination (with a groupon of course.. you know me, even lasik eye surgery happened via groupon) and I just longed to be home helping with wedding stuff.

side note: In case anyone is thinking “uh yea! what are you doing in the country next to Syria while Matt plans the wedding?!”  … hakuna matata..we both know what we were getting into. It’s bee  really clear to me that this place is right where God wants me this summer.  There’s been so many reasons already and we’re not 1/2 way through the 8 weeks yet (that ‘not 1/2way part’ was hard to type).  Coming here under any other terms or dreams would have been foolish and I would be on the next flight home.  Again, one student already left.

So the day started badly with sickness.  I have been praying often for thankfulness.  I need it, badly.  Yesterday, God just really answered these petitions. 

By the afternoon, I was totally overwhelmed by his goodness towards me, like never before.  Sunday morning, I had a great time at church and we prayed (everything is in arabic) for all of the domestic workers (almost like slaves, mostly african and south asian) in Lebanon — people who are on my heart already.  Then we grabbed lunch and as i walked home, I saw this florist shop near AUB.  In it was the owner, a very old man who used to act in Egyptian movies (and some Lebanese or American ones). 

I went in, having seen him in a documentary…and we talked, in Arabic, for almost an hr!  Both of us were smiling from ear to ear and unable to stop being happy at each other’s company and I want to just visit constantly. We talked about everything from how far he used to swim, to the heat wave in the US to him being in a movie with Charlie Chaplin’s daughter to our religion…all in Arabic.  Was I happy when I left, on cloud 110?  YES.  Did he give me chocolate to take with me and tell me to please visit him soon? YES.

So i got increasingly happy as I walked.  And when i got to my dorm I decided to worship Jesus alone on my bed with music from youtube.  So i listened to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G71NZ1h9xi8&feature=related this i think.  And God’s spirit spoke clearly to me, which doesn’t happen daily…

“you’re so excited for your honeymoon and for seeing Matt’s face again.  But someday, you will see my face.  And you will love me as you’ve wanted to love me, but more—and you will be in heaven with me — which is (get this, friends!) all inclusive.”

All the food and drinks are included.  A place in a mansion is being prepared.  All the pain-free, dying-free, tear-free times in the bright as the sun presence of our God…it’s all free, forever.  Cause of Jesus!  He made it all free!  There’s a river there, streets of gold — but honestly, that’s not the best part.  Our lover is there.  The one who is more wonderful than Matt.  The one who has loved me since before I was born and has watched me and cared for me my whole life — who never sins or disappoints or messes up but always loves and gives more and more — he will be there.  Forever. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Still excited for our groupon getaway to the Caribbean.  And every day I am more thankful to have Mattt and more in love — But now I’m finally more excited for heaven — which is what I’ve prayed for. It’s hard to be unthankful in these few years on earth when we have a clear idea of what he’s done and where he is taking us someday.  Bring your kingdom here, God!  We want more of you and need more of you here.  We love you.

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More on Trotter, from Wikipedia

In 1876, when Trotter was 23, she traveled with her mother to Venice. Quoting a letter from famous art critic John Ruskin:

“When I was at Venice in 1876—it is about the only thing that makes me now content in having gone there—two English ladies, mother and daughter, were staying at the same hotel, the “Europa.” One day the mother sent me a pretty little note asking if I would look at the young lady’s drawings.

On my somewhat sulky permission, a few were sent, in which I saw there was extremely right-minded and careful work, almost totally without knowledge. I sent back a request that the young lady might be allowed to come out sketching with me. She seemed to learn everything the instant she was shown it, and ever so much more than she was taught.”

Ruskin did not believe that ladies could paint before he met Trotter. He changed his mind after he met her, and believed that if she would give her life to painting she could become the greatest painter of the nineteenth century. Ruskin believed that if she would devote herself to art “she would be the greatest living painter and do things that would be immortal.” He was unhappy that she was spending so much time on the streets of London, helping with the YWCA when he thought she ought to be painting.

Trotter, however, decided to give up her career in art in order to serve God. She always remained a good friend of Ruskin’s though, and they wrote many letters when she was in Algeria.

About this decision Trotter wrote many years later:

“Never has it been so easy to live in half a dozen good harmless worlds at once—art, music, social science, games, motoring, the following of some profession, and so on. And between them we run the risk of drifting about, the “good” hiding the “best.”

It is easy to find out whether our lives are focused, and if so, where the focus lies. Where do our thoughts settle when consciousness comes back in the morning? Where do they swing back when the pressure is off during the day? Dare to have it out with God. . . and ask Him to show you whether or not all is focused on Christ and His glory.”

 

Act or Process?

is it an act, or a gradual process, this “putting off the old man”?  It is both.  It  is a resolve taken once for all, but carried out in detail day by day.  From the first hour that the layer of separation begins to form in the leaf-stalk, the leaf’s fate is sealed:  there is never a moment’s reversal of the decision.  Each day that follows is a steady carrying out of the plant purpose: “this old leaf shall die, and the new leaf shall live.”  So with your soul.  Come to the decision once for all: “Every known sin shall go–if there is a deliverance to be had, I will have it.”  Put the Cross of Christ, in its mysterious delivering power, irrevocably between you and sinning, and hold on there.  That is your part, and you must do it.”

“The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God.  In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 6:10-11 (1)

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From Ms. Lilias Trotter

Have faith, like the flowers, to let the old things go. Earn His beatitude, His “Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me” – “the beatitude of the trusting,” as it has well been called – even if you have to earn it like John the Baptist in an hour of desolation. You have told Him that you want Him only. Are you ready to ratify the words when His emptying begins to come? Is God enough? Is it still “My God” that you cry, even as Jesus cried when nothing else was left Him?

..

Shall we not ask God to convict us, as to where lies the hindrance to this self-emptying? It is not alone mere selfishness, in its ordinary sense, that prevents it; long after this has been cleansed away by the Precious Blood there may remain, unrecognised, the self-life in more subtle forms. It may co-exist with much that looks like sacrifice; there may be much of usefulness and of outward self-denial, and yet below the surface may remain a clinging to our own judgment, a confidence in our own resources, an unconscious taking of our own way, even in God’s service. And these things hold down, hold in our souls, and frustrate the Spirit in His working. The latent self-life needs to be brought down into the place of death before His breath can carry us hither and thither as the wind wafts the seeds. Are we ready for this last surrender?

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Where I’ve been

Uhm, I’ve not blogged in a long, long time.

Got a boyfriend around Valentine’s Day.  We were engaged less than a month later.

The whole thing has been wonderful, but surreal.  I know when you get asked “You’re engaged!  What’s it LIKE!?” the answer shouldn’t be “weird!” But it has been!  and WONDERFUL.  I’m marrying my friend, who happens to be the most wonderful man on earth.  And I get to plan a wedding and wear an awesome dress!  I didn’t even think about that til we were engaged.  And that involved a limo and mountains!  I can’t believe any of this!

 

A more full update is forthcoming.  It involves me moving to the Middle East for the summer before i get married.  But for now, hold on to your hats, check facebook for photos and pray for my parents!

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People are often unreasonable

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
― Mother Teresa

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God has plans

God is not just a big God who is good

or a God who is always with us, no matter what storms come our way

but He is a God with plans–for every single day.  Not just “I’m with you, I’ll be there” but “I planned this, I already know, and I plan good things, always..”

 

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  —  Psalm 139:16.

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To get you through another day

It’s Wednesday of a 4-day work week, and my first day in the office in two weeks.  Here’s how I plan to get through the day:

Romans 12:11 says:

11Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord.”

 Then, Colossians 3:23-25″

23Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men,

    24Knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [real] reward. [The One Whom] you are actually serving [is] the Lord Christ (the Messiah).

 

It is Jesus who I get to serve today at my job!  🙂 Yee. THAT truth makes it all ok.

 

This morning I awoke at 4:30 am

Could be for any number of reasons I suppose

But if I tell myself it’s because I’m sick, or hungry or something else

Then I’ll try hard to fall back asleep

And instead, lie awake

Then eventually roll out of bed at 6:30

As my friend Peach has said, there is a difference between sleep and lying in bed, eyes closed.

 

So today I got up–not right away, but sooner than I might have

To ask Him why He woke me up so early

As the Good Book says, “The Lord gives to his beloved sleep”

I reminded Him of this

But it appears He also gives to his beloved sweet verses in the Scriptures that can get us through the day better than sleep can

And that is more than ok by me

Though if He wants to let me doze off again while praying

That is more than ok too

I’m my beloved’s and He’s mine

Best place to be

 

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