<![CDATA[Do What You Love! - What I love!]]>Tue, 08 Mar 2016 01:08:25 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Is God Good?]]>Sun, 21 Feb 2016 23:01:15 GMThttp://doingwhatilove.weebly.com/what-i-love/is-god-goodI love when I can hear the birds chirp as I sit here with my Bible and begin my time with the Lord. Somehow sitting out here in the midst of His raw creation--the earth, the grass, the plants, the flowers, the birds--puts me in my place as I approach the Creator. Father, thank you. Thank you for all that you have created and thank you for reminding me that You are Creator and I am Your child.

I turn to the gospel of John. Mostly because it is my favorite gospel. And I am met with this: Jesus has always been. It is through him that God created everything (John 1:1-3). Not only has he always existed he also came to that which he created, embodied in human flesh, making his home among us. God came in the fleshly form of Jesus Christ and dwelt among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness and revealed to us the glory of the Father's one and only Son (John 1:14).

This reminded me of a conversation I very recently had with God.

I struggle daily with the truth and promise that God is completely good and completely trustworthy in His goodness. As I wrestled with this, bringing it to the Lord, begging Him to help me trust, our dialogue went something like this:

Me: God, you allow painful circumstances, in fact, it is most often through them that Your glory and transformative work takes place! The possibility of having anything terrible and tragic happen to either of my girls is just beyond anything I could ever handle. So, here I am unable and unwilling to fully entrust them into your hands.

Fully entrusting them to you means that I surrender my fear of and my trusting in myself to protect them from the worst and most traumatic experiences like rape, torture, a painful death... It means leaving them in your hands and that makes me feel like you will allow these painful circumstances.

So... I CAN'T.

If leaving them in your hands means that these terrible and tragic things would likely happen, then I CAN'T...

...Please give me the courage to be able to.


God: But look back on your life and tell me when have I not been faithful? When have I not been good? Each time you turn to me and choose to obey, I have responded faithfully and showered you with goodness!

Your biggest fear when you were just a little girl was that you would love and marry someone who would leave and desert you. Someone who would cheat on you and then abandon you. But look whom I have blessed you with.

You came to me as a little girl, most nights, and prayerfully asked for a faithful, and truly loving husband who would remain faithful and loving to you always.

Have I not answered that request? Have I not showered you with goodness in this area you have obediently entrusted to me?

Me: Yes. I know.

BUT you ALLOW bad things! You allow pain and suffering. You allow rape and you allow beheadings, and you allow parents to bury their own children!

I mean, you stood there and watched while YOUR ONE AND ONLY SON was spat on, whipped, humiliated, tortured, nailed to a cross, and died a slow and painful death! YOU WERE THERE AND YOU ALLOWED IT, you watched it happen!!! That was YOUR OWN son!

So how can I possibly trust you with my two little girls???

God: But, Rea...

I allowed that so that you AND your girls and the rest of my children may have Life!

I watched my son, my one and only son, beaten, tortured, and hung on a cross to die, so that YOU may have eternal life with ME.  

I AM GOOD.  

And, my dear child, my goodness IS completely trustworthy.
This dialogue brought me to Matthew 11:28-30, "Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." What a heavy burden it is to constantly worry about the well-being of my children, to constantly avoid "possible" situations that might lead to accidents and tragedy. To constantly be on the look-out for those so that I can ensure that we stay away from them. I know God doesn't want me to be irresponsible and lazy in the way I raise my girls, of course, I should still raise them well and protect them from harm. BUT their ultimate well-being is not in my hands. They are first and foremost, God's children entrusted to my care while on this earth. He and only He can truly protect them from harm. And in that I can completely rest and embrace peace.
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<![CDATA[Day 10: Life-Changing Gratitude]]>Mon, 30 Nov 2015 00:01:17 GMThttp://doingwhatilove.weebly.com/what-i-love/day-10-life-changing-gratitudeWriting about how thankful I am for my kids, or my husband, or even just the things I like, comes naturally. I can be grateful for the things that bring me pleasure. That's easy. But to find a ray of sunshine when a storm threatens to break through the sky, that's the hard part.

I like this quote from Ann Voskamp:
Life-changing gratitude does not fasten to a life unless nailed through with one very specific nail at a time.
Yes. Life-changing gratitude, one that permeates and radiates through all we say and do. This happens through the hard work of seeing the good when we feel overwhelmed with the bad. Sometimes the bad comes in small, miniature, almost irrelevant pieces, and sometimes we don't even notice how all those small pieces have stacked together into an enormous mountain looming over us.

But what if we took each of those miniature moments and turned them into a little piece of gratitude?

What if?
So, to end this 10 Days of Gratitude challenge I wanted to make a list of some of things I do not like and turn each of them into something to be grateful for:
  1. A mound of dirty dishes: Thankful for the mouths that are fed and the food that feeds us.
  2. Discovering toddler doodles on the wall: Grateful for creative expressions.
  3. Sick kids: Thankful for bodies that are healthy enough to fight off sickness.
  4. Finding the towel on the floor: Glad that my kids are developing the habit of washing their hands.
  5. Piles of laundry: Thankful for clothes that keep us warm and healthy.
  6. Unmade bed: Grateful for the rest and sleep we enjoy each day.
  7. Toys strewn all over the house: Thankful for these non-necessities that my kids get to enjoy.
  8. Bath water soaking the bathroom mats: Glad that we have running water for things like baths.
  9. Holes in my kid's jeans or pants: Thankful that my kids are enjoying a childhood where they get to play hard.
  10. Trimming little fingernails: Grateful for this season of my life, where I have the privilege of closely mothering and taking care of my kids.
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<![CDATA[Day 9: The One My Heart Loves]]>Sat, 21 Nov 2015 16:00:16 GMThttp://doingwhatilove.weebly.com/what-i-love/day-9-the-one-my-heart-lovesMy sociology professor once told me that his one advice that he gives to couples who are engaged to be married, is to make sure they experience at least one zero-sum conflict before they say, "I do." I was dating my husband at the time and I remember excitedly announcing this fascinating counsel to him. I was elated because we weren't even engaged yet and already we had experienced a number of zero-sum conflicts, AND we were still together.

Today I am so thankful for, as King Solomon put it:
"the one my heart loves" (Song of Solomon 3:4)
My marriage to the man whom my heart loves has certainly not been a fairy-tale one, it hasn't been free from heartache and plain old frustration at one another. In fact, over the few years we have been married we have come across a couple of key "irreconcilable differences." And I mean, irreconcilable. That is, irreconcilable through strictly human efforts.

This is precisely what my sociology professor was talking about when he said zero-sum conflicts. In short, we have had to work through situations where whatever is gained by one side is lost by the other. Conflicts where the solution requires one of us to relinquish our deeply held preferences, and sometimes values and beliefs, to the other. One where there is no compromise. We have to choose either his "way," or mine. Experiencing these types of conflicts and still choosing to be together and actively loving one another. This requires a dying-to-self sort of love. A love that can only be given because it has been received from the One who is Love itself. I so wish this receiving and giving came naturally for me, or even that I could do it with grace and compassion. But I am glad that the man I married often models that for me.

I don't like that he wakes up before the sun has even risen, but I do appreciate that he makes that effort to spend time each day praying, meditating on, and studying God's Word. I am grateful that his commitment to following Jesus makes him a gracious and compassionate leader for our family. His love for God that often results in an unwavering obedience to His commands, makes him a leader I can easily trust, even if it means a loss for me in our zero-sum conflicts. Because in the end, his desire for us, for me, for him, and for our girls, is congruent with God's desires for us.

In the photo below we were actually having a heated discussion due to a conflict. Somehow going through those frustrating moments and coming out of it still choosing to love one another makes our marriage that much richer. My husband, I am thankful for you--who you are, and who God is molding you into. You are the one my heart loves.
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<![CDATA[Day 8: Refuge]]>Thu, 19 Nov 2015 19:35:35 GMThttp://doingwhatilove.weebly.com/what-i-love/day-8-a-place-of-refugeI fill up and get refreshed from investing some time, daily, in solitude. Today, I am grateful for the time and the space that I get to have just me and my Savior. A place of refuge. My sanctuary.

May we each find the time and space each day to be filled up by Him so that our words and actions might resemble that of Jesus and thus bring glory to God.
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<![CDATA[Day 7: Being Welcomed]]>Tue, 17 Nov 2015 16:16:29 GMThttp://doingwhatilove.weebly.com/what-i-love/day-7-being-welcomedThree years and three months ago we took a big giant step of faith and transplanted our family to a completely foreign place. It was uncomfortable and exciting, it was heartbreaking and hopeful, and it was emotionally overwhelming, both in bad and good ways.

In this new place we were welcomed with open arms. The warmth that was extended to my family by those who had gone before us in uprooting and moving their families to a new place is still vivid to me. Our flight was delayed and we ended up landing past midnight. We were picked up at the airport by a kind-hearted man whose servant-heart shone through even in those first few minutes of meeting him. The refrigerator in our apartment had been stocked with food and our place tidied and bed readied for our arrival. This had been done by a lady whom we had only previously met and communicated with by e-mail. Nevertheless, her thoughtfulness and willingness to serve made an impression on me. Over the next few weeks we were hosted and fed and welcomed.

I am grateful that I can look back to those hard days, weeks, and months of transition and remember this: the kindness and compassion shown us by several people who warmly welcomed us to this new place we now call home. May we always extend kindness and hospitality to the foreigner in our midst.
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<![CDATA[Day 6: My Girls]]>Tue, 17 Nov 2015 00:01:01 GMThttp://doingwhatilove.weebly.com/what-i-love/day-6-my-girlsEven before I got pregnant my husband and I already both wanted a girl. So when we found out we were having a little miss we were thrilled! When I got pregnant with our second one we were both more on the neutral side, although I think in my heart I wanted a boy.

We were blessed with our second girl. Now that we are dorm parents to several boys I catch glimpses of what it would be like to have my own boy. Different set of challenges but still a joy.

Although I do wish and hope for a boy of our own someday, today I am grateful for my girls. I am grateful for the screams, for the twirling in princess dresses, for the baby dolls, for the pure delight in painted little toe nails.
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<![CDATA[5: Fellowship]]>Sun, 15 Nov 2015 01:59:43 GMThttp://doingwhatilove.weebly.com/what-i-love/5-fellowshipToday I spent the bulk of my afternoon being vulnerable. My husband and I recently started meeting with a dear couple whom we love so much. We get together for the purpose of mutual growth and to encourage and challenge one other as we deepen our commitment to following Jesus. This means being vulnerable with each another. It means we confess our sins and seek forgiveness. It means we listen with humility as we ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom. It means we bravely face our confusion and doubts and entrust them to God. It means praying for each other in accordance to His will. And what a gift this is.

Juliet and Servin, thank you for being vulnerable with us. Your journey and your steadfast faith is a joy and an encouragement to us!
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<![CDATA[Day 4: Teachers]]>Fri, 13 Nov 2015 18:35:42 GMThttp://doingwhatilove.weebly.com/what-i-love/day-4-teachersMy 6 year-old had been excitedly awaiting their kindergarten excursion out of town. Everyday she would come home and fill me in on the "latest news" regarding their upcoming field trip. Through her daily rapid-fire reporting I would catch glimpses of the hard, loving work that her teachers pour out to her and her peers everyday. I would listen with awe, as gratitude and admiration towards the adults that daily guide and shape my daughter fills me.

Today is that long-awaited field trip day and my firstborn was literally bouncing off to school this morning, unable to contain the excitement. My heart was thankful that I could rest assured that she would be well taken care of and loved today, on that kindergarten excursion with her dedicated teachers.
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<![CDATA[Day 3: Abiding, Dwelling, and Remaining]]>Thu, 12 Nov 2015 15:53:19 GMThttp://doingwhatilove.weebly.com/what-i-love/day-3-abiding-dwelling-and-remainingJesus said,
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is like a branch that is tossed out and shrivels up... Your abundant growth and your faithfulness as My followers will bring glory to the Father." (John 15:5-6,8)
Almighty God, out of His perfect love and mercy, clothed himself in humble, human flesh, stooping down to reach our shriveling selves that we might be drafted onto the Vine, and have eternal life. So that our life can be a living testament for all eternity of His kindness and grace that is freely given to us.

We are drafted onto the Vine as we abide in Him. As we dwell in His presence. And as we remain in Him through faithful obedience as we live out our day. Each day.
Now this is His command: that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commands remains in Him, and He in them. And the way we know that He remains in us is from the Spirit He has given us. (1 John 3:23-24, bold emphasis mine)
Today, I wrap my arms around this truth, holding it close.
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<![CDATA[Day 2: This Friendship]]>Wed, 11 Nov 2015 18:02:10 GMThttp://doingwhatilove.weebly.com/what-i-love/day-3-this-friendshipToday I am celebrating the birthday of a dear friend.

A few years ago my husband and I, and our then 2 year old, moved to a continent that neither of us had ever been to. We both grew up overseas and had been seasoned travelers. But now, here we were, in completely new territory. I am not a big fan of goodbyes and neither am I a fan of the small talk that is often necessary in making new friends. We made friends. But none that I saw consistently or got together with regularly, or simply just did life with. So. Well into our second year in this new place I found myself praying for that friend. I even told God I would lay down and give up my preferences and prerequisites to having that type of close friendship.

And I did.

Not too long after that, I met this dear friend. I could never have anticipated that our friendship would be where it is now, which confirms all the more, that she truly is a gift from God--a literal answer to my prayer! We are opposites in so many ways but God has used that to challenge and grow me and shed light in the places of my life that need lit, in order that He might be reflected more clearly.

Happy birthday Jennifer! Thank you for your hospitality and your generosity. Thank you for your genuine openness to being redeemed, transformed, and shaped by Him who is the Creator of all things good! Thank you for doing life with me. It is a privilege to be able to celebrate the day that God brought you into this world!
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