Monday, May 30, 2011

Continued musings

What a week... or two. When so much time passes between my posts I forget what I have done. This is about the time when I would look back in my journal, that is if I actually kept one. But I don't, so you will have to rely solely upon my ability to recall all that I have done. Hey now, it's not that scary of a prospect! ;)

My Spanish classes have continued marvelously. I really feel like my students are starting to learn! We aren't progressing as rapidly as I hoped to in the beginning, but I think that, realistically, we are moving at a good pace. This Wednesday will be my first adult class. Again, it isn't as big as I had first hoped that it might be, but I know that God has it all in His hands; I did as much as I could, and the results must be left up to Him!
I don't have an "official" job other than teaching Spanish. I have done some odd jobs and have made myself available for babysitting as well. Though some have questioned my decisions up till now I can only say that I believe that I am where God has placed me. It's enough... sometimes it's hard to trust and be patient, but it's enough.

I made a trip out to the college last week with Emily. I managed to accomplish quite a bit in one morning I think! I registered as a student (got the nifty little "student ID" number) and took my placement test. I placed quite well in English, but not so well in Math. It's to be expected; Math has never been my strong suit. Anyway, I still need to sign up for classes, but I really have done all that I can until I decide how I am going to pay for the semester. Money is usually the issue, isn't it? I am praying and watching for the answer.
Honestly, I still am not sure what it is that God has for me. I want to attend school, yet a huge part of my heart was left in Mexico and that part of me (sometimes it feels like all of me) would like nothing more than to return there (... or maybe France. I have always wanted to go to Europe ;) ). Whatever I end up doing, I know that the choices I make in this next year are probably going to shape the rest of my life. It's a rather intimidating thought, but I know that I serve a faithful Master, and an expert Potter whose plans I can trust.

Well, the time has come. All of my friends (alright, not all but most of my friends) are graduating this week. Just this last Sunday I went to the graduation of a friend who I have know since we were... my goodness... like 6? So much time has passed in between, but it was rather nice to be able to see her finish school and take the next big step in her life. I was just reflecting the other day how strange it is that everyone grows up. I know it's a part of life and all, but it's so hard to understand how the little baby of what seems like merely yesterday could be the spunky ten-year-old who just ran by. How is it that the same roles that my friends and I used to fill could now be filled by the younger generation... and when did I become part of an older generation??!! But, the strangeness of it all aside, I really am excited to watch all of my friends take big steps forward, and even more excited to see some of them who are truly chasing after God with all their heart!

Oh, on a cheerful note, I have a new laptop! I am actually at this very moment typing this very post on its very keyboard. Is that cool or what?! It's a refurbished Compaq HP. So far I really like it... we'll see whether I still do after a couple of months, but I have high hopes ;) ! So, now that I do have the laptop I am going to upload pictures... next time I get on. For now I'll just end by posting a short poem that I wrote last Summer. I have kept it in my Bible for the longest time, but I think that it's time that it saw light. If it sounds familiar and you have a facebook account, you probably read it there ;).
All of us grow weary, and all of us complain.
We grow offended in the face of unfair accusation
And we are jealous of those who, through dishonesty, seem to gain.
In waiting we grow impatient, and in difficulty we are burdened with stress.
We flee so quickly from persecution and are even less willing to suffer physical pain.
Is this right? Have we not been called to something more?
For we haven’t suffered affliction and bodily torment as did Isaiah;
Nor have we been rejected by country and kinsmen as was the prophet Jeremiah.
We have not been wrongly accused and killed mercilessly by those we most love, but Jesus was.
Brethren, we have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in our striving against sin.
Perhaps it’s time that we did.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In You is full joy

Alright. Now it comes time for me to write about what I have been doing... and I can't remember anything!! Isn't that always the case?! Well, I have been doing things, though in retrospect I don't think that I have been doing as much as it feels like I have... hmmmm.

Well, a little bit ago now I went out to the college to audition for the Umpqua Singers Music Scholarship. I did not get accepted, but the man for whom I was auditioning said that he liked my voice, I just needed more practice sight-reading. Not a big surprise, since I am not very good at it. He recommended that I participate in the Chamber Choir out at the college this year and then apply again next year. I am interested, but we'll see if that's in God's plans for me! It was a good experience even if nothing came of it ;).

One of the responsibilities I have taken up in my new family (not replacing the old one, mind you :^) just in case any of my family back home is reading this) is a Summer garden. Of course, it isn't Summer yet, but I guess that the name refers more to the season in which you reap the harvest, not when you actually plant the seeds. I have planted squash and tomatoes and peas and bell peppers and parsley and some other potted plants that were given to me and I really have no idea what they are... yet! I guess that I will find out when they start giving fruit! I enjoy being able to work outside and having the garden gives me something that I can enjoy and reap the benefits of.

As Spring advances I am constantly amazed by all of the green that surrounds me! Just as I think that nothing could possibly be any more colorful than it is, something new comes up. I have been supremely blessed by the location of my home. We live halfway up a hill (well, it's a bigish hill/smallish mountain, I don't know what it's technical term is) on the other side of which is a river. It's pleasant to be able to take a short walk over the hill and down to the water where you can just sit and listen and pray and be still. When I stand up on top I can look out in all directions. I can see people walking below, cars driving by, cattle grazing, the river rushing, the birds flying by at my eye level... it's rather nice in a weird way knowing that you could yell at the top of your lungs and nobody would hear. God is good!
This time of year there are wildflowers everywhere. Perhaps when I get my computer set up (should be tomorrow, Lord willing) I will post some pictures so that you guys can picture the view with me.

Emily and I have begun taking regular classes and the YMCA. We have tried a couple, but I think that we have both decided that we like Zumba best. It's a great way to meet new people, be a witness and get a good workout all in one! I know that I must be making a fool of myself what with my feable attempts to keep up with the instructor and follow all of the moves... I have found that I can control my arms fairly well and my feet moderately well, but when I put them both together it becomes... awkward ;) But I am getting better!

Since I have been here in the US I have had the priviledge of of being able to participate in a girls' Bible study that meets on Monday nights (I think that I mentioned this before). It's been great getting to know all of the girls and seeing God work in and through us. We meet in a different person's house each week and this week it was our (Emily's and mine) turn to host the study. Emily was leading and I was providing snacks. This week the book we are going through was focusing on the final week of Jesus' life. It's interesting to note that, while the gospel do give us a good picture of the three years of Jesus' ministry, more than a third of the gospels are centered on Jesus' last week before His death and resurrection. Must have been important, no? There's far more emphasis placed on this than on the 40 days He spent with His disciples and followers after His resurrection. One of the events that the book focused on was Jesus' washing of His disciples feet. I have always loved this story, but Phillip Yancey (Author of "The Jesus I Never Knew") brought it even more clearly into light.
Did you know that footwashing is something that, according to Jewish law, a master could not force a Jewish slave to do? It was one of the most disgraceful and lowly jobs there was. No wonder Peter exclaims, "Lord, do you wash my feet?!" when Jesus comes to him. Jesus humbles Himself in this action, saying to his disciples, "The servant is not greater than the master; therefore, if you see me doing this, do the same for one another."
Last night we had the opportunity to wash one another's feet. It was neat to remember Jesus' sacrifice and, just for a moment, to stop and meditate on what it cost Him... and how willing He was to pay that price.

John 13:12-17
After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them. (New Living Translation)

Be blessed; serve God in what you know to be right. Commit your ways to Him and He will guide your steps. Be strong, friends!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A little trust goes a long way

Assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.

This word has come to mean so much to me. It's the shortest and best summary of everything that God has been teaching me over the past couple of months, maybe over my entire life. The lesson has been a hard one in learning. Sure, I believe that God is sovereign. I believe that God's Word is truth. I know that He will give me strength when I'm weak. But He still asks me again, "Do you trust Me?"

When I take away your support and remove from you all that you hold dear, do you trust Me?
When I place you in a situation where all you can do is sit still and wait, do you trust Me?
When everything that you thought was to be your future crumbles down, do you trust Me?
When your heart aches and you cry out to me and hear nothing in response, do you trust Me?
When you reach the end of what you are able to bear and fall down under your burden, do you trust Me?

I haven't yet learned to answer all of these questions. I know what my answers should be. I can quote you scripture after scripture in support of what I "know" to be true. But can I answer these questions in deed? I don't know. Life has changed drastically for me. At times my heart longs so for life as it was that I feel I could burst. God asks me again, "Do you trust Me?"
Do I? Lord, help me! I must!
I surrender my rights.
I surrender my dreams.
Break my heart for what breaks Yours.
Teach me to see with Your eyes.
I trust You.
You, who loved me enough to die for me.
You, who loves me enough to live in me.
You, who promises that I will never walk this life alone.
I trust You.

"Do you trust Me?"