Posted in Book Review, Gratefulness, Life

Spiritual birthday

Eleven years ago I began a relationship with Jesus. Besides relationships with my family it’s far surpassed the time I’ve invested in any other relationship. It’s also been far more rewarding and satisfying than any friendship, kinship, or romance I’ve ever had. I’ve been in a relationship with Jesus for almost half of my life. I’ve learned about love and forgiveness and grace and discipline. He’s taught me (still teaching me) how to speak and interact with people and when to be silent. He reminds me that I’m loved and worthy of love by giving me rainbows and butterflies and sunsets even when it feels like no one in this world notices me. I’m blessed to say I’m a daughter, friend, and follower of God. I’m excited to see where God will lead me and what he’ll teach me in the coming years, and even more I’m excited to see him in heaven.

Read my spiritual story here.

Posted in Book Challenge

Love You Forever

As I predicted, I have gotten behind on the book post challenge, but as I mentioned at the start, please show me some grace. I was out of town this weekend for a conference which didn’t leave me much time to make blog posts. Rather than trying to play catch up, I’m going to make my own rules and simply continue with the next day as if I didn’t miss any days.

Book Challenge

The fifth challenge is to post about a book that makes me happy. This one is stumping me because I’m having trouble coming up with a book. There are plenty of stories that I enjoy, but I don’t think they make me happy because they usually involve some sort of sad point. For that reason, I think I will turn to a children’s book, and I think I will choose one that makes me smile to think about. It’s not necessarily the story itself that makes me happy but the memories associated with the book.

Love You Forever

Robert Munsch (Illustrated by Sheila McGraw)

LoveYouForever

This book follows the life of a mother and her son. It repeats the refrain, “I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” It’s not a particularly profound book except that it expresses how a mother will always love her children no matter how old they grow.

It makes me happy because it reminds me of my mother. She read this book to us several times, and I know that she lives this kind of love for me and my brothers.

To my mom (because I know you’ll read this):

I’ll love you forever.

I’ll like you for always.

As long as I love, my mom you’ll be.

Posted in Bible Study, Life

Falling in Love

A friend just posted on Facebook the following status:

“We should love not fall in love because everything that falls gets broken. “- we heart it.

Does this appeal to only my logic???

At first I thought yes, that makes sense, but then I realized that was the past hurt speaking. It’s true that during my life I have been hurt by people who say they love me. That hurt is hard to forget. The emphasis, though, is that people did the hurting. People are fully capable of hurting other people, and the truth is that I am a person who both loves and hurts. Does this mean that we should give up on loving people or falling in love? No.

I think “falling in love” is a beautiful concept because it offers a romance and euphoria. Maybe, though, it’d be better to say choosing to love and be loved. Loving is a choice just as much as it’s a choice to let love in. Let’s not abandon love all together because of a broken or bruised heart; instead let’s love more, always remembering the perfect love of Jesus as our example. Show the world how beautiful love can be when Christ is at the heart. Give love a better name.

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

We do not have to fear love because God has a perfect love that will always catch us when human love fails. Trust your heart to Jesus and freely give and receive true love from the people in this world.

Posted in Bible Study

The Other Side of Luke 19

About a month ago, I made a post about Zacchaeus. Here’s the other side of the story.

Jesus had a habit of hanging out with the people others despised. Some, even his own disciples, thougth this behavior strange. Thankfully their criticism didn’t stop Jesus. In Luke 19, Jesus approached a man who had a permanent home on most people’s block list. This “wee little man” was a tax collector, but even worse he stole money from people. Jesus saw something good in him though that others didn’t see.

While it makes a cool story that Jesus called out to a man who had done some very public wrongs, there’s more to the story. Jesus said that he came to “seek and to save those like him who are lost.” (Luke 19:10). No one liked Zacchaeus so it fit Jesus’s character to reach out to him. What makes Jesus even more awesome is that Jesus does that for anyone. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, whether public or in secret. Jesus doesn’t care if you’re short, have purple hair, or dress in jeans and a t-shirt every day. Jesus wants to know you whether you live in the United States, India, or even Antarctica. Jesus desires to show perfect love and kindness to you. Zacchaeus was called and he chose to come down. Will you come down from your tree to meet with Jesus?

Christians, you’re not exempt from this story. We have a lesson to learn as well. Jesus chose to spend time with Zacchaeus. The people around him thought he was crazy to hang out with this notorious sinner, but Jesus ignored their comments. How often do we avoid loving or even talking to certain types of people because of their actions or reputations? That’s not how Jesus would treat them. We, myself included, need to put aside our petty biases and show love to everyone. That’s our lesson to learn from Zac’s encounter with Jesus.

Posted in Bible Study

Seeking Acceptance

Do you ever feel ostracized, wondering if anyone cares about you? Do you wonder if anyone could ever love you for who you are? Do you seek that love from multiple sources only to be disappointed?

I like to think that we’ve all been there at some point. Whether it’s a significant other, money, a job, or family, we seek that acceptance and love from something or someone, because we don’t feel like we’re getting it from the source we think it should be coming from. We take matters into our own hands.

Maybe that’s what the Woman at the Well was doing. She’d been rejected by the majority simply because she was a Samaritan. To top that off, she’d been rejected because of her life choices. She’d had five husbands and was living with a man who wasn’t her husband. She felt ostracized and wondered how it could be possible that someone could care about her. She sought love from all of these other men and I imagine she’d found disappointment.

Then she came to the well on that special day. Jesus was there, but she didn’t know who he was. She only knew he was a Jew who should not be talking to her, much less wanting water from her. Still he persisted and then he told her some far-fetched metaphor about not being thirsty again. Yet something made her stick around and listen a bit longer. I like to think it was that desire that maybe someone would give her the time of day. Then Jesus did something crazy: he told her about her life. How could a stranger know this?

After discovering who Jesus was, she was filled with joy. Not only did someone finally accept her despite her flaws, Jesus the Messiah did that. Coming to the fountain, she felt abandoned and wondered if she’d ever experience real love, the kind of love that accepts faults. Leaving the fountain, she knew that Someone gave her that love and that He would never disappoint.

Can we reach that point of joy? I believe so. While Jesus may not meet us at a fountain at noon and tell us about our past, he does come to each of us in our hearts. For me in this past season of my life, it’s been through the Psalms. Jesus met me there and taught me how to worship and who to worship. He taught me to stop pursuing other relationships and to pursue him with more fervor than ever before. Now, I may not have listened immediately or consistently and still sometimes I don’t, but I know that Jesus is the only one who will ever love me without disappointing me. For that I am thankful.

 

Posted in Life

Vulnerable Love

“The best gift you can ever give or receive is to be vulnerable.” -host on KLove.

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” Moulin Rouge (and probably someone else).

 

I think these quotes are essentially saying the same thing. To be loved and to show love is to be vulnerable.

Being vulnerable means to tear down those walls and allow someone else to see the joys and the struggles in the same place. Some people hide behind their sadness while others mask their sadness with joy. To be vulnerable is to let both be seen. That’s hard. Part of letting that inner self be seen is that there is the chance of rejection. That’s why it’s easier to let people just get peeks into your heart, but is that truly love? Shouldn’t it be that you let people see the whole of you? I’m not saying this can be done with every person you meet but it can especially be done with those people that you trust.

So these quotes line up perfectly even though they come from very different sources. It’s scary to take down that wall and let someone see the inner self and be vulnerable to attack, but it’s what will give happiness. Most importantly though is to let God see that inner self. What’s amazing about God is that he has promised that he won’t attack you, that he has your best intentions in mind. He is someone to with your vulnerable self. Maybe that’s a place to start.

Posted in Literature, London

Love some books.

One of the first things I did when I started volunteering at the shop here in London was to sort through the massive amounts of books and now that I’ve been here for 6 weeks, I’m still sorting through books.  There is a really sad problem in the world today: people don’t read.  Or maybe they read but they don’t read paper books anymore.  (To explain, I am an owner of a Kindle, but I still like to read physical copies as well.)

This problem of the world has left little shops like the one where I volunteer with an over-abundance of books.

So this leads me to making a list of why physical copies of books should be cherished (note that I’m not saying they’re better, let’s just not get rid of them):

1. They smell good.

2. It’s just nice to physically turn a page.

3. Conversation starter: ex) person sitting next to you on the train sees your book cover “Oh my! I love that book.  Have you gotten to …[insert part of book that you probably haven’t read yet so they’ve just ruined the plot for you].”  Who knows? You might meet the love of your life in that conversation [now you don’t mind so much that they ruined the plot of your book right?]

4. They look pretty on shelves.

5. You can write notes in them.

6. You can loan them to people…for free and with no hassle.

7. Dog-eared pages…it shows love.  [I know this is a debate among book lovers, but c’mon guys, it’s just a corner.  I don’t like those people who fold over the entire page though.  I myself have a system for how I dog-ear so that I know why I dog-eared which I can explain if you’re really interested.]

8. Great place to hide money.

9. Pressing flowers.

10. They make you look smart.  When someone comes over to visit, be sure to pull out your copies of War and Peace or Les Miserables or some other equivalently long book so you can impress your guest with your impressive reading habits.  [Now once they leave, be sure to actually give the book a chance.  I must admit here that I have not read either book mentioned.]

11. They give you a reason to use all those free bookmarks people give you.

12. You can color your favorite passages and put smiles in the margins so that future readers know the best parts.

13. What else are you going to put on those bookshelves?

14. Hide a note in a book, give it someone, and wait for them to be super surprised.  And you’ll know they actually read the book you gave them. [This could also be a way of meeting that special someone, if you wanna be really discrete…and possibly wait a while. Yeah probably not the best method.]

15. We chopped down the trees for a reason.  We might as well enjoy the by-product.

I’m sure there are many more reasons to enjoy books.  Maybe you wanna share a few?  Anyway, please go to your local used book shop or charity shop and pick up some cheap books.  Used books tend to smell better and sometimes you find really cool notes in them [that note from a special someone?].

Happy reading!