Saturday, July 26, 2014

The realities of a Hero's Entrance

Is it really July???  Really?


I'm sure there are people who have been waiting to know what happened to me after my last few posts.

Sorry about that.  How about an update?

Ok, here we go.

In short, God came charging in on a while horse with sword swinging and swept me up with Him.

I was rescued.

Horray!  Dancing and singing!  Hands clapping!  Fireworks!  Smiles and hugs!

And crazy busy!

Wow.  When you read about rescues in stories, it's exciting, then it's over, finished.

But being rescued is a process.  You are suddenly swept up and are running at full speed.  There's confusion and fatigue and relief.

It's a bit crazy.

So after I wrote my last blog, things started moving for me fairly quickly.  In the space of one week I suddenly had 7 different job opportunities presented to me, and interviews and mailing and resume writing and updating.  It was crazy.  I went to two interviews, and I was offered a job at both places.  I was also waiting on word for a High School job that would have had me making more money than I had ever dreamed before.  (Yeah, I don't dream about making lots of money apparently...  I think I would rather just have money than work for it.  Oops, did I just write that?)

There was a lot of lost sleep, and a lot of thinking about my future and trying to figure out where God was directing me.  In the end, I accepted a position as a pre-school teacher about an hour and a half from where I live.

I don't regret it at all.  It's a good school, with the cutest kids.  I have fun smiling and laughing with the kids everyday.  It makes a huge difference in my overall attitude.  My salary is considerably higher than before, so I'm eating better and I'm able to go out a bit more.  The hours are much better, although I have far fewer vacations.

But I still stay busy, (which is the excuse I'm giving for not updating my blog.)

Things are finally settling down, and I'm starting to figure out what I can and cannot do on my new salary.  I still have a while to go before I can consider myself in a financially stable situation, but I feel like things are moving in the right direction.

So that's my update for now.  I will try to keep posting when I can, but I find I spend much less time on the computer now than I did before.  This is probably a good thing though.

Anyway, I would like to thank all those that prayed for me and offered encouraging comments.  I really appreciate it!

Monday, March 03, 2014

Residing in Hope

"Even now," declares the LORD,
"return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning."

Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for He is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and He relents from sending calamity.
Who knows?  He may turn and relent
and leave behind a blessing -
grain offerings and drink offerings 
for the LORD your God.


Let them say, "Spare Your people, LORD.
Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
"Where is their God?"

Then the LORD was jealous for His land 
and took pity on His people.

The LORD replied to them:

"I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil,
enough to satisfy you fully;
never again will I make you 
an object of scorn to the nations."


Surely the LORD has done great things!
Do not be afraid you wild animals,
for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green.
The trees are bearing their fruit;
the fig tree and the vine yield their riches.
Be glad, people of Zion,
rejoice in the LORD your God,
for He has given you the autumn rains
because He is faithful.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before
The threshing floors will be filled with grain; 
the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.
"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten-
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm-
My great army that I sent among you.
You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
Then you will know that I am in Israel,
that I am the LORD your God.
and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.

"And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old me will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out My Spirit in those days."

Joel 2: 12-14, 17b-29

Ok.  That was a long passage, and I'm sure it probably wasn't as powerful and important to you as it was for me.  But this is my blog, and this is a passage that resounded in my heart and motivated me to unhook my computer from various cords so I could move it to put on my lap so I could type up a blog.  As I am usually not so motivated, it is a powerful passage indeed.

Granted, God's Word is always powerful, but there are times when it hits you right when you need it.

And I needed this.  

According to Chapter one, Israel is about to, or has been, attacked by an army of locusts and drought that threatened to devour everything, leaving nothing for the people and wild animals.  Why this army is being sent, what Israel has done or not done are not specifically pointed out.  But there is suffering.  There is hunger.  Probably some panic.

Where I am in my life right now, I can totally relate.  The "army of locusts" had not yet arrived in full force, but the forerunners have been around for a while, eating away at my life, little by little.  Money, time, spirit all slowly eaten away, leaving pain and nausea and hunger behind.  Some of my problems are totally my fault.  Bad decisions, poor management.  But others are out of my control.  That's life.

As much as I look back and try to figure out if I had done things differently, would my life be easier now, I can't actually know.  Until God tells me, I won't know why or for what purpose this time in my life is for.

But in the suffering of His people, God grants us an option: whether we are slaves in the desert, sinners in the city, or victims of nature's armies...  He calls us.  He calls us to Himself.  And He takes pity on us.  Our cries have the power to move the Heart of God into compassion.  The rending of our hearts spurs Him into action on our behalf.  Our tears induce miracles, transforming curses into blessings.

Our suffering gives birth to Hope.

How beautiful.  How encouraging.  

Just what I needed to hear.

I may currently be in a season of heart rending, mourning and tears.  The locusts may be gathering in front of my doors.  I may have more understanding of hunger than I would like.

But it doesn't end here.

There is a season after this.

God, in His goodness, will come and will over turn my curses into abundant blessings.  It is not a question of if, merely when.

And in the meantime, this can be a Holy season, if I allow it.  As long as my heart is before the LORD, He will watch over it, and shape it to His design.

There is much I can't see and understand, but that is not necessary for my Hope.  There are many possible futures before me, ones I can see and others I can't.  Which one will become my reality, I can only guess.  And wait.  Wait for the LORD.

Wait for Him to rescue me, to take away my shame, for it never to return.

I am a daughter of the Most High, and even when I am low, He will never forget me nor forsake me.

It's almost spring.  Just a little more waiting.  Living each day, relying on Hope.

God is Good.

Hope is sustaining me.

It's all going to be ok.

It's a promise.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

When does the Hero come?

It's 3AM.  I should be in bed.  Tomorrow I have five classes packed into a time frame I usually only have four in.  I should be in bed.

But here I am.  Dusting off my computer and updating a blog I haven't had words for in months.

Are you still there?

I am still here.


For a life line.

I find myself reminding myself of how God likes to work.  He likes waiting til the deadline, and then sweeping in with brilliant inspiration.  He likes waiting until the darkest moment before releasing his Glory, lighting up the night like fireworks.  He likes making the Hero's entrance, and saving the damsel in distress at just the last moment.

It's understandable, and thrilling, and romantic... when you are reading about it in other people's lives.

It's hard when it's your own life.

I totally get Israel.  How quick they were to complain.  How easy it was to remember only the good of Egypt when they faced new hardship.  How soon forgotten the miracles God had worked.

I am certainly a daughter of Israel.

I'm waiting right now.

I'm waiting for February to be over and done with.  Every year each February seems worse than the last, and I find myself wondering how much more until I just break and go insane, or just fall apart weeping in my blankets, refusing to come out.


Seems like a curse to me.  One I take up and repeatedly pronounce over my own life, allowing it to harm my body and soul.

Lessons learned are soon forgotten.

I'm waiting to learn what my future will look like.  Three weeks left before the church English school closes.  And only a month and a half before my visa expires.  But less than a month of money.  Costs of moving and other expenses have bled me dry.  Figuring out the best way to stretch 20 bucks a week has become my new creative pastime.

I'm tired.  Oh, so tired.

And when the stress and the tiredness pile up, I feel empty inside.
I want to give up.  I want to cry out, "why?"
I want to know where God is in all of this.

But I'm afraid to know as well.

I see all my dark and ugly sides laughing at me, taking pleasure in my negativity, hoping to drive a wedge between me and God.

But even though my heart is empty, and my soul is tired, and my body is worn...

I haven't completely forgotten.

If I only try a little, the examples flood back to me.

Abraham.  Moses.  God rescues Israel from Egypt.  He parts the Red Sea.  He provides food and water.  He removes walls.  He wins battles.  He gives children to barren women.  Jesus looks with compassion on those who are desperate for Him.

I Know.  Even if I forget, I Know.

Even if my blessings are different than what I wanted.

Even if prayers and desires of years have still yet to be answered.  Even if they never are.

But even in my own life, this is not the first time I have faced being potentially jobless.  This is not the first time my visa status has been uncertain.  This is not the first time I have been waiting for my needs to be met.

And always He meets them.

If I wait long enough, He will rescue me.

So while everyone around me is pushing me with urgings of "hurry, hurry.  do something.  search harder." my heart whispers "be still, and Know.  I AM God."

So I take up the mantel of Rahab, for I know I have prostituted myself before other Gods, trying to keep myself alive by my own power.  Overwhelmed by my debts, I have tried to scrape my way through.  But the army has come, and is camped outside the walls.  There is once last chance.  I can throw myself at the mercy of this great God, who has come to take back His land, or I can perish with the rest of the city.  There is no question for me.  The only hope lies in this God who has defeated Egypt, parted seas and rained bread from the heavens.  This is the only path to life.  So now I wait with the red thread hanging out my window.  As the army marches around the city.  Once.  Twice.  Seven times.  Each day longer than the last.
Waiting.  For the walls to come down.

I can't see the future.  How was Rahab to know she would be raised from prostitute to wife?  How would she know she would be allowed in the lineage of the Savior, the Christ?

But she waited.

And was saved.

Her Lifeline didn't fail her.

And neither shall mine.

I can't see what will happen in three weeks.  Will I get a job?  Will I like my job?  Will I stay in Japan?  Will I return to America?  Will I be blessed financially?  Will I be blessed with time?  Will I be healed of sickness?  Will I be granted companionship?

I can't see.  I can't possibly Know.

But He can.  He does.

And as long as I know, I believe, that the Hero will come I can wait.  Even in dire circumstances, I do not have to become the Damsel in Distress, fearing the Hero will be too late.  No.  I can be the Lady in Waiting, so in love with the Hero, that her faith never waivers.

And those are the things I needed to remember.  The words I needed to hear.

The treasures I can take to my heart, and rest now with a restored spirit.

Wait....  Just a little bit longer.

It will all be alright.

The Hero always comes at the last minute.