"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." -Galatians 2:20

Saturday, May 21, 2011

An Identity and an Itinerary

One of my professors once said “until we realize that our identity is completely in Christ, we seek to define ourselves in outward expressions.” It is an amazing, maybe completely unexplainable, thing to describe what it means to say that my identity is in Christ. Over the past couple of months I have done a lot of study in this idea of identity and what that means for me, practically speaking. In one aspect, it is a complete obedience and surrender; realizing that you are giving up the control of your life, or the control that you think you have anyway. It is also a willingness to trust; to trust in His plan for your life, and to trust that He will provide for every single day of that plan.

A lot of people have been asking recently why I cut my hair…and no, I didn’t cut it to prove anything necessarily. But what struck me when I was thinking about cutting my hair was simply that, if I say that the gospel has changed my life, what kind of sad gospel am I offering these women whom I anticipate meeting in Amsterdam if all I have to say for who I am in Christ is hidden behind a facade of hypocrisy; where I may not be seeking self-worth through sex, but through the superficial image I see in magazines that I so badly want to resemble. Who am I? …In a way, my physical appearance had become how I sought to define myself.

So I cut my hair. I figured, what the heck, right? But when I looked in the mirror for the first time after getting it cut, I realized there was no hiding …I felt exposed. Although cutting my hair initially did not really mean anything to me, God has used it to show me sort of a symbol or reminder of what my identity rests in. My hair and looks do not define me, my identity is found in Christ alone, who gives me confidence in the beauty of the transformation He has done in my life.

To His people, God sent the message through the prophet Zechariah that He would "refine them like silver and test them like gold" (13:9). This is painful process sometimes that involves feeling utterly exposed, but this is what He promises: "They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are my people,' and they will say, 'The LORD is our God.'"

Although I recently found out that I don’t have the job that I lined up for the month that I am here in California, I don’t know how I am going to start payments for my school bill for the Fall semester in July, and I don’t have enough funds in to buy a roundtrip ticket to Amsterdam… I took a step out in faith yesterday, and bought a 1-way plane ticket to Amsterdam! I have my itinerary all set and ready to go, I leave at 11am on June 17th :)

For those of you who are wondering, I still need about $2,000 to cover the cost of this internship. And to those of you who have given, THANK YOU…to those who are praying for me, THANK YOU SO MUCH. I appreciate all of your support so much! For everyone who still thinks I’m crazy…you’re right. But I leave you with the reminder that “if we are faithless, He will remain faithful” (2 Tim 2:13).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Easter Entanglements

April 25th 2011
As I could have foretold, the last few weeks here at Moody for the semester involve something of a constant caffeine high due to the lack of sleep and necessity of staying awake to finish homework and go to class and work on a daily basis.  To put it in a word, “grueling” might fit.  What is interesting though is the fact that I see clearly that God has continually reminded me that in my weakness, He shows His strength and continues to use me for His glory, despite the insurmountable pile of nothing I have to offer. 
One of the many gracious things that God has divinely dropped in my lap was the privilege and opportunity to bring some of my friends from work to church with me this Easter Sunday.  I was so excited and blessed by one of my other friends from school who let me borrow her car so I could go pick up these girls and go to church.  But wait, there’s more…
This weekend My Easter Sunday turned out to be anything but bunnies, and subtly obnoxious pastel colors… instead my day started with a nervousness I couldn’t explain.  I sat in the quiet of my room before the Lord asking for His peace in the midst of my unsettled heart about something I didn’t even know was going to happen.  I didn’t know why I was nervous, but for some reason, I couldn’t shake this feeling; this feeling that something was going to happen.  I felt a confidence come over me though, as I listened for God’s voice. 
I got in the car that morning intending to head towards the South side of Chicago to pick up the girls from work that I was bringing to church, and of course, I took the wrong ramp on the highway and ended up going West.  Thankfully, it wasn’t a big deal and I just got off and got back on the highway going the right direction this time.  Everything was fine until I needed to merge onto the exit-ramp…I hit the brakes, and felt nothing. I pressed harder and harder with my foot until I could feel the pedal hit the ground and still there was not even a slight bit of slowing.  My heart started pounding and for a split second I thought this could be the end…I was going to meet the Lord on Easter Sunday. Thankfully however, there wasn’t a lot of cars out on the highway so I was able to gracefully swerve over a couple lanes and the brakes finally started to slow me down a little (due to a constant frantic stomping on them repetitively).  I made it to where I was picking the girls up and, sweating and out of breath, explained what had happened.  What was funny was they still got in the car and said “just be careful.” Haha.  For some reason, I just felt so determined…I was going to get everyone to church with or without brakes!  I just felt so strong that this was a spiritual battle and that the Lord was going to make the brakes work when I needed them.  So we took side streets and got to church unharmed.  I’m crazy I know…But the service was great and I love the fact that I know my friends got to hear the truth of the gospel preached.
It was a crazy Sunday…but through everything from exhaustion to failing brakes, God is with us. He is with me.