"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, oh Lord..." Psalm 19:14

Thursday, October 21, 2010

If I could talk to you face to face...this is what I'd say.

Dearest friends,

To be honest, I don't even know who I'm talking to. But to all of you "back home" -- or others interested -- this post is for you. :) It's been a while, hasn't it? I've had a great month or so, but very full and draining as well. I don't know why, but everything I've felt these past few weeks, I have felt deeply.

For one, I think I've been realizing how difficult it is to still feel connected to things "back home" my second year away. And it's so hard to know what I'm supposed to naturally let go of...and what I should fight to keep. In the midst of that, when all home front voices have seemed utterly quiet, I've been wrestling with making decisions about my future...in Thailand and beyond.

Last Friday, I turned in my "resignation" for next school year. It doesn't come as a surprise to me, I guess, and probably not to you either. But it was still a very thought-out, prayed over thing that meant a great deal to me. I have not taken my time here at ICS lightly, and I consider it an absolutely privilege to be serving here. God's peace has been abundant though, and I am SO grateful. As for next year, wow. I can't even guess.

When I sit in God's presence and seek Him, I sense this unbelievable calling to surrender. I sense that He's asking me to be open...to stop limiting Him and the plans He has for me...to pursue Him alone. And do I know what it means? No! Is it a little scary? Yeah, except that I know this loving God who compels me to follow...and I can't even help but trust Him with my life.

So as appealing as it is to assume a return to Puyallup, to teaching elementary and the life I knew before...I can't seem to feel right about it anymore. It really doesn't mean anything either way. God just hasn't made it clear yet. And I guess I'm telling you all this, because I value your prayers and your support and your love in my life. My heart aches in knowing that changes areagain heading my way, and yet I am so moved by God and so hungry for more of Him, that I'm convinced wherever He's leading me is worth it.

...On the lighter side, I've been crazy-blessed with joyful times and sweet relationships this fall (well, rainy season for us).

Here are just a few snapshots of life as I know it in Bangkok!

This is me with me with my dear friends, Kim and K-Dub (Kristi W.) and new friends too. We had just completed Bangkok's "Vertical Marathon" by climbing the Banyan Tree Hotel's 63 flights of stairs. (And just so you know, it's not as hard as it sounds. You could totally do it!)

Me and Miriam at a rockin' costume party the other night, thanks to hostesses Lindsey, Lindsay, Heidi and Miriam! (Cape compliments of my sweet little bro, Nicholas. Thanks, man!!)

A couple weeks ago, I got the awesome blessing of going to Khao Yai, Thailand for the first time. My friends Mutarica, O, and Sumalee took me to this waaaay cool place called, Palio...AKA Thailand's "Little Italy"! So fun, and to make matters better, O and Sumalee took bunches of photos to commemorate the occasion. This one was at the gardens in the shopping plaza.

Here we are, on the streets of Palio. What a treat it was! :)

And these are my wonderful and precious prayer/accountability partners, Catherine and Karly! How deeply I treasure their support and encouragement!

So there ya have it. Holly's life in a nutshell. :) Sending my love to you all and praying you are well. I can't wait until heaven, when distance will never again separate. But until then, may we rest in the grace He has for us.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

"If it doesn't break your heart, it isn't love." [Yet/Switchfoot]

[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:7

I can think of lots of things that make loving people hard. Having patience all the time? Hard. Being kind no matter what? Double hard. Forgiving every hurt and every bad decision? Unbelievably hard. Yet when I read 1 Corinthians 13, do you know what line really gets to me?

Love always hopes.

Yes, love always hopes. I don't know the ways people have hurt you or disappointed you in your life, but I do know that, for me, when someone causes pain, the last thing I want to do is hope. I don't want to hope they've changed, or hope things will get better, or hope that the relationship is restored. I just want to guard my heart...and move on.

And what's wrong with that, right? This always hoping thing seems a bit counter-intuitive; it sounds kind of like an I'm-just-a-doormat kind of Christianity that subjects us to a vicious cycle of hope and disappointment.

Yet I know, that can't be right either.

The God I know doesn't want us to stay in hurtful situations or to hold onto destructive relationships. In fact, God allows us space to heal, and He's often the One who provides us deliverance in due time. Hoping doesn't always mean staying, and it simply can't mean enabling...nor does it ever mean compromising what is right.

So what does it mean then?

Maybe always hoping (like everything else, really,) comes down to our hearts. Maybe it doesn't look any certain way. Maybe it means we choose grace over bitterness, even if it's from afar. And maybe it means we choose prayer over apathy, and kindness over revenge. Maybe it means hoping, because we believe in a God who can change the hardest of hearts, who can heal the incurable, who can make beauty from ashes...Hoping, because even after a thousand disappointments, His great love will still be enough.

It's a costly thing to do. But when I look to the cross and the Love that saved me, I'm reminded that really loving people always is.