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

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Top Three's of 2010!

In 2009, on my way to Thailand, God challenged me to "keep asking," to pursue life to the fullest -- asking for depth, for abundance, for more of Jesus....no matter where it takes me. And so it's kind of been my battle cry. How cool and humbling it is to think about 2010 and all the ways God has given me more...and more.

Here are my highlights from the past year. Maybe this is more for me than you, but I pray we can all remember the ways God has spoken and moved as we look to the New Year.

Scriptures

3. Isaiah 61 - God has given us beauty for ashes, a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair, a robe of righteousness to replace our sin and shame. What a great reminder this was for me this year. Our life in Christ is one of joy and victory!

2. Isaiah 40 --
"You who bring good news to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout.
Lift it up; do not be afraid.
Say to the towns of Judah, 'Here is your God!'"

We serve the Everlasting God -- may we fearlessly proclaim His greatness!

1. Romans 8 -- This may be one of the most well-known chapters of the Bible, but how many of us truly live and walk in the power and promise of Romans 8? I definitely don't all the time, but I sure want to.


Destinations

3. The Great Pacific Northwest!!
Okay, so this is nothing exotic or unique, but what joy it was to spend time in the Northwest this summer. Washington has my heart, for sure.



2. Langkawi Island, Malaysia
We barely made it to Langkawi in October, and it took all the Malaysian Rupees, Thai Baht, and USD we could scrounge up to get there. ...But it was so worth it. Beautiful beach, quiet town, tons to do.



1. Himalayas, Nepal.
It's just that nothing can compare with this place and all that God taught me there!



Firsts

3. Ziplining
Ziplining is a pretty popular thing to do when you come to Thailand.
And I can totally understand why -- My good friend, Perla, and I had a blast!


2. Professional perm
A definite success (and oh-so fun, thanks to dear friends, Amanda and Mu!). I always knew my hair needed more volume. Now let's see if I can ever go back, hehe.


1. Celebrating with my little brothers for their birthday!
Because I've never lived near my little brothers, I had never been with them on their birthday, January 5th! But with our extra long break at ICS, I was there this year!!


Heartfelt moments

3. Karshner Field Day.
I can't tell you how much it meant to me to see all of my dear Karshner/Puyallup friends last June. They have been such a testament of God's kindness!

2. Worshiping with the orphans in Nepal
Anyone who has ever worshiped Jesus alongside orphans
anywhere will tell you, it's life-changing.


1. A brother-planned 25th birthday
Batting cages and catch, lunch out, quality time with the guys...
and dinner made by my teenage brothers? Memorable for sure.

Books

3. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller - This is the kind of book that inspires, ya know? It makes you wanna go out...and do something!

2. Forgotten God by Francis Chan -- I love Francis Chan's passion and conviction. I love that he's okay with stirring things up a bit, for the sake of truth and the Gospel.

1. Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannan -- This book changed my view of culture, missions, and The Church as a whole. And hey, follow the link, you can read it for free!

Songs

3. Our God by Chris Tomlin -- This year, God has challenged me to take hold of the power and victory He's offered to us all as His children. What a great song proclaiming such truths!

2. Holy Spirit, Have Your Way by Leeland -- Another thing that keeps showing up on my radar is our need for the Holy Spirit in our lives. We should hunger for a more Spirit-filled life, instead of shying away from it!

1. Running by Klaus -- This is my newest favorite, and it actually sums up 2010 really well for me. God is calling us to chase after Him and forget about everything else -- to stop pursuing the things we think we need. All year, it was like He kept proving to me that running after Him is truly the greatest joy and delight we can ever know...and through Jesus alone, we find more than we could ever need, or want, or imagine.

May we run after our God and Savior with reckless abandon as we look ahead to 2011! All glory to Jesus!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Strange things are happening to me.

Not a day goes by here in Thailand without someone asking me, "Where you from?"

I, of course, proudly and emphatically answer, "America!"

To which they nearly always respond, "Ohhh, no. You look like China. ...Korea."

Yeeeah. And if I'm totally honest, it's bugged me since the day I got here. Like, c'mon, doesn't the world know that Americans come in all colors, shapes, and sizes? Didn't the rest of the world get the "multicultural" memo that's drilled into our American minds back home?

For most of my time here, I've tried not to think about it, because I had that nagging feeling (you know the one?) that there are deeper reasons behind my frustration. See, it's not something I advertise, but pretty much my whole life, I've tried to "skirt around" the fact that I'm, well, Asian. I know it sounds like nonsense, but I always felt like emphasizing the "Asian" would somehow make me less American.

But, like I said, strange things are happening to me.

It's been an awesome process full of good conversations, books, thoughts, prayers...but the short of it is, I think God is giving me a heart for Thailand...and maybe Asia as a whole.

I can't fully explain it. Maybe part of me has found some hidden connection within. Maybe I've hit a high point in the cycle of adjusting to a new culture. I could speculate on a lot, but one thing I'm sure of: It is definitely of God. He has directed every thought and has brought forth every new experience and friendship and conversation. He has changed my heart.

So what does this mean? Am I not the girl who just turned in resignation papers for her job in Bangkok? Am I not the girl whose heart beats and cries out for the Church back home? Am I not the same proud American who stepped foot in Asia a year and half ago?

The funny thing is, I am still all of the above. My heart still aches for the Church in America and longs to be a part of impassioning and inspiring hearts back home. I am still a proud American who adores her country and has no reservations about returning to live there. And yes, I am still the teacher who -- as of next year -- will no longer have a job in Bangkok.

In other words, I have no idea what this all means. But I am excited to see what God has in store. My mind can go any which way -- maybe He will open a door for me to stay here in another capacity, or maybe He's preparing my heart for future plans. I don't assume I'll know for a while, so I'm just delighting in the peace of His sovereignty and faithfulness. He is a good God, and as I sang at church today, "Our God never fails."

So please pray for me. My hope is that you won't pray for what I want (oh wait, I don't even know what I want)...and that you won't even pray for what you want...but that we will, together, pray for what God wants to do -- in my life, and in yours too! May we give Him full reign to bring about His plans and purposes among us.

Even if it means...strange things.