I just started a new devotional called Look Unto Me by Charles Spurgeon. It's only been about a week, but this guy has some pretty amazing insights into Christianity and being in relationship with Christ. In the devotional from February 10th, there was a quote from the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard that jumped off the page at me (I have no idea who this is, but the guy sounds smart and I sound smarter for quoting a philosopher).
"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards."
I can't even tell you how relevant this is to me as I look back on the past year or so. And on that day (February 10th), it became even more relevant. Later that day, I was reading through 2 Corinthians 4. I have read this chapter before a few times, one time during a particularly pivotal moment in my life just under a year ago, but this time, it took on a whole new meaning. Especially this passage:
"That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we cannot see will last forever." ~ 2 Cor 4: 16-18
Just over a year ago this passage was given to me by someone close to me which snowballed into a significant chain of events. While these events took me from the lowest of lows to very high and then back down again, I know now, looking back, that this was all part of God's plan. I have heard people say that Christians think bad things won't happen to them that they are protected from heartache, but I don't know where they get that thought from. God often uses heart break and struggles in our life to draw us near to Him to make us realize our need for Him. And that's what he did for me by allowing me to go through what I did over the past year. I still don't understand everything, and I may never will, but I understand enough from the past to know that God is orchestrating a beautiful plan. It's crazy but so cool that this scripture takes on a completely different meaning to me now. It's now a message of hope. A little reminder that God is working things out for good.
"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards"...one day at a time.
People often ask in passing or in casual conversation, "what's new?" However, there is no standard answer for this question. Sure, I could say, "not much." But that's just lying. There is bound to be something new that has occurred since I last saw/talked to this person....even if it is as simple as a Facebook status update. Also, the answer always varies depending on how long it has been since I have seen this particular person asking the question. So then the question becomes, "well, when is the last time I saw you?" Which then turns into, "oh, about two weeks ago." Okay, so if I saw you two weeks ago, let me just get out my blackberry/journal/calendar/diary/notepad/email to check what has happened in the past two weeks that I have not told you about. Then I could proceed to rattle off everything I have done in the past two weeks to check and see if I have told this person about it. Having to do this for every single person that asks the question, "what's new?"...is next to impossible. But, in case you were wondering, "what's new?", here it is...
I started taking piano lessons again this month. The last time I took a piano lesson I think I was 11, but it's been great. I am actually back with my former teacher and I am learning a ton! I would seriously love to be a busker in downtown someday.
I also began a writing course this week on creative and freelance writing - I'm trying to discover my strengths as a writer and refine my skills so that one day maybe people will pay me money to write things.
I drew a picture. I'm not usually much of a drawer, but this particular drawing is quite special to me and actually not that bad.
I planned a trip to visit some dear friends.
Bought some concert tickets for some shows in April.
Began preliminary planning on a big summer road trip...it's all a dream at this point, but we'll see :)
My heart was broken for Haiti.
Found a church that I really like and think I'm ready to commit to.
Bought a tambourine.
Started pilates...sort of.
Purchased an actual vintage dress...not just one from Urban Outfitters that looks "vintage."
Read some great books....including Captivating (love this book!)
That's all I can think of right now. Next time someone asks you "what's new?" Tell them everything you have done in detail since you remember last talking to them. It will be funny and maybe turn into a really cool conversation.
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute." ~ Psalm 31:8
In light of devastating tragedies such as the one that has currently struck Haiti, I sometimes get overwhelmed with a sense of wanting to do something to help but not really knowing how I can actually make a difference. However, what I am learning is that there are some people who are meant to "do" in the wake of disaster - the missionaries, field workers, army, medical professionals, peace keepers, etc. and there are some that are meant to "give" so that these individuals have the necessary funds and resources in order to be as effective as possible. In this situation, I believe I can help giving. It might only be a little bit in comparison to the need, but it helps.
I give to Food for the Hungry Canada. I have been extremely fortunate to work closely with this organization over the past six months. They truly have a heart for Christ and delivering hope to those bound by poverty and helping them create permanent solutions to overcoming poverty. I don't know who actually reads this blog, but if you feel like you can help by giving, I would encourage you to give to this organization and currently all donations towards Haiti relief are matched by the Canadian government. www.fhcanada.org
For my US friends, there is a Food for the Hungry based in the US that is also providing relief in Haiti. www.fh.org
So it's 2010. It's no longer the OOs, it's officially the 10s? That doesn't sound as catchy, I like 0h-10s better. Yep, we are now in the 0h-10s.
With a new year, we have been brainwashed to believe that we need to create a list of resolutions meant to better ourselves. Better our health, our character, our job, our relationships, our appearance, etc. I've gotten caught up in this before and made lists and everything, only to fall short months, okay weeks....actually days in. Why? Because I'm human and weak. I don't have the discipline and will power to make huge behavioural changes all by myself at the blink of an eye. Sure I can do it for a little while and if I really, really wanted, I could muster up the strength to do it for a semi-prolonged period of time. But I don't, because it's not natural to me. It's not innate to make significant life changes all on my own strength. I have tried and failed.
This year, I resolve to not make any resolutions. Instead, I seek transformation. I seek to know Jesus better, to have a heart that reflects him more, to live a life that is according to his will and glorifying to Him - to be a vessel. And in my opinion, true transformation can only come from a heart that is after the Lord. Digging deeper into His word, leaning on His everlasting arms, pressing into Him, being still in His presence. I am weak, but I know and believe that Christ will take my weaknesses and make me strong. So this year, I chase the desires He has for my heart, pursue His purpose for my life and dare to dream the big dreams that I can only accomplish through Him.
I just finished reading a book called, Be Still My Soul.
There were many gems of wisdom in this book, but what resonated with me the most was this
"Standing still, on some occasions, is the paramount duty of the Christ follower."
Most of the time I don't struggle with believing that God has a perfect plan for my life if I trust and follow Him. There is just something in me that believes this and has hope because of it. What I do struggle with is the waiting. I am a doer. I like to get things done and move on to the next. Patience is not something that comes naturally to me. I have to be very intentional about being patient and constantly have to give this up to the Lord. Part of my issue with always needing to do, is that I feel like I am being selfish with my time if I am not always doing. But when I actually do take the time to sit and be still, it is reassuring to know that this is sometimes exactly what God wants me to do.
Psalm 46:10 - "Be still and know that I am God."
Psalm 37:7 - "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him..."