Saturday, August 13, 2011

Superchick/Switchfoot Awesomeness

Last night, some friends and I went down to Huntington U. for their first annual Fandana Christian music festival, featuring... a whole lot of artists and bands, and ending with Superchick and Switchfoot, two incredible bands, and supporting and promoting an anti-slavery ministry called "Traffic Jam". With the music and the ministry promotions and all the encouraging/challenging things the artists said, I noticed that there was this overall theme of: "You, who are in Christ, have the power to make a difference and change the world." A theme that I love, and I was more than happy to be surrounded by all evening. I just wish I'd known, so I could have worn my Supergirl t-shirt!

An Indiana sunset

We're here!!

Jillian and Abby - Huntington friends who are SO excited
to have an awesome concert on their campus.

Concert-junky friends!

Just found this hilariously ironic... on our way to the main stage

Oh Switchfoot, how I love you!

Jon Foreman came into the crowd to sing at one point!
Switchfoot ended their set with their popular song, "Dare You to Move," and as many times as I've heard it before, one phrase stuck in my heart differently this time:

"The tension is here,
between who you are and who you could be;
between how it is and how it should be..."

I think sometimes Christians get so caught up in the message "Jesus loves you just as you are," that we get complacent and comfortable, and we lose sight of the truth: Jesus loves us - not for who we are, but for who He is. And he hates our mess - our sin - and loves who he knows we can be in Him, if we allow him to change us and work in us. It's the Potter-and-Clay mentality: we are a lump of mud and he is the Artist, with fingers tingling with the joy of creating something beautiful out of us. And he inspires that imagination and creativity in us, too. The beauty of living in this thing called Reality is the ability to imagine the possibilities when the power of Christ is infused... in myself and in the world.

As we drove home, I thought about those lyrics... Who was I, who am I now, and who could God be transforming me into? What is my life like, and what is this world like? How should it be different, and how can I be a part of the change?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

YAY for baby!

Today I got to meet a new member of my ever-expanding international family: Dim Lian's baby girl, the beautiful Ciin Lam Hoi Thang! She was born last week, and the tiny peanut of a 10-day-old is the youngest baby I've held.

She was so calm and quiet, didn't cry or anything, just was very content to doze, even in my very weak and unsure arms. Her big brown, perfectly almond-shaped eyes, her long, graceful nose, and heart-shaped lips make her look so much like Princess Jasmine from Disney's Aladdin!

The house was full - Jo Lien was running around in circles and giggling uncontrollably with his little friends, and a little girl kept coming over to kiss the baby on the head or pat its arm. Lian's mom has finally (PTL!) arrived in America and is living there with them, so I got to meet her, too. Lian looked more beautiful than ever, and I know it's a proud and contented "Mama glow." And guess what? We've got two more Burmese babies due in the next two months! YAY!

Thank you, God, for new life, for precious babies, and for the beauty and sanctity of every human life, no matter how small!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Soul Care

I gathered up my Bible and journal and a pen, and took off down the hall. Where would I go? Where could I go to be completely alone and uninterrupted for a few hours? I finally settled on the far corner table of the cafeteria... That day at training, the topic was "soul care," the necessary time we take to be alone with God, inspect our hearts and allow Him to speak to us and refresh us. When I heard that we had some time to actually spend in "soul care," my first response was, Yes! Nap time! Sleep is from the Lord, anyway... I hadn't been getting to bed at a decent hour all week, and the whole getting-up-at-6AM thing was taking a toll. So even as I pushed a chair out of the way in that back corner and plopped my books down, I hoped I would be blessed with some moments of quiet peace. But as I closed my eyes, I heard God speak to my heart, "No, no, not right now. We have some work to do." Surprised by this clear and direct statement, I opened my eyes and wiggled into an upright position.

And there was Jesus, sitting next to me at that back corner table, pushing my journal toward me. "I know you would rather write than speak," he said, "So write to me and tell me what's going on in your heart." He knows I'm introverted and introspective, that I'm very self-aware and analytical. I don't know if that gets on His nerves as much as it gets on mine, but after a week of personality assessments, I figured He designed me that way. So I started to write. I wrote about what angers me and offends me, what excites me and makes me feel appreciated, what doubts I struggle with and the promises in God's Word that I cling to the most. And as I wrote, Jesus dialogued with me. He said things like, "Yes, that's true. Do you remember what the Father said about that?" and "But you know that's not true... Just recall the time when I dealt with that very issue..." He guided my thoughts through my soul and revealed big and small things that he wanted us to talk through and work out together. A lot of it was me surrendering, and Him restoring. I did not get a nap that day, but when I left that soul care time with him, I felt renewed.

This week at church, I found myself again at a table with Bible, paper, and pen. During the worship music set, the pastor got up and said that maybe there were some people who needed to "do business with God," so he wanted us to take a few minutes for that. Oh boy, here we go again... I thought, as I prepared for Jesus to lovingly, but firmly, hash out some more of my soul. The song the band was playing said, "I love, I love your presence." Many times before, I've imagined that I've gone into the presence of God... a great throne room, golden pavement. But this time, the song brought to my mind the beauty of Jesus as Emmanuel, coming into our presence and being with us.

And there He was again, sitting next to me at that table. Only this time, he smiled at me and put his arm around me. "This time, why don't you just rest in Me, ok?" he said, and I closed my eyes and leaned on his shoulder. We didn't do any "work" that day, but when the music faded, I felt renewed.

Sometimes we have work to do - confessions and submissions and surrender, and other times we have to just be - to rest and abide in Him. He knows what our souls need, and He knows how to care for them the best.