Never Look Away

24 11 2009

Yet again, I find myself floored at how a song speaks to me. This song, another by KJ-52, is called Never Look Away. KJ-52 is not an artist I would normally listen to, yet the Lord used it.

“I once was lost but then You found me and loved me
And I’m never gonna look away
No I’m never gonna look away
You paid the cost You showed me how You bought me
And I’m never gonna look away
No I’m never gonna look away”
–Never Look Away (KJ-52 featuring Brynn Sanchez)

There are times when life is difficult and it’s hard to be so far away from all the people that I love. But every time this starts to feel overwhelming, the Lord reminds me that I need to keep looking at him and he will provide for me. Whatever it is I think I need, he will provide what I need. And usually that looks like peace. Peace amidst troubles. Peace amidst worry. Peace against all odds.

“I’m never gonna look away.” So easy to say and intend to mean. But most of the time when the distance feels overwhelming it’s because I’ve not realized I’ve looked away. I start to focus on the worries of this world instead of the things the Lord has promised.

I can do all things in Christ – Philippians 4:13
He has good plans for me with a hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
If I trust in Him with all that I am and don’t lean on my own understanding, he will guide my steps. – Proverbs 3:5-6
Cast all my cares on him, he will take care of them because he cares about me – 1 Peter 5:7
Seek him first and he will supply for my needs – Matthew 6:33
His power works best in my weakness – 2 Corinthians 12:9

These are paraphrased by me. They seem that much more real to me when I repeat things that the Lord has spoken to me in the past and recently.

His provision? It’s here. From making some closer friends here, to finding a JTE who goes to an amazing church. It’s not hard to see. I just have to remember to focus on the things the Lord has done in my life and not let go of those things when the storms of life hit.

Links:
Lyrics
Video





Home

23 11 2009

Today I messaged some friends on the insanely long train on the way back to my apartment. I called it “home.” Does that mean I am becoming more at home here? It took me a while to call college home after moving there for the school year, that town definitely became my home over time. It was hard to leave that “home” for Japan.

“If home is where the heart is
Then my home is where you are” – Relient K

Has the Lord put my heart here? What does he desire me to do while I’m here in this tiny town? In what ways will he use me?





“Someone needs to do something about that”

17 11 2009

Yesterday, I found a link back to this blog I had read a while ago. It’s called Stuff Christians Like. Kind of an odd title and I probably wouldn’t have read it before, except a friend had posted it on facebook and it a funny title, “Thinking you’re naked.” What??? I had to read it. It was an incredible article.

I found myself there again, this time through a completely different website. I remembered the previous article and decided to look at the more recent articles. I wanted to see if this was a rare good article, or one of many (it’s definitely one of many). This time, I found myself on this one: “What if?

The author, Jon, was inspired by his 6-year-old daughter to fundraise for a school in Vietnam. They were reading a book and she saw a photo of a young child somewhere else in the world living in poverty and asked, “That’s not real though. That’s pretend right?” He realized that her question went deeper. People don’t really live like that? Kids my own age? Why isn’t anyone doing something? Why aren’t we doing something? He decided to act on it.

I’m amazed. How many times does the Lord speak things into my life in equally small ways, which I can brush off and I do? Why do I not see something that needs done and do it?

Why don’t I notice the “someone needs to do something about that” moments and realize that they may be the Lord saying, “You need to do something about that”?

Why do I let fear and complacency get in the way of living my live completely for the Lord, especially in the small ways that no one else will know about?





Rhythm

15 11 2009

Today, the pastor at church chose to speak on Numbers 28-29. I wasn’t particularly excited. At first glance, this is one of the chapters where the Lord is telling the Israelites how to do sacrifices and various ceremonies. BORING! Or so I thought.

She said (well it was translated) that the Lord wanted to teach the Israelites to have a rhythm. She gave the example of a rhythm of going to bed early and getting up early, which she established as a child. Something may happen to cause her to stay up late or sleep in occasionally, but life is better when she has a rhythm.

In this passage, the Lord was trying to teach them to have rhythms that took place daily, weekly (Sabbath), monthly and festivals. Each had its purpose. Daily, to connect with the Lord and hear his purpose for our lives. Weekly, to have fellowship with other believers. Festivals to remember what he has done in our lives.

In what ways do I have rhythms that take place daily, weekly and less frequently? I can easily look at the way I spend my time and see that the daily and weekly rhythms are in my life (devotions, church and a skype Bible study are easy to see).

What about less frequently (monthly). How do I make a rhythm in my life for remembering what the Lord has done in my life? How does that look in your life? How can I build that into my life in a real way, so it actually grows me and helps me realize more and more how amazing the Lord is?





Friendship

14 11 2009

Today I had another epic skype conversation with a friend. She and I talked for a total of 6 hours (we got disconnected once). Last week we talked for five. How do we do it? Where does the time go? Neither of us really knows. We talk about everything from social justice (something that’s big on both of our hearts), to boys (duh, we’re girls), to our faith, to every and anything else.

She and I have decided to do a blog once a day for the month of November (now that I’ve admitted it publicly I’m going to have to hold myself to it). We didn’t start until the third, so it may be a little less than the full month.

She mentioned tonight as we were getting off (at 4 am, her time) that she had intended to write today about To Write Love On Her Arms*, something we both decided to do and according to the facebook invite, it was to be celebrated today (her time) or yesterday (mine). Anyways, because of the late time, when we stopped talking, she just wrote a short blurb and went to bed.

Did she really miss celebrating it by not writing about it? I think she chose to live it instead. She spent the day totally loving on the middle school students in her youth group. Then she spent the time to talk to me for an insane amount of time. Sounds like living it to me.

For me, my biggest love language is quality time, time when I really get to talk to someone and hear their heart and open mine to them. It can take the shape of real conversation, texts, crazy facebook notes, letters, instant messenger, or tons of other ways. For me, it can’t be forced into a short conversation in a few minutes. I don’t open up about deeper things in short amounts of time.

Being so far away from everyone and everything I know has been hard for that reason. It’s hard to spend quality time with people, when there are only a few odd hours when your free (non-work/sleep time) matches up and weekends for both ends are spent doing things that are not around the computer. That makes me feel the distance more. I feel more distant from friends when I don’t talk to them regularly.

Anyways, she showed me this website and I realized I needed to share some of the things it was talking about with her. I needed someone to know some of the deeper things that were going on with me, so that I would truly be known and so that someone could lift me up in prayer. After sharing with her, I didn’t feel like I was really so far away from everyone. Also, being a verbal processor, some of the problems that I thought seemed so huge, seemed so much smaller.**

This particular friend showed me true friendship by willing to sit and listen, to share her heart. I am so thankful.

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*Please note, that while this site is aimed at people “struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide,” those are not things I’m dealing with. However, I have been dealing with the distance from home (some homesickness) and making friends in a new place. It has not been easy, but the Lord has been holding me up and providing new friendships in unexpected places.
**Also, please note that this is not a cry for help, but a way to say thank you to a friend, a chance to reflect on the way I spent my day.





Shuffle

9 11 2009

Last weekend I put my iPod on shuffle while on the train to visit a friend. Right before getting off, I found this song:

“I know some things that might bring your life stress.
And you’re concerned about what’s coming next,
Feeling so worried ’cause your whole life’s a mess.
I want to tell you, you can make it through all this.
He’ll never fail you, that’s what he promised us
And even when things don’t seem to make sense
That’s the time when you hang on now you just trust.”
(He is All by KJ-52)

I was amazed, because it was like the Lord was speaking to me though these lyrics. I was having a tough time with the idea of being so far away from family, friends and my church for a whole year. I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to be here anymore. But more than that, I didn’t want to let homesickness/fear get in the way of trusting the Lord. He directed my steps. He has me right where he wants me for his purposes.

In hearing those words, I was reminded that it may be hard, but he will be with me through it all. He is my strength. In the tough “just send me home now” moments and in the “I love this I could stay here for 5 years no problem” moments, he’s with me. He’ll provide what I need. Whether it’s deep friendships or encouragement in him. He’ll provide.

He already has. I just have to look back in my journal in the time since I got here to see that he is moving in me. He has provided me with encouragement through several friends here. My Japanese is improving. He has given me a church, which was beyond my expectations.

It doesn’t matter how I feel. “He’ll never fail you, that’s what he promised us.” I just have to hang on to the things I know when I feel unsure about what is going on around me or what I can handle and he will get me through.

So when I feel like I’m in over my head and I can’t make it for however long the Lord wants me here, “That’s the time when you hang on now you just trust.” He’ll pull me through the tough times.

Links:
Hear the song

See the lyrics

And a new photo:
Temple
A temple that the Lord used to remind me how great he is. To read more, click the photo.