Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Confession and healing

It's been a while since I posted on here and I'm feeling like it's time to revive this thing.

A thought occurred to me today. It was this: "Love doesn't hold you to your wrongs, but it does require you to admit to them." It came about after listening to Kathryn Schulz TED talk "On being wrong." ( )
I married Daniel a year and a half ago and if there's one thing that will make you learn your ugly parts it's marriage!! Gosh, it just brings it out of me. It's also brought a lot of patience and love out of me, but wow it brings out the most intimate insecurities that lead to pushing love back and fighting against total relinquishing of rights and independence, because I am now we. It makes me have to discern between when to push back and when I'm just being selfish. Even re-learning how to talk: What do I sound like? What vibes am I giving off with my tone? Why am I already coming off as defensive and we haven't even started talking about what's bothering us?! When you are for the other person and for your marriage's health, you start seeing yourself as an "other" in certain ways. I've started seeing myself a little more clearly and it's rough picture to look at sometimes. It's almost like what I've said in past posts about living in a different culture and seeing your own culture much more clearly. It's made me start wondering why I do certain things.
To be totally honest, our minds can be our worst enemies when it comes to trust, insecurities, and how we come off to our significant others. And, we….. Ok enough of second person. I can control my mind. I've learned this in the past few months. When something bothers me a little I can let it grow in my mind instead of dismissing it. I'm learning to direct my mind away from that pattern of "protect yourself" thinking and turn to trust, and not let my mind be consumed by fears or frustrations. It's actually pretty beautiful, and I'm thankful God's giving me insight to how my mind works and what is behind some of our marriage struggles. While on our wedding day we became one legally, in word, and before our friends and family, we didn't automatically become one in our thought patterns and living patterns. That is taking time and intentionality and changing the ways we trust, think, fear, and act. One thing in particular that has been so hard, and yet brings healing and growth is admitting wrongs. When we're both for us, searching ourselves and admitting wrongs is about reconciliation and the importance of truth in our marriage. It's more about us being healthy than one of us being right. Understanding unhealthy emotional responses to actual issues that need to be talked out, and distinguishing the emotional response from the actual thing that's bothering us and needs figured out. We're so human it's ridiculous. Love, pride, frustration, patience, zeal for truth, all bundled up in a conversation between two hearts who can hardly articulate it all. But when we know that each of us is for us, and we're struggling not to be right, but to be well, together, as a unit, it's easier to admit wrong doings. And it's easier to forgive and move on because we know the other person is fully human and fully for this marriage: you two as a strong unit. Selfishness, not being for the other and therefore the us, is usually the root of wrongs. Before we started dating there really wasn't an us to fight for and to see as more important than the I so, really, this is new territory. Forgiveness is only really beautiful and mutually healing when there is admittance of wrong. Love will hold you to your wrongs, because selfishness goes against the us, and the glue of us is love. We can't hold both in our hands. But how crazy beautiful is forgetting self and embracing confession for the purpose of a healthier, stronger, healed us. We're in this life together, for each other and before ourselves.

Love is: I will fight for you, even when….. especially when it means fighting against myself.

James 5:16 - Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Sometimes brave means packing up your stuff in 2 suitcases and moving to a 3rd world country.

And sometimes brave can mean staying put for a bit and settling down, acquiring skills and learning a new trade.

Just came from another interview after about 2 weeks full of applying to local businesses.

I'm excited to put myself out there and try something new. So here's to doing a new brave thing!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Continuing to learn

I think that my learning about God has to do with finding him and letting him go.
I'll expand- We learn about God and we store those things we learn about him in our heads and hearts, but I think that we get so academic about it that we fill our minds then decide we know enough. Then we become stagnant like spiritual swamps and become (wether we admit it or not) bored with our religion.

I'm not talking about abandoning doctrines that are vital to our belief about the core essence of who God is  but I am talking about carrying him around with us and forgetting that he is everywhere. He is something to be sought but never really found to the point where the seeking ends.

If there's one thing that I have learned about spirituality from traveling, it's that you can't take God places. I have a problem with missions agencies that talk about "unreached people groups". As if God were not everywhere and working everywhere in his Spirit. If you go to a place with the mindset of - "I'm going to go and take God to these people" you're insinuating that he is not already there. And it's an insult to what he is already doing there and those people through whom he is doing amazing things. The apostles never stopped being disciples and being a disciple means continuing learning under a rabbi. Perpetual student.

I think its more important to focus on seeking God than sharing him. Because when you seek him you'll find other seekers who will want to glean knowledge from you, and you will find that you are sharing him. If everyone goes to only share, who is going to learn anything? No one, rightly, can be only a teacher. No mind can have a monopoly on the knowledge of God.

God in his perfect creativity made cultures and then he hid his image in them, and I think part of finding God, at least in my journey, has been learning about other cultures.
Before you know it, you see him everywhere.

The Bible is awesome and is great for foundational truth. But why stop there? Nature, art, beauty, dance, mathematics, music, law, social media, fabric, words, food. He is there in it all. We need to not think he's only there if there are Bible verses plastered over it or if we bring him to these things ourselves.

So what do I mean about finding him and letting him go? I mean letting myself "forget" stuff in order that arrogance and the illusion of having found him wont prevent me from continuing to seek him and find him. Not hanging on to things as if I might lose him, but continually seeking him, seeing him, and re-seeking him.

I think some people (hey, I've done it before) in fear of adopting un-truths, get to a point where they feel they know it, and then they stop learning. Dead faith driven by fear. I believe a living faith is characterized by freedom from fear and a love for looking and learning and being unsatisfied with what we know and see about him. "Where are you?! I want to see you!" instead of "I got you, I'm ok, we're safe."

Be still... but still moving.

Be still and know that I am God.    Psalm 46:10

but dance and know that I am Joy.

and be free and know that I broke your fear.

and reach out to others and know that I am Love.

go beyond your small world and know that I am everywhere.

and create and know that I am Creator.

Live and know that I will get you where you need to be.

Be still, but trust my sovereignty and don't be timid about life.

Be still... but still moving.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back in the US

I've been back in the US for a couple of weeks now. A lot of people have asked about reverse culture shock, and I'd have to say it's been a smooth transition. It was a good idea to go to Portugal for a week between re-entry week at the MCC headquarters in Akron PA and coming back to Arizona.

When I landed in Philadelphia after two long days of traveling I was greeted by my Mom's cousins and their kids. So great to have people there to welcome me home. It was a total surprise and the best way to come home. Signs, hugs, kisses... Seriously, I have the best family.

Re-entry was great and I'm so glad I went. Initially I was weary about spending 5 days in limbo between Indonesia and home, but in the end the sessions MCC had planned and the time I got to hear other people's stories and share my own was really great. That said, the heat in PA that week was miserable. I couldn't believe how hot is was... Hotter than Indonesia, it felt like!

Portugal.... What can I say, being in Portugal is always a blast and always so, so hard to leave. Spent days on the beach, nights in town, and sleep just did not happen very often. Amanda was there as well as the boys and getting to spend time with them was so good.

I've had some funny incidents being back... I realized that not understanding Bahasa Indonesian when spoken quickly or in long stretches (for example, church services) made me really good at zoning out mentally. I cannot for the life of me pay attention to someone for longer then 10 minutes anymore. Re-entry sessions, church services... Even though they're in English! My mind wanders really fast.

Also making decisions. If someone asks me where I want to go out to, I just get so overwhelmed with all the choices that I really do get mentally paralyzed and can't choose a place. That has been frustrating. I can't BELIEVE all the restaurants there are here in Phoenix! And not just restaurants- I walk into a store wanting to buy one thing and I get to the area of the store where it's at and there are 47 different brands and 3 different choices in each of the brand for the same stinking product.

And everything is huge. The bottles of shampoo, the meal portions, the cars, the houses, the streets, the mountains, the distances between places, the bills.... I didn't remember everything being just so big.

Ah but I'm enjoying things I missed. The Arizona landscape, meat and cheese galore, air conditioning, a dryer, a big fridge. People. People who I can relate to and talk to without avoiding certain subjects because I don't know how to say certain words in their language. And showing skin. Tanks tops, two pieces, shorts... Running and no one staring at me... I'm really enjoying it all. A lot.

I didn't end up applying for the job in Palestine after I got back. I need to take a break from traveling internationally for a bit and focus on acquiring some marketable skills that I can then take back overseas.

In the mean time I'll blog back on here once in a while as I process being in America again, and possibly will start posting some interesting development stuff I've been finding.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

There are four days left in my Kudus experience.
I'm bad at goodbyes because I end up leaving mentally before I leave physically and then I end up just frustrated and cranky and not patient. I'm not a sentimental goodbye-er.
I'm trying to be here, to be present, to enjoy the moments and it's working... when I'm with people. But when I'm alone I end up getting super lethargic and worry about getting a job when I get home, and antsy to just leave. I want to enjoy Kudus these last days. I've found a couple potential job openings, so I'm going to stick them in my internet favorites and not touch them until I get to Portugal. Hopefully they'll keep my mind at rest. At least the part of my mind that's worrying about going through being unemployed for months on end again.

The past three weeks have been filled with travel, hanging out with people, goodbye parties, packing, and last minute shopping. So much food, too... I'm trying to not care about what I eat as far as food special to Indonesia goes. I have only a week left to enjoy Indonesian fried rice, grilled fish, fresh fruit juice, noodles and chicken... Oh, good stuff.

I'm liking not having to teach right now. My time is spent with people- talking, eating, traveling... There's an agenda when you teach, and it's getting info into people's brains. Sometimes it's hard for me to feel like I'm getting to know people when I'm so preoccupied with if they're understanding material and if I'm doing it all right. There's no pressure when you hang out with people. It's just letting yourselves connect and sharing experiences. Much more enjoyable to me than teaching.

And... Sleeping. I know my host parents think I'm the laziest person ever... But I get my second wind at about 10pm and the packing just come easier then. The packing, the laundry, the reading, the watching movies... And since I don't have classes at 7am anymore, why not go to sleep at 2am?

I'm reading an incredible book called "Waging Peace on Islam" by Christine Mallouhi. It's reminding me about what I'm passionate about and what gets me riled up. There wasn't a lot in this past year that dealt with injustice or other issues that make me mad and ready to make change. It wasn't a boring year... I know I blessed and served people here and no regrets with my decision to take the assignment last minute! But it's not want I want to do forever- I wouldn't want to do this year every year. What I do want to do every year that was part of this year was work with people who adhere to the Muslim religion. Wow, what kindness they showed me. And how very misunderstood the religion is in the west!
But specifically I love this book because of how much she talks about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and her up close and personal involvement in it. She is teaching me history through stories and I love it- it's how I learn best. It brings back my semester in Egypt and the travelling I did around Israel. I'm excited to be applying for an internship in Palestine and while it might not work out and I might be around the US for a while, I know I will end up the in Middle East at some point or another.

I'll try to update again before I'm of to Akron, PA for re-entry. If not, next time I update I'll either be in the US or Portugal (visiting Sao Miguel for a week right after re-entry)!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Last of teaching

I'm sitting in a Starbucks in Semarang, a stop over on my way to Salatiga. I'm going to a good-bye dinner for two MCC families here whose terms are up this year. The dinner is in Solo, about two hours away.
So much traveling. I'm glad for this stop. And, happily, Starbucks has internet.
I haven't had internet at home for a couple of weeks and the internet at the university is spotty.

What a different world I'm in right now than I was even 30 minutes ago. One world but so many realities. I knew that before coming to Indonesia, but I'm re-realizing it here. Which is necessary, because I'm not supposed to stay in the little world I was born. It takes intentionality to make others' realities our own- either intentionally going into the slums, or taking a plane and engaging in another culture, or taking on someone elses' injustice and advocating for something that in the end might never effect our own living standards. Advocacy is a central theme I'm noticing in the job descriptions I am most attracted to. I've been thinking a lot about it lately and what it means.

Ok, big news-  I'm done teaching at the University!! My last class was yesterday, and afterward I had some time where I hung out at my desk and students could come by and say good bye. There will be a farewell party on the 11th but I'm not sure if that's just a teacher thing or students are invited as well. So we took the opportunity to talk a little about what my year there has been like and what they have learned and what I learned. I was so surprised by what some of them said- some of them that I thought didn't even care about the Small Speaking Groups or the workshops talked about how much they appreciated them. Some even cried! It was good for me to see that they have been blessed by my being there.

The last few days I have been pretty calm emotionally which is amazing seeing as so much is happening. I got good news from home and had a very encouraging conversation with my mother. What a good friend. I also got my tickets for Portugal. I'll be going right from orientation to Portugal to meet my family for a week. Maybe that's what I'll need as a buffer between Indonesia and Phoenix, AZ.

Also my current calmness has allowed to see Indonesia with fresh eyes. It's one month today until we leave our placements and start three days of interrogations- er, assessment meetings, ;-) in Salatiga with MCC Indonesia. Things bug me less and I'm able to be awed by this amazing country again. On my way here to Semarang I saw a lot of things I like about the looks of this place and that I know I'll miss. Specifically the colors used on the houses and buildings, some of the older architecture, and the chipped paint. Other things- little boys playing soccer with their Muslim hats on, food sellers cooking on the side walk or walking their mobile kitchens up and down the road, women coming or going from the market with live chickens sticking their heads out of wicker bags, men with little guitars waiting to hop on a bus and entertain the riders for a few coins. This stuff is unique. And I'm glad to be noticing it again.