Friday, July 24, 2015

Diagnosed with an Unexpected Love

I've known for awhile, but I confess, I am deeply attracted to suffering. But, my question is... why?

  • In 5th grade we had an assignment to write a book. My friends wrote about fun, exciting, princess/adventures things. My story was about a girl whose parents were fighting. She was so distraught one day she ran away to the ocean. She spent the night by the sea, then decided to return home and the conflict was resolved and they lived together again. The teacher had to talk to my parents and see if there was brokenness in the home that was coming through. There wasn’t. I just liked the story.
  • In 7th grade my class took a trip to D.C. One afternoon we spent at the Holocaust museum. My teacher had to actually take me away from watching the videos/photos of the concentration camps because I had been there too long ‘for my own good’.
  •  Last fall especially, I dreamed often about being raped or murdered, or both.
  •  I had a dream this year about my sister and I being hunted by a serial killer. We were both shot, but we did survive in the end.
  • I had a dream where I was stranded in the middle of the ocean by my tour guides while shark diving, and had to spend the night in the terror of isolation while predators I couldn’t see slammed against my legs.
  • I had a dream where I was martyred in Chicago; a terrorist strapped me to the bombs he had strung across the building.
  • Multiple other dreams of being shot, stabbed, tortured, my family being killed, etc.
  • All my optional-topic papers this year were written on suicide.
  • In middle school I contemplated running away just to have a hard, somewhat scary, experience
  • I like having a terminal illness
  • I love hospitals
  • We had a persecution simulation here on project, and I wanted more abuse (for me, not others) just so I could feel it more.
  • I loved experiencing the slums/poverty of Haiti for 4 weeks last summer

I am passionate about pain and death. I enjoy thinking about it. It is a great interest of mine. (I don't want to be institutionalized.)

I’ve been trying to crack that question for awhile; an answer more than “God made me that way”.

*Possible answer to why I want to suffer more: I’ve had a little taste of sacrificing for my Lord, and it’s left me with an insatiable desire to do so more.

            *I do ask to suffer more, I have asked before. (I even dream about it, if you couldn’t tell haha.)

Okay, so what do I like about suffering?:
  • There’s no b.s.. We’re all the same when we’re in deep pain. We cut the crap of life.
  •   There’s, once again, deep meaning and worth in life. No flaky, boring, everyday, mundane, fluffy-ness. Suddenly everything matters. I love that.
  • People stop judging and start caring. People get over themselves and think about life being bigger than satisfying their own pleasures.
  • God meets me there. I have never felt so loved, understood by, or close to God as I have in the midst of terrible pain. I learned dependence on Him. I learn just a step more of what the cross meant. I get a glimpse of the beauty of the Man of Sorrows.

There is so much beauty in suffering.

  • I was worshipping in a church in Haiti one time. Those people worshipped SO powerfully, it moved me. My mom commented on how there’s not enough need/suffering in the U.S. for us to worship like that.
  • I want to experience that deep pain because that makes God more real. I want to experience an underground, illegal house church because those people had to sacrifice a lot to even be there (safety, comfort, friends, family, etc.). They do this because they understand who God is and that He’s worthy. God means so much more to them because He’s needed so much more. I want a passion for God so strong, born out of a need so deep.

There’s so much beauty in pain.
  • God’s love and goodness is magnified when brokenness and despair are increased. The deeper more intense pain shines an even brighter spotlight on His beauty and love.
  • Suffering is an honor because it’s an opportunity to show my love for Christ. Suffering glorifies Him. Why? Because it magnifies His grace and love. It demonstrates His power. If this is true, and I believe it is, then let me suffer MORE.
  • (James 1) Trials produce perseverance which produces maturity, completeness, and wisdom.
  • I love wisdom and understanding. I feel like there is so much wisdom in suffering because you shake off childish ways, ignorance, carelessness, surface-leveled-ness, and you begin to see depth and understand life more. You begin to question things like why you’re even alive, what you’re living for, etc. Things I think need to be questioned.
  • It gives a compassion; a stepping out of yourself and your own world. A love that comes with meaning and depth.
  • I am fascinated with suffering. Because it is something seemingly so terrible, yet by far has been the best part of my life. Not because it made me the most delighted, comfortable, or safe- but rather because it has taught me, imparted wisdom on me, grown a character and perseverance within me, grown a compassion for others, and made me question and find what I’m living for and why. I love suffering because it has pushed me off the cliff of my own safe little world, thrusting me into a deepness and darkness that hurts, but I love so much.
  • Why do we think the best things in this world are those which immediately make us feel good? Do we not have patience or understanding enough to wait for deep beauty? To see true value?
  • I think some people really are happy/content living at the surface. But they miss out on the unexplainable beauty of the reef and world below the waves. Venturing even farther, one must face fear and pain to go into the darkness and depths of the ocean. Yet, those who do experience and see the most amazing things, things that are so beautiful, and strike awe within us. Things that actually make us shut up and see the world around us. Things that are rare; are beautiful. Deeply meaningful, valuable, priceless things aren’t found with ease, nor are deep, meaningful lives lived in the safety of pure happiness with no risks or pain.
  • I’ve found priceless companionship in suffering. I have found the One who never leaves and always understands.

I love suffering because it has pushed me into these depths where I see things I never would have even imagined on the surface. I see more clearly the face of God, because I’m looking at my own less. Because, for once, I am NOT ENOUGH; to survive I’ll need something greater than myself. I can’t carry myself through deep pain.

I love suffering because somehow this almighty God has turned something terrible into something deeply valuable, that even blesses me.

I love suffering because of, and only because of,  who God is.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015



I haven’t posted in awhile. Mainly because I haven’t known what to say. Things are happening, as they always are on project, but I’m not 100% sure what’s happening in ME, thus I avoided writing about it.
And now that I’ve waited even longer, it’s even harder for me to know what to say.

But, something that I have been realizing is how the overarching theme for my summer is F E A R.

The first couple weeks I spent facing and battling my insecurities. Those were rooted in the fear that I wasn’t enough.
The next couple weeks were spent facing the hurt of my past, which was thrust in my face again due to present circumstances. Satan used my situation at work to rub my biggest fears of emotional pain in my face and bring me back to the beginning of it all.
These last weeks have been dealing with my biggest fears of emotional pain as well, but presented in yet different situations from different angles.

(I know that’s extremely general, but in respect for others I’m not going to publish details on the Internet. But feel free to ask me personally! (Also, I hate general posts, because there is so much power in vulnerability. But I’m trying to be honest and respectful, so bear with me please. haha))

Even so, this is surprising to me, for I never considered myself a fearful person. Yet all these things have been showing me the depths of my distrust and unbelief in the Lord and His sovereignty. Like, where is my faith – really?

One thing I am learning though, is just how NOT neutral prayer is. I am starting to realize how every single prayer has an effect, because God promises to answer ever prayer. If this is true, and if I really understood the power of prayer, then spending time in communion with my Lord is one of the most important things I can do with my time; ever.
This has become so dear to me, as I am not always strong enough to go out and evangelize on the boardwalk. How can I still be a part of ministry? I have loved my divine appointments not with other people, but with my dear Lord, as I take part in His mission to advance His kingdom from my bed. It is a special yet still powerful way I can be a part of His calling for me.

Also, I’d like to elaborate more on the biggest fear of my life right now: the fear of mediocrity and wastefulness.

I’m just going to share with you a little from my journal during my quiet time the other night:

“I’m so scared of settling. Of forsaking Christ and His call of sacrifice and surrender and wasting opportunities to live a reckless faith like life that is incredibly effective and powerful.

In this is the honesty of my struggle in seeing how a life in middle class American could be more effective in advancing God’s kingdom than giving up everything and moving to bring the gospel for the first time to unreached people groups. I know the whole truth that “God is sovereign and it’s only through His power that you could even be effective and you know wherever He calls you, you will be effective the exact amount that He wants you to be.” Great.
Now back to my reality and fears. I’m scared that if I stay in the states I will become comfortable or distracted with worldly affairs and wouldn’t really evangelize. And I fear this so much because this is the majority of what I’ve seen in the modern American church. So, why would it be different for me? I’m not any stronger in my faith that others. I’m so afraid of that.

I’m afraid to waste my life. But, underneath that, I think I’m afraid I will disappoint God, and be nothing more than a very dispensable piece of flesh. Does this go back to my deep-seated, secret belief that Christ’s like for me is really works and results based? Does it speak to more depth of my distrust in God’s sovereignty? Is part of my desire to move abroad actually a semi-escape plan? A hope that I can escape an inevitable reality and future of failure? I think yeah.

My thoughts real quick: America is so Bible saturated! There is such a movement here. I trust in how God is working through our leaders! Sure, it’s not all great, but there IS A MOVEMENT. What about Iraq? India? Thailand? The Philippines? Etc! they DON’T EVEN HAVE A MOVEMENT. THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT LOVE IS. HOW can I stay?! How could this EVER be a better place for me to stay and minister?! How much do I have to value self and comfort over people’s souls to keep me here? Yes. I believe people are called to stay – we can’t all get up and move, otherwise our movement would fall apart. But, what if I am being called abroad? I feel there aren’t enough of us seriously asking that question.

But- this also leads me to another level. What if this is ignorant surface-level passion? My worry is that the reality of our lives – of my life – is that these hopes and dreams actually don’t come true. They’re just ignorant, baby adult dreams That people don’t actually do crazy and awesome things for Jesus. Only a select few, extraordinary, celebrity Christians actually lead lives like David Platt, Francis Chan, or Beth Guckenberger. But me? Yeah, I’m ordinary. I need to be hit in the face with reality and understand and accept that I’ll be living an ordinary, sub-par, typical middle class American Christian life. Deal with it. That is what I’m scared of.

That’s one reason why I love being sick with a terminal illness, because that’s a call to suffer that much more and live a life that’s a little more challenging.
Getting just a small taste of what it’s like to suffer and sacrifice even just a little for God has left me with an insatiable longing to do so more.

So God, what will you have me do? I truly am saying, “Here I am, send me.” I am willing to sacrifice and I trust that when the time comes when you ask me to sacrifice something I can’t, you will enable me to obey with your mercy and grace.”

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Subtly Wonderful

Last week was wonderful for a few reasons.

I had the (forced) opportunity to do nothing but pray for two and a half hours. I had the (not at all optional) opportunity to not say a word or move for 150 minutes.
It was incredible actually. At first I was simply praying for topic suggested (one I didn’t have many opinions, feelings, or even thoughts about). But after I got over the hope that I would start doing something “entertaining” soon, I was like screw it Jesus- I’m done staying surface level with you. I’m diving in deep and having my interrupted sweet time with Jesus. It was so beautiful.

I realized for the first time the truth of these “rules” of prayer, which I have heard by an author previously (*by no means actual rules haha):
1.     Pray till you pray
2.     Pray till you’re conscious of being heard
3.     Pray until you receive an answer

At first I was just praying. It was simple communication with God. I was honest about it, and it was genuine, but it wasn’t anywhere near the depths of my heart. By around 1.5 hours, I had given up all caution and hesitance, and seriously opened my heart to the act of praying. I can’t explain it in words well, but it was one of the first times where I’ve undoubtedly understood being in the presence of God through prayer, and feeling uninterrupted communion with Him. I found a depth of prayer I don’t think I’ve gotten to before. It’s opened my eyes to a whole other layer of prayer, and opened the door to a whole new potential life of prayer.

Also, I realized what people actually mean when they say “you can’t not care about something you pray for”.

Before, I would pray for things that I felt like I should, and in the way I new was “upright”, but my heart would remain largely indifferent. But after spending 2.5 hours in prayer for ONE thing that I really did have 0 thoughts on prior, I left feeling that thing so incredibly and unexplainably dear to my heart. Which was just a super cool thing to see; God so tangibly using prayer to open my eyes and heart to this thing and change my heart to reflect and understand more of His. I seriously think that I need to spend extended, deep, intentional time in prayer multiple times a week- and see how God changes first my heart, and then my life.


We had a 5-hour date night last Thursday. I was feeling sort of out of it, and wasn’t able to focus on a single thought or passage. After spending an hour frustrated, I started watching a sermon by Francis Chan on prayer that is dear to my heart. The way he speaks about his relationship with his Abba, his daddy, is so incredibly moving because it’s so genuine, sincere, sweet, and deep. I didn’t even finish it but was like oh Lord, that is what I want to experience with You. I feel like I’ve focused so much on the intellectual part of God lately, and was missing the relational side.

So I decided to go on a prayer/worship walk. I put my ear buds in, and started playing all my favorite worship songs that reach my heart in just the right way (you know how it is haha). It was a rainy/cloudy day and the beach was empty, so I decided to walk in the waves. I stopped under the pier and started just singing and dancing and worshipping! It was such a beautiful moment, and I stopped caring about who walked by or pointed me out to their friends haha.
I was just enjoying God’s glory and His majesty and THEN:


there was a DOLPHIN just out a ways from the pier!!

In that moment I almost started crying ahah because God KNEW there was a dolphin there- and He knew I was going to see it, and He knows how much I adore dolphins (because He made me that way) and how much joy it would bring me!! He demonstrated His pure and unconditional and unfathomable love for me in that moment by bringing this dolphin into my sight just as I was searching for it.

The view from under the pier.

I feel like recently I haven’t been learning a lot of GROUND-BREAKING, LIFE-SHATTERING, MIND-BLOWING, EARTH-QUAKING things that will shape my life till kingdom come, but I have been experiencing such sweet mini revelations, that I pray will grow and continue to re-shape my relationship with Christ. 

**Also have been dwelling on the following definition and description of living the Spirit-filled life: letting Jesus relive His life again through you.

- What would that look like? How would that change my everyday life? How can I pray to the Spirit to move through me and pour God’s supernatural and divine love and power through my life?