Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Life Update

My blog has been a lot of essays lately, which is good since I am writing a lot of them. But I feel it is time to let you, whoever "you" are, know how life is going.

Life is going GREAT!! God has been giving me so much peace and joy. The Bible says that if we make the right choice to follow Him, then we will get everlasting joy, and it was RIGHT! I am not living in the past anymore, nor in the future, I am not looking even into the next hour, I am just looking at my Father and trusting Him to take me wherever it is best for me to go.

School is fine. I have my first mid-term in Math 111 on Friday and I am sort of worried because my math teacher says that usually the first exam is an eye-opener and most of the students do really poorly on it, so we should STUDY, STUDY, STUDY! So that is what I will be doing till then. Geography is "okay." My teacher is not the greatest but I have had the pleasure of having three of my four teachers so far be great so it is time to have a bad one. I like reading about all the different parts of the world though. My only dilemma is it makes me want to travel SO bad! :)

Work is going well too. I am working for my uncle at his airplane restoration business in OR City, on Mondays and Wednesdays and I LOVE IT. But today, we brought his retired, 80-foot fishing boat up (or down) the Columbia River to its new home in Camas, WA. That was a blast. I love getting to spend so much time my best friend, also my cousin, and the rest of them. Plus, it is nice to get out of the city...

Well, I have a stack of homework with my name on it... Keep praying for me, I need it. But God is faithful to strengthen us as long as we keep our eyes fixed on Him.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Something to think about...

Face it- I am a hopeless romantic. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that though, but sometimes it is annoying, to myself. I just finished that Indian movie, “Dil to Pagal Hai.” It made me so, I don’t know, excited and romantic as well as expectant. I can’t wait to be in love. I can’t wait till I feel this way:

“When he looks at me, I feel beautiful. When he laughs, I feel like dancing. When he loves me, my eyes fill with tears. He has made me realize that he is made for me, and I for him.”

But for now, until God sees fit to give me that, I will work on my relationship with the Lord and with my family. I need to feel that way about the Lord and develop a more personal relationship with Him. I want to, too. He has done so much for me; He is deserving of everything I could give Him, He is deserving of all of me.

All my life, people have been telling me they loved me. My parents told me. My family told me. Friends told me. Guys told me. But, it doesn’t matter what they tell me. What matters is what they do. My dad left us, my mom and all six of us kids. My big brother left us too. My friends have rejected me for the truth that God has given me to give them. Most of those guys wanted me to hold back a crucial, if not the most crucial, part of me, my faith in God, in order to have a relationship with them. If these people truly loved me, their actions would have been in my best interest. But they weren’t. All their actions were in their best interest. They did what felt good.

Other people have told me they loved me, and truly shown it. My mom gave up her marriage so that we children would be safe from an immature father, who was emotionally abusive. My best friend Becki will tell me the truth, that I need to hear, instead of holding back out of fear of my getting offended. Most of all, God has told me He loves me and has proven it in every action He has ever taken towards me, every single one.

So love is not what you say, it is what you do. I want to prove my love for God with my actions. I want to prove my love for my family with the way I relate to them. And when I meet the man I am going to marry, I want to prove my love to him through what I do, not only through what I say.

Friday, April 21, 2006

A Little Bit of Me

As I look back over this past decade, I wish I could rewind time, and do it all over again. I would change so much, and yet, I know this doesn’t make sense, I would change so little. I would have wanted to meet all the people I have met, been in almost all the “guy-girl” relationships I have, and experienced almost everything I have.

I remember being 8. I had a short pixie cut, wore dresses only when forced, and loved running around with the boys. I prided myself on not crying when I got hurt. I thought blood was cool and scars were the mark of an adventurer, of someone who took the road less traveled. I was more of a monkey than a little girl. I loved trees and the forest. I loved dirt and everything about dirt, especially making mud pies and mud balls. I loved taking risks, like chasing horses (which got my cheekbone shattered into dozens of pieces). I loved bugs, especially worms. I was a little tomboy. What happened to my 8-year old self???

I remember being 15. When I was 15, I was mostly the “pretty” girl, who screamed if she saw a spider, and liked wearing lip gloss and dressing up. I always wanted to be older. Sometimes my 8-year old self slipped out and I would wrestle with my sister and guy cousins, and get dirty. But, I overly cared about what other people thought, and that showed in my inhibitions.

Now I am 18, and I am finding a new self. I care less about what other people think and I like bugs again, except spiders but I never scream, unless one is actually on me. I care about improving myself spiritually and mentally. My biggest desire is no longer to find the “perfect” man but to make God happy with me, as He is as I love and obey Him.They say hindsight is 20/20, and I see the truth in this. If I could do it again, I would truly love more, forgive more, give more of myself to others, get away from the mirror and go outside more.

I have been listening to a song called, “It’s Getting Better All the Time.” I just got through one of the best and worst school terms in my entire life. It is bizarre to think that any experience can be both the best and the worst but last term was just that. If I could live it over, I would have thought more about the other person and less about my own feelings, I would have shared God’s love with everyone I met, and I would have been grateful for every day and every experience and learned from them, instead of doing the same thing over and over and making the same mistakes. Why dwell in the past? Because through learning lessons from our past, we improve our future. (Besides, I am not dwelling on the past.)

In the next decade, I want to touch everyone around me with the love of Christ. I don’t want to live based on feelings. I want to live in truth, in love, in peace, and I want to live for everyone but myself. Doesn’t that sound funny? The whole message of the world is to make yourself happy; take care of number one, etc., etc. But that is SELF-love. I want to live full of love for others, for GOD!!

A line in that song is, “God won’t make a mountain I can’t climb; it’s getting better all the time.” It is, slowly but surely. I look impatiently to the future. When I am 28, what will I be doing? Where will I be? What kind of woman will this little girl have become? Will I be proud of myself and look back on the decade, that is now in front of me, and say, “Wow! God made that decade an amazingly beautiful journey! I wouldn’t change a thing!” Will I be married? What kind of man will he be? Wouldn’t it be funny if I know that man now, and later down the line, I marry him? Who knows??? Only God, and He isn’t telling. All He is going to say now is, “I have the most perfect, happy, wonderful, marvelous life planned out for you. EVERY good desire of your heart WILL be fulfilled. But now, as you face out into the unknown, all I ask of you is that you trust me. Because this life in front of you is not a path strewn with roses. But every step you take, towards Me, towards life everlasting, I will be beside you. I will always hold your hand. And if the road gets especially rocky, you can climb into My arms, and I will carry you. Just trust me now. Just trust.”

Sunday, April 16, 2006

What a fantastic, amazing day!

Today, (at least this is the day historians accord to it) two thousand years ago, MY Lord died for ME, (and for you) and rose again-FOR US!! He paved the way for us to find true, everlasting joy and peace in Him. I am forever grateful for that. Any sacrifice I can make for Him would be insignificant for the sacrifice He made for me. Happy Easter! HE IS RISEN!

"Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, Who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!"

"Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior,
Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!

Death cannot keep its Prey, Jesus my Savior;
He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!


Friday, April 14, 2006

I don't have anything to say...

I really don't. My last couple days have been pretty good because God is helping me to stay focused on Him. Today I go to my dad's for the weekend and that should be interesting, as always. So pray for me....

But first, I have to get to school early to try to get my math homework done, then an hour-long class (today is our short day, on Tues. and Thurs. it is a two-hour class,) and then, then the weekend!!!

Monday, April 10, 2006

What is my reality?

I don't feel like a slacker anymore, because I am working for my uncle again, out in OR City. I basically do a lot of repetitive stuff, like stapling airplane ribs. So I have a lot of time to think, once I have my groove down. I guess the biggest thing I have been struggling with this past week has been staying in reality about everything- about the trials in my life (which are few) and the blessings (which are many.)

Reality for me is whatever God wants it to be. What is reality for, say, the people I worked with at the pool, isn't necesarily reality for me. I mean, it didn't make sense to any of them, really, when I quit my job at a moment's notice. It doesn't make sense to people when I tell them, bluntly, that I can't really be in contact with them anymore. It doesn't make sense that I would purposely break my cell phone, so it doesn't distract me from my reality. I think when we start demanding reasons from God, that is when we have left the true Christian path of blind faith. God can see the big picture, therefore, hardly anything He does makes "sense" to us humans.

What is the big picture? We use that term a lot but what do we mean by it? I suppose the big picture is all the puzzle pieces that our human minds can't comprehend all at once, formed to make a puzzle. That didn't help did it? That's because you can't fully understand exactly what I am getting at without being in my head. THAT is the "big picture". We can't fully understand God's motives and reasons for all the seemingly bizarre things He asks us to do without being God, and we are never going to be that. So, we have to live in blind faith.

(I don't know if that helped you at all. I guess it doesn't have to, entirely, because I am writing this as much for me as I am for you.)

Another thing for you to contemplate: "No man is a fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose." (Jim Elliot) I couldn't keep my job forever. I can't keep a friendship for the rest of my life. I can't keep anything that is physical. It would be foolish of me to try. All things that are "ours" are ours from the Lord. But, God is sometimes an "indian giver." He loans us things to take care of but not always forever. We can't get mad at Him when He takes back what is rightfully His!! The only way to prevent heartbreak when God takes things away from us (always in our best interest, mind you!) is to not cling to them. It really is that simple. So my new plan of attack is this: whenever I make a new friend, or grow closer to old ones, I do it with open hands, (and same with anything physical.) In the past, I held onto things that were dear to me with white-knuckled fists; therefore, it hurt when God ripped them away from me. Now, I say, "Thank You, Lord, for this blessing. I only desire what You want for me, Lord, so if this isn't Your will, I will obey and be content in the knowledge that You know best." When we do this, we "gain what we cannot lose:" eternal life. This is God's promise to us.

Friday, April 07, 2006

A Different Sort of Love

Looking back over the past 5 years, I remember quite a few guys who "liked" me. Interestingly, they all liked the exact same things about me,

  1. My physical appearance: this includes my "beauty," my athleticism, etc.
  2. My humor/wit
  3. My love/ability to have a very good time at whatever I do

I have also "liked" quite a few guys. I liked unique things about each of them but a similar vein is apparent; I liked,

  1. Their outward appearance (esp. their eyes and smile, their height/stength (but not to a huge extent.))
  2. Their ability to make me laugh (i.e. humor)
  3. Certain things about their nature (i.e. cavalier towards women, gentle, smart, perceptive (to feelings, needs, etc.), masculinity etc.)
  4. Attraction to the same things, hobbies, etc. as me

But the more time I spend thinking about these things, the more I realize that I want to be liked, and to like, for who I am spiritually, not who I am physically.

My physical appearance is like a quickly fading flower. As I look at my grandmother, I can see that anyone looking at her from a purely physical perspective would see an old woman, worn down and tired. When I look at all the old photographs we have of her, I see an amazingly beautiful woman, the sort that makes you take a second look at her when she is walking down the street. Today, she is nothing like that. But when I look at her, I still see a radiating beauty in her face. She shines with Christ's love from the moment she wakes up to the moment she goes to sleep. She is in great physical pain sometimes, but she never, never complains and goes out of her way to lighten our days and lift us up.Everyone who meets her, loves her for this, not for her outward appearance.

At school, I have been making myself go towards the people who are not "beautiful" and witty, because often, I have discovered, the least attractive people have the best, most constructive things to say.

When I sit in my math class, three incredibly attractive girls and a handsome boy sit at the table to the right of mine. I am naturally drawn to them. But as I listen to their conversations they never say anything of value, and all they talk about is boyfriends, manicures, and movies. This is because what they truly care about it is what they look like. I am not saying there is anything wrong with taking care of your outward appearance, but I am saying that when your appearance is who you are, therein lies the problem.

So my problem is that all the guys who have liked me, have liked me for fairly physical reasons. Even though liking me for my humor/wit is slightly better than for my face, my mind could be taken from me by a stroke or a crippling fall. Anything that is physical is fleeting.

However, I don't think it is the fault of those guys because they are liking me because of what were the biggest features about me. I mean to say, what have I been cultivating for the past few years? Have I been studying the big issues in this world? Or have I most cared about what is the biggest fashion faux-paus? To say I haven't cared about this big issues at all, is a little extreme. But I haven't cared to the extent that I cared about things that are "here today and gone tomorrow."

I have been thinking about this all morning and have to come to these conclusions:

  1. It would give me great joy if the next time a guy told me he liked me, he did not mention anything about my appearance. But if he instead said, "Liberty, what I love you about is your passion for the Lord. I love that you ignite the people around you with a love for the Lord. I love that I can sit and talk with you for hours about big ideas and about Christian apologetics and politics. I love you because Christ is in you."
  2. It would also give me great joy if I could reach the point where when I became attracted to a guy, it would be because he inspired and challenged me to grow more in Christ and become closer to Him. The Bible gives the man a position of authority over us women and I have no problem with that. I just need to get to the place where the kind of man I am attracted to is just that kind of man, not one who is at a less or equal place of maturity as me (like I have been doing for the past few years.)

But for now, I am just working on the basics: I am building up my ability to live in complete blind faith in Christ, grow in courage about witnessing at school, and learning to not care what other peoples' opinion of me is-only what their opinion of God is.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

From This Moment On...

For three hours straight, I have been sobbing, heartbroken that I could have refused God such a small sacrifice as a friendship. Rev. Richard Wurmbrand’s Tortured for Christ recounts his story of persecution in communist Romania during the 40’s and 50’s. “A man really believes, not what he recites in his creed, but only the things he is ready to die for.” True Christianity is being willing to die for Christ, in ANY way that is asked.

These true stories made me cry and have deeply convinced me, in every way, shape and form, that Christ is the only one who can give me strength to get through my life, and only He is worth dying for.

Wurmbrand relates that the people behind the Iron Curtain were desperate for Christianity. Thousands who only heard a few verses or read a single tract about Christ were so convinced, that they were willing to be thrown into prison for their belief. “The prisons were full, and in Romania, as in all Communist countries, to be in prison means to be tortured.” These Christians, some of whom had only ever heard Christ’s name, were willing to be tortured for His sake.

“A pastor, by the name of Florescu, was tortured with red-hot iron pokers and with knives. He was beaten very badly. Then starving rats were driven into his cell through a large pipe. He could not sleep because he had to defend himself all the time. If he rested a moment, the rats would attack him.
He was forced to stand for two weeks, day and night. The Communists wished to compel him to betray his brethren, but he resisted steadfastly. Eventually, they brought his fourteen-year-old son to the prison and began to whip the boy in front of his father, saying they would continue to beat him until the pastor said what they wished him to say. The poor man was half mad. He bore it as long as he could, then he cried to his son, “Alexander, I must say what they want! I can’t bear your beating anymore!” The son answered, “Father, don’t do me the injustice of having a traitor as a parent. Withstand! If they kill me, I will die with the words, ‘Jesus and my fatherland.’” The Communists, enraged, fell upon the child and beat him to death. He died praising God.” (Tortured for Christ, pg. 34)

How great a faith this young man had!! He was four years younger than me and he willingly, joyfully sacrificed his life for the sake of Christ!! Before I started reading this book, I felt insufficient to the task in front of me. But now, all I feel is complete and total shame. The farce of what I had been telling myself is revealed. Those Christians and those who are giving their lives in the same ways today were given the strength to continue, even to the point of death. What a great sin it would be, to give up because I felt insufficient or weak.

Since the relationship God is demanding I give up is with a guy, it is only fitting I include this story. I cried for a long time over this. I pray, oh, how fervently I pray, that God will give me a similar faith and a passion for Him.

“One of our workers in the Underground Church was a young girl. The Communist police discovered that she secretly spread gospels and taught children about Christ. They decided to arrest her. But to make the arrest as agonizing and painful as they could, they decided to delay her arrest a few weeks, until the day she was to be married. On her wedding day, the girl was dressed as a bride-the most wonderful, joyous day in a girl’s life! Suddenly the door burst open and the secret police rushed in.
When the bride saw the secret police, she held out her arms toward them to be handcuffed. They roughly put the manacles on her wrists. She looked toward her beloved, kissed the chains, and said, ‘I thank my heavenly Bridegroom for this jewel He has presented me on my marriage day. I thank Him that I am worthy to suffer for Him.’ She was dragged off, with weeping Christians and a weeping bridegroom left behind. They knew what happens to young Christian girls in the hands of Communist guards. Her bridegroom faithfully waited for her. After five years, she was released-a destroyed, broken woman, looking thirty years older. She said it was the least she could do for her Christ.” (Tortured for Christ, pg. 37, 38)

Am I willing to suffer like this? I know that I could never face such great physical torment, with joy, without the Lord’s mercy and grace. But love for Christ, true Christianity, must be the kind that causes us to say, “If He asked it of me, I WOULD say ‘yes,’ and leave the rest of it up to Him.” I have come to realize, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is no point in calling myself a Christian if I do not have this attitude. In fact, it would be like spitting in the face of all the Christians who every single day of their lives get up and face this kind of a life, for Christ.

If I call themself a Christian but do not act as Christ did, and obey everything Christ says, I am like a “white-washed tomb.” Yes, even though I am deeply ashamed to admit it, I was living like that.

Christ came and died, an innocent lamb, slaughtered to atone for my sins. He asks that, in return for His sacrifice, I deny myself, take up my cross (every single day) and follow Him. To do short of that, is NOT Christianity.

This is my public apology to Christ for not obeying His commands and calling myself a Christian, when inside I was keeping something for myself instead of being 100% surrended to Christ. This is also my public proclamation that from this moment on, with everything that is in me, I will serve the Lord. But like Rev. Wurmbrand said, “A man really believes, not what he recites in his creed, but only the things he is ready to die for.” It doesn’t matter what I say, here in this blog or anywhere else, what matters is what I do.

For I am judged by my actions and there are only two places to spend eternity: heaven or hell. I want to go to heaven.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Juste signant, et hors d'encore...

I only know two people (maybe three) who can read that title, anybody else can go to an online translator like I did (not like you care THAT much), hahaha! But French is so beautiful, so I couldn't resist.

Spring term start tomorrow. Je ne attends pas avec intérêt lui beaucoup. Haha! For you un-French people, I am complaining. :) The other reason I am not looking forward to spring term is that it is math 111 and my chances of passing are slim- HOLD ON!! I need to be positive. Think happy thoughts, Liberty, happy thoughts!

I am rearranging my sister's and my bedroom. It looks so good BUT when I was shaking out the rugs, a HUGE spider jumped on me. Yes, I screamed but very delicately. (Are you laughing? Cause I sure am.) Je déteste des araignées!!! Oh, come on, even I can tell what I just said, I said I hate spiders. Simple deduction, my dear Watson! (No, I have NOT been eating sugar all morning. Haha!)

Anyway, hopefully the spider is gone now. So I am going back to work.

(Vous devriez voir comment malpropre ma pièce est en ce moment.)