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living for more than this world...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Desert Dust and Christmas Songs

Yesterday I drove Bethany's car to the church to pick up a forgotten item. It was 104 degrees outside, ouch. I woke up at 8a.m. and it was already 92! When i got in Bethany's car I checked the CD player for music and there was a WOW Christmas CD in...not sure why but I pumped up the volume and sang (no, belted) White Christmas on a desert dusted road. Almost got stuck in a hole but thankfully I was going a bit fast so I didn't get stuck! Ah, the desert life.
I'm not sure why but Dubai doesn't sparkle like it use to. Maybe it's because I know workers who are underpaid and over-worked. Maybe it's because materialism makes my stomach hurt. Maybe it's because I simply miss the trees and cornfields of Ohio. I bet it's because I know Dubai now and it isn't as big as it once was. We've conquered Dubai. It was unknown and huge when we first arrived and now I have an understanding of life here, how it works and who it works for. I asked myself EVERYDAY what it would be like to live in the Middle East and now I know; it's a man-made heaven in the middle of a desert. But every man made heaven has a flaw, it's made by man. What is made by man is also destroyed by man and what can be destroyed by man will not exist in glory.
So pray for the Middle East. Pray that those who are investing in Glory will reap what they sow. Pray that the destruction of a man-made heaven will also cause a destruction of pride and an understanding of sin.
But I must say, I will miss Dubai SO very much. I will miss all the different kinds of people, walking to the beach, hoses in the washrooms, and indoor skiing to name a few. What a crazy and unexpected experience this semester has been, I wouldn't trade it for anything.
It's going to be so great to stumble out of the airport onto green grass. I simply can't wait.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sour longings

I don't know exactly where i belong right now. I like to think that there is a place for me and I'm neither complete nor is that place complete until I'm there. It very well may not work that way but I often hope it does. I think that we are born with a longing for a place to fit. Why else would preteen boys scream stupid things at people in public? Why else would children feel a need to have a BEST friend? Why else would teenage girls run into the arms of a not-so-considerate-guy? Why else would someone jump out of a FAMILY raft at a water park? p.s. that last one isn't made up...i did that about a month ago for a laugh and i'm still healing from it (both my knee and my pride). We do these things to feel like we're accepted and loved. We do it to belong. Did i prove myself part of the group when I jumped out of the raft and couldn't get back in? not really but I had a false sense of acceptance and that was good enough for the time being.

it's okay....you can laugh

I see people I love grasping to things that aren't grasping back and that breaks my heart. I sometimes feel a desperate desire to grab those girls (my little cousins, girls from youth group or girls from high school who are getting ready for college) and hold them tight. "You belong. Christ has calls you His own." I worry that if i were to do that, it would freak them out...so i try avoid overbearing moments such as these :)
I guess insecurity rears is ugly head through all stages of life. I'm extremely anxious about next semester. What will I do? Where will I go? Will I be accepted?
I am called. I am chosen. There is a place for me in God's kingdom (both on earth and in Heaven) and I will go where He wants me. So stop it, Emma. Loosen your grip and shake off the anxiety. It's not of God.

whew. I feel better already.

I went away to camp in Arkansas for 2 weeks when i was much younger -don't ask me why, i still don't understand my reasoning. I really hated most of it. I hated that girls would gather every day to shave their legs together and I hated that the counselor picked favorites. Every night I wrote a pathetic letter home and mumbled to myself before bed, "I want to go home". Two weeks went by and I lived to make it home to Ohio. shocker. What's strange is that even when I finally got home I still mumbled, "I want to go home" most nights before bed.
Home. Heaven is my true home. it's the ultimate belonging. I can't explain why else I still felt a sour desire to go home. That's the best I can figure but now I try not to get depressed about home, I try to rejoice in it instead! Someday we'll be home.
So maybe next time I think it's cool to be 19 years old and jump out of a family raft I'll ask myself, "Am I doing this for acceptance? If not then go ahead and be an idiot, if you please. just don't get caught. or hurt. or deported."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bed time story

So I'm tucking Emma (little Emma) into bed, I kiss her on the forehead and she says...
"Did you eat eggs?"
"Well you smell like eggs."
"Hm. Okay Goodnight."
"You've smelled like eggs all night."
"Uh Sorry. Sleep well, Emma"

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Weekend

I feel as though this church has blessed me even further than i am able to understand at this point in my life. Last night we had our weekly Bible study for adults which means we (children's ministry folk) provide a service for the little ones aswell. My group includes ages 4-10 and I have been so touched in my time with these kids. Last night we talked about the crucifixion and I decided to read straight from the Bible rather than tell the story in my own words. They were silent the entire time (partially due to the "special occation cookies" i strategically provided) but also partly due to the fact that the Word of God needs no embellishment. The word has no need for someone to dumb it down because children will understand what God reveals to them. After reading we talked about the scripture a bit and they were the most serious i've ever seen them, there wasn't even a hint of silliness. It was pretty shocking to me. Before class we taped sins to a paper person and after our discussion we moved the sins from the person to the cross. God is so good. They had amazing questions- questions I never thought to ask at that age.
This morning I sat in on a class for the 5 year old's and i was nearly in tears hearing a child explain the sacrifice of Christ. He basically walked through salvation with me. At one point he said "God turned His back on Jesus and that's why everything got dark- it was that bad." What a cutie!
How precious it is to see salvation in a new way. Like John said this morning, do you understand the weight of this good news? Christ died and rose again, this news is beyond good, it's life saving. Anna, being the dear friend that she is, often attend early service with me and after a powerful message we sang "In Christ Alone" which happens to be her favorite song. I accidentally laughed a few times because of the immense joy welling up. How blessed i am to stand next to a friend, who has become more like a sister, and sing about the sweet taste of salvation. How blessed i am to learn from children and their sincere thirst for understanding. It's all by the grace of God.
(for Anna)
...This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.