Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lessons in Love and Community.

We were not meant to live life alone. We are designed to be a part of a community. (Please take a moment to read this incredible blog talking about the importance of such things: To Write Love on Her Arms.) God created marriage, family, and the church to meet these needs in part. But most of all, he gives us the opportunity, through the death of his son, to have a constant, meaningful, fulfilling relationship with him. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. He puts people in our paths, if even for a short time, to encourage us and point us toward him. But even these beautiful things like family and friends and church will pass away. Nothing is constant except the love of our Creator. He is without time, and without limits. He not only loves us, but he IS love. We cannot even begin to love unless we first accept his love. He gives us relationships to teach us about our relationship with him.

I have learned so many deep lessons about God's love. I learned one when my heart was broken, realizing that the way a person turned from me is the way that I turn from God. The Rocket Summer has an incredible song that says, "I will say that I'm true to you. But I'm a cheat. I don't understand. So I'll run to you." That lyric resonates so deeply with me. We cheat on God all the time. We promise to love him and serve him out of gratitude (not obligation) for the love that he has lavished on us. Yet we turn to other relationships, material possessions, or the worldly pursuits of success or pride. We cheat on him the way a spouse or boyfriend cheats, saying from one side of our mouths that we love him while kissing the enticement of sin with the other.

Another lesson I've learned from the same relationship, now redeemed through God's forgiveness and mercy, is the way that God can love us despite our mistakes. I learned to love with grace and forgiveness when God allowed me to share a bit of the pain he feels at our cheating on him. Now I learn the other side, as I see my constant failures, selfish desires, and the perceived need for control that I so desperately fight, and I know that I am loved despite my shortcomings. I feel the love that flows over me no matter my current state, whether that be one of insecurity, selfishness, or any other offense. I can do nothing to earn the love of God. He can love me no more than he already does. He can love me no less than he already does. This is a lesson that I am continuing to learn from a man that loves me in a way I never imagined being loved.

No matter God's plan, I am thankful for the lessons that he continues to give me. I am thankful that he has designed us to live in community, constantly growing and helping others to grow "as iron sharpens iron." I am immensely thankful for each friend, love, acquaintance, or even sunset that brings me closer to God and mirrors a part of my relationship with him, helping me climb closer to the goal for which I am constantly striving - to be more like him, to love more like him, to learn to rest in the love that he has for me.

To read a truly wise woman's words on what God has revealed to her about his unchanging love, click here: Kerry Hasenbalg's Blog.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Completed project, One Vision, and more.

Well, I actually finished my orphan care project and thereby my job at ProVision. I was beginning to doubt that it would ever happen! If you're interested, I would love to send you the final project. It's called, "In the Image of God: An Overview of the Needs, Strategies, and Trends in Orphan Care." Just send me your e-mail address and I'll e-mail you a pdf. I presented my findings to the staff one week ago today (my 26th birthday, which I have long dreaded truth be told), then realized with a jolt that it was my last day at that job. That was sad, but luckily, I had basically zero time to process. ha ha

The very next day, last Tuesday, I began my job at One Vision International! Can I tell you how much I love my job already? Granted, I haven't really done much yet (other than have a giant ordeal trying to get our tax exemption at Staples just now - they are the antithesis of an easy button). But it's exciting just to be here. Oh, and there's the added bonus that my work computer is a Macbook. Yeah. Nice.

On Saturday, I'm taking a group down to the Dominican Republic to see where we've been working. This means that I get to meet the 45 kids or so that will be moving into the orphanage that is currently being constructed in Jimani. (Or just outside it? I'm not quite sure.) I cannot wait! Also, this trip includes the entire Denton family, which always means fun. In the meantime, I'm trying to get a filing system set up, write some boring documents about how many vacation hours we get and stuff like that, get an office phone, and create organizational systems, application forms, etc.

My sister and I are enjoying the house. My amazing cousin Bekah and her friend Ashley came to stay with us last week, and I miss them already! Amy became addicted to Guitar Hero to the point where she is going through withdrawal and listening to the classic rock station just to get her fix. You should probably mock her for that. While you're mocking her, you should check out my new profile picture and mock her for that too.

Well, I just wanted to let you guys know that the transition is complete! I shouldn't be moving offices, homes, or jobs anytime soon! Praise God. In the last six months, I have had three different jobs, four different offices, two different living places (and almost no living place), and who knows what else. Hopefully this is the beginning of some sort of consistency. ha ha And yes, I realize that as soon as I say something like that, the world turns upside down. I think mine is turning upside down in a good way, though.