Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Announcing Refugee Research Review

Hi Friends,

I know it's been a while. There's this thing called college, and it seems to get busier the closer you get to the end.

For my senior project I have started a website that I plan to devote quite a bit of time to beyond my senior year in college. The website is called Refugee Research Review and its purpose is twofold.

1) To "facilitate studies in the area of forced migration by centralizing online research in the form of journal articles, informative websites, and current news concerning forced migrants."

2) And to provide "access to practical resources and information for those seeking to minister to and serve refugees within their own communities."

I am hoping to continue my education through a formal study of refugees and forced migration. Therefore, maintaining Refugee Research Review should contribute to my skills and passion in that area. I will still be using this blog as a place to share personal stories about what the Lord is doing in my own life, but it will probably be far more intermittent as I focus more time on this new endeavor. I hope that you will support me in it by going to check it out and leaving any feedback or questions you might have for me. Additionally, feel free to share the website on facebook or through other forms of social media.

Thanks and blessings!

Friday, October 3, 2014

These Days

Somehow I'm still getting used to these days, these days when the rain falls and the pain fills.

And it's more than just the physical. Yes, it's hard to learn to live in these days, when you have to say no and literally sit on the sidelines because it would hurt to play the game. But what's really hard is learning how to live in relation with the Father when this thorn pierces deeply.

What do I ask of Him, and how? The persistent widow was rewarded for her nagging spirit, and yet will not His grace show itself sufficient to the heart submitted to Him?

Life would be easier without it, but would I know Him so well without it? I at least wouldn't be seeking so diligently.

He, in His sovereignty of course knows best, so I want to keep trusting. But what does trust look like in these days? Does it look like quiet submission - even resignation? Or does it look like persistent belief in a particular display of His mercy?

Many sought the Jesus of the four gospels, for His magnificent healing touch. How many never succeeded in pressing through the crowds? How many did His human form in sovereignty not reach?

Did they leave empty still? Or did they find the One who imparts peace to the soul, even in the midst of pain?

Friday, September 12, 2014

1 John 2: Spoken Word

1-6: Dear friends, I want you to hear me so that you will not sin. But we will, and we do, so Jesus Christ the righteous stands to hide us from the crisis of God’s wrath and buy us with His priceless blood. 

We know that we know Him if we are not slow to obey Him. If I say that I know Him and it doesn’t show as I grow in obedience, the dark is still eating away at my heart. But if I keep what He preached then the love of God is being perfected in me. 

If you say you know God you better not blow it and show it by planting your feet in the footprints He left for you to follow. 

7-14: Friends, these ideas aren’t new, they grew from the beginning with the few who heard and were faithful. But at the same time they are new because the Light grew and the darkness flew away before it. 

If we say we love the Light and hate our brothers and sisters in the faith, then our fate is in the darkness. Those who live in the Light, love in the Light and shine so bright there’s no chance someone might trip. But those who hate live in great darkness, blind leading the blind and tripping each other all the time. But our sins have been cleansed. 

                Fathers, God has been forever, and you know Him.
                Young men, you have overcome the evil one and sin.
                Children, you know the Father and you love Him

15-17: So don’t love the world and anything is has to offer. If you love the world, you don’t really know your Father. The world is dying, like maple leaves in October, but if you do the Father’s will you will never slow dance to the freezing ground.

18-29: The world does not sneak her deception and lies into the church under the cover of night when she can walk right in, boldly in broad daylight peddling her wares in plain sight. But the world’s associates don’t associate for very long. They sell her goods and say, “So long, fair church, we sang your songs and then easily set you on the path of wrong.”

Can’t you recognize a lie?! The wares of the world are so obvious to the anointed eye! They say, “All this love and goodness is well and fine, but please, no more talk about the Son of God who died to rid us of our sin and pride.” The world rejects the Son and so cannot stand before the Father’s throne, but we who kneel before the throne and confess the risen Son will rise and stand with all the rest robed in the Saviour’s righteousness and eternal blessedness.

You don’t need me to spell this out, it has been spoken to your heart by the Spirit’s mouth. So don’t doubt, but follow what He has already taught you about. 

Abide in Him. When He comes riding on the clouds in glory you will be able to stand in confidence knowing that His righteousness is yours and you are born of Him.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Letter From Grief

Hi, my name is Grief.

Oh, I'm so sorry, am I interrupting? Why, there are tears streaming down your face, dear. This happens every time I introduce myself. I just don't have the art of subtlety, I guess.

Well, I hope you'll accept my apology, and for now you can go ahead and keep crying, but I do need to tell you a few things. I'll be staying with you for a while, so I feel there are a few things you have a right to know about me.

I have difficulty sleeping. I've heard it called insomnia, so if I'm awake at all hours of the night, try not to mind me. But, of course, like everyone, I need sleep to function, so I take naps during the day when I can squeeze them in.

Oh, and I like to come and go when I please; my schedule is rather irregular. And, like I said, I don't have the art of subtlety, so I apologize in advance if I happen to interrupt a conversation, class, or date. I hope your friends and family will understand. I'm sure they will; they seem like very nice people.

I can't really tell you how long I'm staying... I don't really know myself. We can play it by ear, I suppose. Thank you so much for your hospitality. I'll try to give you a few minutes of space so you can stop crying and dry your eyes. See you in a few!


P.S. Oh, I forgot. I have some friends who might like to come visit as well from time to time. Their names are Anger, Distraction, and Loneliness, just so you'll recognize them if they drop by unexpectedly.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Book Review: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

"Have you ever felt lost, unable to find someone to keep company with you in your time of need? Have you felt the awkward silence filling the space as you struggle to give voice to your need? I'm learning not everyone can touch that place of empty. Not everyone knows how to stay."
-Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Bonnie Gray will question your soul over and over in this book. She will ask, "what do you really need? What do you long for most?" But she doesn't leave you empty-handed. No, she shows you where to find the answers - in Whom to find the answers. She introduces you to One who truly knows how to stay.

Bonnie's childhood trauma broke into her life in her early 40's, like a burglar breaking and entering a tranquil house in the dead of night. PTSD, panic attacks, and insomnia suddenly dominated her life. Finding Spiritual Whitespace is her journey to healing by discovering whitespace for the soul - places for her heart to rest with Jesus. It's one part memoir, one part guide, and all parts heart. I wish I had had this book a year ago when I too was struggling with panic and insomnia - the horror of PTSD.

Yet even now, it has been helpful in my own journey of healing. I both wept and rejoiced through Bonnie's story and gleaned so many ideas for rediscovering my own spiritual whitespace. Rest was created for us to enjoy, and instead of trying harder to spend time with Jesus, Bonnie reveals the truth that we are free to be with Jesus whenever and wherever our hearts feel most at home.

To give you an idea, here are a few of my own whitespaces of rest with Jesus.
- Taking a walk alone at sunset.
- Cooking a meal, unrushed.
- Buying flowers for my room.
- A daily cup of tea.
- Starting my day with a run.
- Anything beautiful and aesthetically pleasing.
- Anything, absolutely anything green.

Please, read Bonnie's book and discover your own spiritual whitespaces. Maybe you're experiencing difficult memories or a stressful season of your own, or perhaps this book is simply meant to help you know how best to extend grace to someone in Bonnie's position.