Monday, October 21, 2013

His strength is perfect...just some needed reminders...

2 Peter 1:2-4 (NLT)
May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
Growing in Faith (this title was listed on the biblegateway fitting...)
By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the One who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence. And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (AMP)
But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!
10 So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength).

So it's been a bit of a tough week spiritually and emotionally, and I'm longing tonight to cling to His great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:2-4; Joshua 23:14), especially the one where He promises His strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) because lately I have felt like an inadequate, weak, failure on so many levels. 

Even in the midst of this "storm," I have been reminded of precious nuggets of His Truth, which makes me thankful that He even takes the time for these reminders. I reflect upon the past 18 years (18 years tomorrow- October 22!) I have been in a relationship with Jesus:
Thankful He chose me, forgave me, and saved me (John 15)
Thankful for His enduring love (Psalm 136) that endures through all my stupidity
Thankful for His inexhaustible patience (1 Timothy 1:12-17) even when I am so impatient with myself and others
Thankful for His unfathomable understanding (Isaiah 40:28) even when I have no idea why He even bothers with me and I don't understand myself
Thankful He hears me (Psalm 55:17; 145:19; Prov.15:29; Isaiah 30:19; 1 John 5:14-15) and He actually listens with a heart full of unfailing love that I can't begin to comprehend (1 John 3:1)
Thankful He daily bears my burdens (Psalm 68:19-20)
Thankful He knows everything about me (Psalm 139)- even the number of hairs on my head! and He isn't discouraged by how futile I am (Psalm 103)...oh how faithful He is!

So many other reasons I could list, but these are just to name a few as I am in desperate need of remembering the goodness of the Lord and His mercies towards me...for they are new EVERY morning (Lamentations 3)...and His goodness and mercy will follow me ALL the days of my life (Psalm 23)...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Nothing says 'welcome home' like a dead cat and a mutant flying cockroach!

Well I made it to Taiwan safely a couple of days ago. Been trying to get settled in and recover from jet lag (boy, that's an ordeal!).

It was smooth flying the whole way...on the long flight (13 hours) from Dallas to Tokyo I even had a row of 5 seats all to myself!!! It was a beautiful thing!! Everything went great and then when I got back to school/my apartment things got a little wacky! 

First, there was a rotting cat carcass on my front porch (Not sure if it was a stray or the lady's downstairs). It was so gross!! Thankfully, my head boss (the superintendent of the school) was awake at 10 o'clock at night and he came over with a shovel and removed it. Then when I got inside my apartment a HUGE FLYING cockroach (the size of a small rodent) decided to accompany me inside and start flying around the living room!! After that, I found two small maggots kind of inching around my front door (probably tracked in from my shoes). Then, I had a very cold shower (gas wasn't working) to settle me down for the night (not!). 
Needless to say, it was quite the adventure getting home. hahaha

Overall, though, it's good to be back even though there is still some anxiety lingering around in my mind (and stomach) about starting the school year and other things. Prayers are always appreciated!

Anyways, just writing a quick note to let you all know I am safe and that I miss you all so very much. 

I had a very full and blessed summer and it was wonderful seeing each of you this summer. I hope to keep in better touch with you. 

Here are some pictures from my time in the US. Hope you enjoy!

My friend Amanda's oldest son's birthday (he's the one with the hat on!)

Washington DC pictures...starting off the summer with an NKOTB concert!!

Boyz II Men

Waiting for New Kids on the Block!

98 degrees (didn't really know any of their songs)

New Kids is next!! Wahoo!!



They aren't so "New" anymore, but they still put on a GREAT show!!

Touring DC with the Library of Congress

Library of Congress...such beautiful architecture in DC

Beautiful day in DC

Very symbolic...I live in the "Far East" and Liz is in "the West"..haha

WARNING: Goofy photoshoot ahead :)

Pose 1

Pose 2

Nice pose

Test shot with mini-tripod

Test shot 2

A little off-center, but fun nonetheless :)

Ended the day with an amazing and HUGE dish of pasta and veggies

Surprise belated birthday party for me with these beautiful friends

Delicious homecooked gourmet meal by the Mitchells (Cater even attempted to write something in Taiwanese!)

The Mitchells :)

My last day in DC with a few hours to kill, so I toured a bit of Arlington National Cemetery. This is the view from the "Robert E. Lee" memorial house

Weirdo :)

Robert E. Lee's house (Technically George Washington's stepson's house first...learned some history while I was there!)

Saw this on a soldier's tombstone. Very powerful.

Second half of the trip was to Sunny South Florida!
My 2nd family...the Sanfords (minus Mr. Sanford, Ryan, and Kristin...they were outside!)

My "adopted nephews" (2 of the 3)
Matthias (top) Luke (bottom)

Gotta love random things..."Ohio Redneck" apparently living in South Florida

Kristin and Jessica after Jessica's wonderful children's theater performance 

My youngest brudda Mason (who is now taller than me!)

Hollywood Beach...oh how I have missed this place!

Took a drive by my old house

My dad :)

Back to Ohio for the last 3 weeks of my summer break in the US:
 My friend Nate

My family :) (some of them)

My friend Haley and her sweet family

 My former Bible Study leader, Terri (how I miss being under her teaching!)

My dear former small group leaders and their daughters...The Goodwins

Saw this sign...struck me as I thought the only way to freedom ("liberty") is through Grace (God's grace)

Special dinner with the family

Great view of Cincinnati from the restaurant

Mom & Jim's birthday dinner with the family

Hiking with my friend Nate in Hocking Hills, Ohio

 Mom's actual birthday evening (she'll probably kill me for posting this, but it is too funny!)

LOVE these two! Grandma and Thaddeus

Reds' Game (this picture is for you Haley! Go-gurt...was there a huge mobility problem with eating regular yogurt?

My beautiful mom and grandma :)

Visited my Grandpa Jack's grave. Miss him. 

My uncles and great grandma. Miss them too. 

Like I said, what a full and very blessed summer I had. Thanks be to God! Thankful for all my family and dear, precious friends that I was able to catch up with in person (some who I unfortunately didn't get pictures with...I'm terrible!) and on the phone. Looking forward to another great year here in Taiwan and hopefully keeping in touch with all of you back in the US.