Kingdom Come.

..to the praise of His glorious grace..

Better to have a God whose mystery we cannot understand than to have a God whose adequacy we can’t rely on. —Alistair Begs

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Your love has ravished my heart and taken me over. And all I want is to be with You forever. So pull me a little closer, take me a little deeper, I want to know Your heart. Cause Your love is so much sweeter than anything I’ve tasted. I want to know Your heart. I want to know Your heart.

There are few things that I find more beautiful than walking with God.

When I read the accounts of Noah and Enoch, that’s what stuck out to me. Different translations describe Noah as “walking faithfully” or “in close fellowship with” God, and the like is said of Enoch. I just can’t get over it. The idea is so beautiful to me.

You know, our history books are filled with renowned figures that stand out for their heroics, for the empires they won, for their conquests, the riches they amassed. Others we look up to for their genius, their unmatched intellect, and their contributions to the modern world. We have heroes that we hold on a pedestal, and the whole world can know their names. We fill books with their stories and lift them up. But more is said in praise of these two men of God in four words than ever could be said of them all.

He walked with God.

These were ordinary men. Simple men. Simple men that just loved their Maker deeply and walked faithfully with Him. I like to picture them in the busyness of their lives, hands in their pockets, kicking up dirt on a beaten path and just talking with God. Listening to Him.

There’s just something so special about that imagery. When two close friends walk with each other, they share confidence. They confide in each other. There is trust, their conversation is kind and sweet, and their communion is secret. Walking with God results in such a holy intimacy. God isn’t calling us to this unreachable standard of perfection or greatness. He’s just calling us to walk faithfully with Him. I know it’s not just literal, but for me sometimes I just need to make it that way. It’s a reminder of what our spiritual walks with God look like on a daily basis.

Something I don’t do nearly enough is just literally walk with God. But some of my most precious memories with Him are when I’m doing just that. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the world, in all those distractions that fight for our attention and consume our time like parasites. It’s so easy for me to lose sight of my priorities. But when I get out, shut the door behind me, and literally walk with God, that’s when things change. Hours go by. Just a little more time. Please, just a little longer! You lose sight of time. Because you’re not just walking with a friend. You’re walking with the Creator of the Universe who calls you His friend. (The words from that Misty Edwards song kept playing in my mind today over and over again- Here it’s You and me alone, God. You and me alone. You and me alone.) It’s the time I wrestle with God, ask Him a million questions like an annoying little kid, and just talk with Him. It’s okay then to say, “You know what, God? I just don’t get things” or “Let’s just talk about things,” because He’s eager to do just that. He wants us to be real with Him. It’s when I literally get out and walk with Him that nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter what it looks like- I can cry tears of sorrow or confusion, worship, skip along the road spinning in joy, or giggle with laughter… He’s there beside me every step of the way. Literally walking by my side. Not only can I talk with Him, but I have a deep longing to hear from Him. I just want to hear Him speak. And not what I want to hear Him say, but what He wants to say. It’s a conversation. It’s so easy to lose track of time this way. And there’s no more beautiful way. I want to walk with God like this no matter the circumstance. Through hardship or joy, I want it to remain constant.

I find it completely incomprehensible that my God wants to have this kind of fellowship with us. That He loves us this much.

I wish these four words could be used to describe us someday. She walked with God. He walked with God. And not that we on occasion walked with God or when convenient walked with God, but that we faithfully walked with God.

That’s my prayer.

I have doubts. I’ve got my questions. And like anyone else, I’ve got fears. I guess being a year away from graduating is forcing me to start making those decisions that I’ve been putting off for a while. I’m not the biggest fan of change. And part of me is just plain scared. I’ve spent a lot of nights just wrestling with God over what I’m supposed to be doing but I just sit in silence. Circumstances and the fear of the unknown try to tug and pull me away, but they can’t define who I am. I know who I am. I am a daughter of the King, redeemed, and precious in His sight. 

I found one verse in Psalms that I don’t ever remember reading before. It keeps coming back each night and morning. 

“On the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.”

I’ve been reading this verse each night and putting my focus to just that- meditating on who He is and what He’s done.

Who He is… now that’s something that makes my head hurt. I’m sitting here, completely overwhelmed. Where do I even start? How could I ever even begin to comprehend who He is? I’ve got this tiny idea of Him, but it doesn’t even come close. He’s far greater and more powerful than everything I can think of. He spins universes in His hands. He creates out of nothing. When I think about who He is, it keeps me up. Now, I’m definitely a faucet. When I start to think about who He is, the tears start coming. And if you know me at all, that’s not that hard to imagine at all. But thinking about who God is, it really does keep me up at night. I just remember sitting cross legged on my bed, moving back and forth from anticipation, crying out of happiness and awe, asking God a million different questions about who He is.  I want to know. I want to know. I want to know more!! When I think about just who He is, suddenly all my fears and problems are eclipsed by who He is. I have a God who is far greater than the universe, much less my fears.

What He’s done… now that. The cross. His sacrifice. His Son. How can we just talk about those things so casually? And it’s not just the fact that the God of the universe stepped in our fallen world to save us from eternal death… it’s what He’s still doing now. It’s the daily bread, the daily provision. It’s the miracles He’s worked. It’s everything He’s done in the past. The reminder that He’s always provided and He’s not forgotten. He’s never late, nor is He early (like Gandalf). When I sit down and think of all He’s done for me? When I remember.. how can I doubt? I am reminded that my God has never forgotten me or failed to meet any of my needs in the past. He’s Jehovah-jireh. When I just take the time to remember.. my fears and doubts diminish and are replaced by perfect peace.

Yes, I still worry and I’m still nervous. And I’m totally embarrassed by my lack of faith a ton of the time. But this, it’s starting to realign my perspective. Thinking about who He is and what He’s done. Thank You Lord that though I whine and doubt, You are still so perfect and You still provide. Teach me to trust You more.

“On the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.”

The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother deeply.

Your timing’s such a beautiful thing, Lord. And I wouldn’t want to speed it up for anything. I journaled this last year on Valentine’s Day, but every word rings truer still. This is my prayer:

There are mornings that I wake up and am completely overwhelmed by the reality of my Savior’s love for me. I sing, sometimes at the top of my lungs, to Him, often frustrated that I can’t find the words to even begin to express what I want to to Him. There are days that I cannot help but run outside, arms outstretched, dancing under the stars, filled with overflowing joy and childlike wonder of the loving God above me… and next to me. He’s dancing with me.

As for Valentine’s Day… it comes and goes each year. Roses, cards, romantic dinners… they are beautiful, but they pass. But for me, the holiday reminds me of the one thing stays forever- His love. The love that will remain a beautiful mystery to me this side of heaven. So this Valentine’s Day, I know Who I want to spend it with. I want to spend it in His presence- in His overwhelmingly beautiful presence. I want to soak it in. I want to sing to Him, to bring Him joy, and to bring Him pleasure. I want to spend the time immersed in His presence and His Word. And.. I want to spend that time with Him praying for my husband.

I’ve been praying for my husband for as long as I can remember. My earliest memory of it was when my mom saw us off before the bus came in elementary school and we would pray together each morning. At that time, the idea of marriage seemed an eternity away, but when I got curious and asked, she told me why she prayed. I began to understand. And I’ve prayed for him ever since because I love him. I pray for God’s hand over his life and that of his family, for his heart, for his walk with God, for protection against temptation and the work of the enemy, and for whatever it is that he’s going through every day. I pray that he would love the Lord infinitely more than he could ever love me. I love him for all his imperfections and flaws. I pray for the family we’ll have, that we would be a family of worshippers that would love and serve God and others selflessly. 

Meanwhile, I am earnestly asking God to mold me into the woman that he will need. And I’ve got a long way to go. I want to use this time for Him to work on my heart and to help me become everything my husband will need me to be. To teach me how to love the way He loves. To clothe me in strength and dignity, wisdom, and love. I want to bring my husband joy and endless laughter; to love and bring him pleasure. And to stand by his side forever. To somehow be worthy of him. I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman and wife, a woman after God’s own heart. I cannot wait to run after God’s plans for us together. To seek and honor Him together. What a beautiful thing.

But this isn’t me or him, whoever he might be. It’s about the Writer of our story. It’s about the One who’s orchestrating everything precisely in His perfect timing. And while I want to bring this for the Lord on this day, I want to spend time with the Great Writer. To bring Him joy and to just spend the time with Him. Because truth is, this Valentine’s Day, I am in love. It’s a divine romance, a beautiful love story between my Savior and I. 

That’s why I love Valentine’s Day. 

2013 Valentine’s Day win: my waiter kindly informed me I looked like an arachnid.

Haha, of all things.

This past week, wow. I was really blessed to be able to  learn about ministering to Muslim women from an incredible woman of God, a missionary to Pakistan for almost a decade. It was a long class, long hours each day, but oh how I didn’t want it to end. Having time to reflect and pray about it, my mind is a thousand different places.

Oh how God had things to do in my heart.

He worked on my heart, opened up my closed eyes, and gave a new vision of who He is and the love He has for His creation. He cleared up a bunch of unresolved junk in my heart, and gave understanding where there was confusion. And He’s still working on me.

What shouts so loudly is the emptiness of life outside of Christ. How could I ever have lived apart from Him? People are longing for truth, searching for it, and are so close to finding it in Christ. But without Him, there is nothing. What broke my heart is that Muslims fear death, for there is no guarantee of salvation, no hope after death. It is a faith based on deeds, that one might possibly someday be good enough to earn paradise. For so many, there is bondage by fear of death, of spiritual powers, of the unknown. They have no idea that God loves them so dearly. They don’t know the immeasurable worth they have in the eyes of God. In their eyes, there is no intimate love of a Savior, only fear of a god that may at any moment decide to pour out his anger upon them.

But this fear is eclipsed by the perfect love of Christ.

 We have the promise of eternal fellowship with God after this life. How beautiful, so, so beautiful. Death is not an end, but a doorway into something so beautiful that we can look forward to with anticipation. We have the love and compassion of a mighty Father who doesn’t have to love us, yet chooses to embrace us. We have this freedom, this glorious, glorious freedom in Christ. We are freed from the chains that have bound us, from the sin that entangles, from death itself… we are free. We are free! We are free!

In contrast to all else, the Father’s love and grace shines so brightly.

We are free.

I had this dream and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it all week. A dream where I am surrounded by the nations- Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, everyone. All of us standing before the presence of the Father. Blinded by the brilliance of His beauty, overwhelmed by His immensity… in awe of Him we stand. His glory radiates and that which we were blind to, we now see so clearly. We see who He is. And there is silence. Then a symphony of praise rises to the throne of God, a mighty chorus of the nations shouting praises to God over and over and over again. With all the strength within them, each praises Him. All the nations cry out to God, worshipping Him.

May it be so.

“I count my life of no value to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace.”

My favorite care package.

Every day I go to the mailroom hoping for that little blue slip that I’ll trade in for a package. At last, it finally came! I got a pretty hefty package out of the blue from my mom and written all over the box was “I love you.” When I finally opened it, carefully removing the layers of beautiful tissue paper from the top, I was delighted to find the box was full of… pomegranates!!! Anyone who knows me at all knows that pomegranates are my absolute favorite, so when I saw about 10 in that box, I was overjoyed. I screamed out of excitement!! When I called my mom to thank her, she asked how I liked the eggs. The eggs? What eggs??

Turns out my mom wanted to make it extra special for me so she prepared 10 hard boiled eggs, wrapped them individually, placed them gently and neatly on the top of the fruit, and shipped the package out priority mail so I could enjoy them. Seriously, my mom is amazing. What she hadn’t expected is the number of times the package would be overturned in transit, haha. So after perusing the package, I found the eggs. All over. Taking out all the fruit, I found what was left over at the very bottom. I couldn’t stop laughing while I was cleaning the fruit. It was hilarious. I seriously have the best mom ever. This was one of the best things I’ve ever gotten. Just the care of my mom who wanted to make me smile. Even though it didn’t turn out quite as she expected… it definitely made me smile. This is definitely my favorite care package ever.

And I’m really looking forward to that basket of pomegranates on my desk.

“Jesus never humiliated her (regarding the woman at the well). He simply lifted her out of her filth and gently clothed her in the righteousness of her Heavenly Father. In Jesus there is such perfect manliness, such perfect security in His own sense of manhood, that He is free from the prison of having to put women down to prove that He is man. Jesus never intimidated or sexually threatened a woman, and He was never threatened or intimidated by a woman. There was no lewd look, no coarse jesting with Jesus. He didn’t have to prove anything- because He’s 100% man. 

That’s why both men and women are equally attracted to Jesus. Jesus lifted and affirmed every woman who came to Him. Women find in Him the man they wish every man could be. And men see in Him the man they know they ought to be.” 

-Doug Clark

I was looking back at my notebook and I found a story my high school class in Korea wrote together for an assignment. It made me smile. 

Once upon a time there was a boy. And he died. And then he came back to life. He made a pretty girlfriend. Her name was Alexandra. They broke up. Because she has another boy. And he’s Justin Beiber. Suddenly, Peter Parker came to her and he said, “I am your father.” She said, “I am not your daughter. If you are my father, I am your mother.” The earth is gone because aliens came to earth to make super space highway. Suddenly, Tony Stark appeared. He killed aliens. And he remade earth. A new monster appeared. And Tony Stark made a new team of superheroes without Captain America. Captain America made another team and fought with Tony Stark’s team. Then new monster appeared and Alexandra is the team leader. Alexandra killed Captain America. Because Captain America have another girl. So Alexandra was angry and then Alexandra changed into the Hulk. She destroyed the world. The whole thing is gone.

The end.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Can this be any more beautiful at all?

Chapel this morning? I felt a great unworthiness, and at the same time, grace. It is such a privilege for us all to be able to sing to God. I’m just one small voice in a sea of many. But as we cry out to God, declaring His greatness, it is a symphony I am so honored to be a part of. It is one that reaches the very throne of God. We are standing in the very presence of God. Suddenly, all my problems seem so insignificant. All the things I was going to ask God… oh, they can wait. Let me just worship Him. He is here!! He is here! Let me worship. Let me just declare His greatness with everything inside of me. It’s kind of what I picture heaven like. Standing before His presence, overwhelmed by His immensity, not needing or desiring anything else at all, just declaring His majesty over and over and over again. His majesty.

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“Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things.” Isa. 44

The sun will rise.

Friday, January 4, 2013. 4:24 PM: I had the sudden urge to make mac and cheese. Then I remembered that last time I tried that, I set a propane tank on fire. I think I’ll just stick to Ramen. 

I absolutely adore C.S. Lewis and I find myself rereading his work several times over, each time viewing it in a whole new way. I was beyond ecstatic to find another gem by Lewis, entitled “Meditation in a Toolshed,” a brief piece written for his newspaper. It’s short, simple, and I love it. 

Few things that stuck out- “It is perfectly easy to go on all your life giving explanations of religion, love, morality, honor, and the like, without having been inside any of them.”

“‘All these moral ideals which look so transcendental and beautiful from inside’ says the wiseacre, ‘are really only a mass of biological instincts and inherited taboos.’ And no one plays the game the other way round by replying, ‘If you will only step inside, the things that look to you like instincts and taboos will suddenly reveal their real and transcendental nature.'”

“We must, on pain of idiocy, deny from the very onset the idea that looking at is by its own nature, intrinsically truer or better than looking along. One must look both along and at everything.”

http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~ivcfgf/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/C-S-Lewis-meditation-in-a-toolshed.pdf

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!”

-CS Lewis, The Last Battle.

Screen Shot 2012-12-24 at 5.51.43 PMThat awkward moment when you forget you’re not actually wearing oven mitts and you grab the wire rack from the oven with your bare hands. I need to stop trying in the kitchen or I’m going to lose all my fingers!

Alexandra’s attempt at being domestic today-

Pro- Mom said I chop up food faster than her.

Con- I had to disinfect the knife (..and the dessert) from my blood.