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He Looked Around

Jarius went to Jesus because he knew that He alone could heal his dying daughter.

Others tried to stop him.

But at his insistence, he made it into the presence of Jesus and made his request known.

Meanwhile, another one in the crowd, burdened by her own infirmities for many years, a woman pushes her way towards Jesus. She knows that if anyone could make her well, it would be Him. Just one touch and I'll be better, she thinks.

Both of them, faces in the crowd, beaten down by suffering and pain, come to Jesus.

What amazed me this morning is that Jesus had time for both of them. Not only that, but He insisted on knowing who it was who touched Him in the crowd. Why did He care? His power was enough, she was well, why did it matter?

My 11 year old answered this question. Jesus wanted to know who it was who had faith. Who believed that He was able?

He looked around to find her. His words to her were balm to her soul. Because of your faith...... you are healed.

Jesus, give me faith…

Still here, and waiting.....

Waiting.....
That's what it feels like I have been doing since August 2 when we heard the news of Adah's leukemia. Winter settled over my soul that day. Not the sort of depressing-can't get out of bed winter, but a sort of be quiet, stay inside, conserve energy and wait, kind of winter. Adah's parents have been our best friends and co-workers for the past 8 years, and now they aren't here. They're back in another home, waiting this morning for their youngest daughter Claire's bone marrow to be extracted and given to her big sister Adah. It will drip through an iv line, and then we all will wait.

It felt right that I would pack today. You feel helpless when you know someone's hurting and you can't really do anything about it because they are so far away. With the list in hand, I walked into their apartment prepared to do just that. Pack up the few items Sara had requested. Walking in wasn't so easy though, and tears overwhelmed me as I looked ar…

Counting the Cost

We have five days left to make a decision that could possibly affect whether we can stay in the country or not. My husband has been planning to make a trip somewhere and this trip could be what makes or breaks the invitation to be here. From the human perspective it's a no brainer. Don't go. Why would you risk it? Is it really worth it?

We have been really seeking the Lord the past week especially concerning this in light of recent anti-"family" activity here. We don't want to succomb to the enemy's intimidations nor do we want to be unwise. So what do we do? How does the Lord speak? In which way is the Lord going to lead us?

We were drawn to Matthew 2 the morning when we received news of the threats that were being made. The wise men followed the star to Jerusalem, then on to Bethlehem where they worshipped the King. Through a dream they were clearly directed to return home a different way. Through a dream Joseph was directed to go to Egypt to wait. Throug…

Breathing deeply

The past couple days I have had such a difficult time breathing! When I have asthma I forget what it's like to breathe normally. I pant, I breathe fast, I concentrate on breathing and I realize that it's really hard to do when your lung capacity isn't that big!
We returned to our city after a few weeks away and as I stepped off the plane I found myself immediately struggling to breathe. I was so thrilled to be finally home and had so many things that I have been waiting to do (like find a routine for our family) but the asthma is keeping me from doing too much these days. I haven't organized all the things I've wanted to. I have been forced to not do anything! Well, almost nothing. I did homeschool the kids today, make lunch and dinner.......But the moments where I could have spent doing something else (inbetween 4:00 and 5:00, and on my way to the bathroom. and during our evening read aloud while my husband read..) the Lord has had me sit down and just learn to b…

Winter

It's been some time since I have written. The last time I posted I was in a different place. The end of July brought news of something that would throw my soul into a solemn winter. Two and a half months have passed and things have settled in my heart. Up until the end of July my heart had become increasingly burdened by the sorrows and pains of life. When I received news of a very close friend's daughter's diagnosis of leukemia AML, an acute form that would require an agressive treatment, my heart was launched into a season of pain, reflection, and quietness.

I haven't quite figured out all the elements that have contributed to my finding myself in this place. But I'm not afraid to be here. I guess it's a good thing. Winters of the heart probably are one of the longest seasons in the rhythms of our life, the one that has the least answers, the loneliest moments, but I think where the deepest work happens. It's pushing me towards God and not away.

I am as…

transitions of life

It seems that transition seems to just be part and package of the deal called life. My heart seems to be always in transition-an email received that makes my heart sink, receiving joyful news from a friend, a friend moving away the country, kids changing grades, getting back from a trip and settling back into life, getting ready for a trip, planning a trip in a couple months, going out to the market and finding out that I can't find whole chickens anymore, birthdays, sicknesses......a  happy heart, a sad heart, a choosing to be joyful in the moment heart.....

What are your transitions? Big or small, we are always making adjustments in our hearts for them. They can take our minds and hearts far away from the Lord.

Jesus, be the center. Be my True North. Be my home. The place I stay. Keep my heart from longing for other things. Keep my longing only for MORE of You. The restlessness in my heart during those transitions should only draw me closer to You.

A moment to think

A moment to think, that's all I need.
Life happens at such a quick pace.
I never mean to start my day like that.
Things just happen.
So, how do I make it not happen like that?
Time to reflect, process, and think.
That's what I need.
I'm responding to life not intentionally.
I'm responding to life not with my heart.
I'm responding with my raw emotions.
With what I think of at the moment.
Not by the Spirit.
Father, help me slow down.
Help not to miss You in each moment.
A snuggle with my son who's 10 who just came into my room while I was working just to give me a hug.
To look at the butterfly my daughter doodled on her desk.
To laugh over the post my son just got on his facebook.
To make peanut butter cookies in the middle of a crazy day with youngest. Just because.
I'm desperate to slow down.
Desperate for a moment to think.
Can I climb up in Your lap, Father?
Can I just hear You say to me, I love you?
You're calling me.
I'm slow…

Dancing and not Marching

I read a quote recently that said, "grace based parents don't march, they dance." I have been thinking about that the past few days. What does it mean to dance? Sometimes it's easier to march. Following rules isn't a bad thing but the temptation is to fall in to legalism and judgmentalism that can take us away from grace. When my child disobeys me there is certainly a consequence but the way I respond to my child must be in grace. I must be committed to loving my child through the situation. It doesn't mean that there isn't truth spoken. But what does it mean to parent in grace?

Each of my children are different. Their needs, their struggles, their motivations, their personalities, their issues are different. I need to be prayerful in the way I parent each of them. I need to seek God's heart for each of child. While it's important that I call sin, sin-  I need to also make sure that my discipline and correction of them is not only in truth but al…

Perfectionism- part 1

It's there. And it's a daily temptation for me. I wish I could write it in the past tense. I used to be a perfectionist. But I can't. While perfectionism doesn't come out in my TASKS, (my husband and colleagues could attest to that), it comes out in who I am, often in how I present myself.

You combine my eldest daughter, Asian American, Christian, ministry, woman characteristics together and it's a pretty good recipe for perfectionism.

Perfectionism keeps me from receiving from others. Why is it after I have a phone call or come back from coffee with a friend that I muse over the conversation that was exchanged. It's worse when I've been particularly vulnerable. I can second myself so easily. I shouldn't have said that. I should have said less. I could have been less dramatic.

Lord, strip away the facade of appearances. Free my heart up to love and to be loved.

I want to be freed from up from responding to my own failures and weaknesses without fear a…

Not letting the yuckies get the best of me

So, my youngest son, who's six sometimes finds himself in a bit a funk. "The yuckies, Mommy. They just keep coming up!"  Trying to be patient, I gently remind him that the Holy Spt resides within and gives him power over the yuckies. "We don't have to be yucky, ask Jesus for the self control to say no, and choose joy!"

It seems that he's been struggling a bit more recently, perhaps it's tiredness, (we do forget to put him to bed earlier than his older siblings), but I'm thinking that it's just the "yucky man" ( as a friend refers to it) rearing it's ugly head, taunting him to sin.

It's just like the Lord to give me personal object lessons in my own life as I teach my children. I had allocated the full afternoon today for solitude and reflection. I was dreaming of how I was going to use my four hours of beautiful siilence with the Lord. I started thinking about it as I woke up this morning and it continued through "th…

It's no secret

There are things in our family that we share as a family and things that my husband and I share with each other only. But one of those things that we share together is the fact that "Mama's not perfect." It's no secret that Mama's not perfect.

There is scarcely a day that goes by without me apologizing to one or more of my kids for quick, impatient words. I can't but help wonder sometimes how many counseling sessions they will have to go through in the future over their mama! I can almost hear those conversations in my head! "I know that my mom loved me, but...."

As I reflect on my own mom and her example of motherhood in my life, I realize that though she was not perfect, she has impacted my life like no other person except Jesus. A friend of mine asked me yesterday about my mom and what was it that made her special to me. "Mom made the ordinary into special moments." I replied. She created picnics in the living room on rainy nights, sle…

Not detailed... delighting in my weaknesses

"You're not detailed.".... were the words spoken to me this week from a friend.  While I am aware that I am not as detailed as some, my heart's response was to want to list the many things I am detailed over!

But the thing was that it bothered me. Why did such a small comment like that bother me?

I had this conversation with the Lord the next morning about that comment. Why did it bother me that someone highlighted one of my weaknesses?

It wasn't long after that I discovered I lost my dry cleaning slip from 2 days ago. As I rummaged through my pockets and purse, I just had to laugh. It was like the Lord let me experience my lack of detail right away to assure me that yes, my friend was right. I am not very detailed. While I had a momentary panic attack over the lost slip, I sensed the Lord say to me, "receive that word and delight in that."

A couple weeks ago another friend of mine was commenting on how hard it was to celebrate her weaknesses. While …

So it's not about me?

In this desire to grow in depth with the Lord, I have found myself at times in a funny place. I've kind of imagined it to be similar to walking a tightrope. Though I've never done that before the thought seems positively scary! Waiting to meet me at the bottom of one side is pride and all that comes with it, and on the other, insecurities and all the things that come with that. So, it's on this tightrope that I walk. I want to walk forward, eyes on Jesus, in humility yet also in confidence that He has called me forward. The things that God has placed in my life right now all run a certain kinds of risk. The risk of being misunderstood being the greatest one. Why does it matter to me what people think? If I walk forward I might become prideful, if I don't, I give into my insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. The thing is is that at the center of both arguments is ME. It still revolves around me!

I was processing with a friend and mentor this last weekend. I asked th…

Feelings of irrelevance

What have I done anyways in the last 11 years?
Was it worth it? Raising my family in a country that we'll never fit into.
Has my life made any difference here?
Does anyone care? Questions like these have been plaguing my soul. Feelings of irrelevance have pervaded my heart as of late. What does it matter that I live here?
Does it matter?
A phone call yesterday tipped me over the edge. A friend whom I have walked with over the few years is coming to a city nearby (she lives far away) I found out through another friend. I'm so thrilled she's coming, but I felt hurt that she didn't call me. I have walked with her through some difficult valleys. She actually was one of my personal deep valleys. She wasn't exactly easy to love! But God used our friendship in each of our lives and I am thankful that our paths crossed for those years. But that's just what happened. They crossed, and now that season is over. How sad is that? My relational heart aches. How many more peo…

Help, I'm a parent of a teen!

I really am not old enough for this. I really don't know what I'm doing. I told my son just this afternoon, that I've never had a 13 year old son before! This is all new to me. And because it's new, I might make some mistakes. Actually, the truth is, I make mistakes anyways teen or no teen.

When I was pregnant with my oldest, my mom gave me this passage. Deuteronomy 6:6 "And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up." "These words" refer to the command God gives in the previous verse, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and with all your might." We've tried to do that. My husband and I. We've tried to do that with our kids around mealtimes, brushing teeth, before bed. As parents, we plant those seeds of…

Complete Obedience

I have asked it of my kids since they were small. First time obedience. Come when Mommy calls you. Thank you for obeying right away. Thank you for doing just what Mommy has asked. These words are encouragement for my kids to keep doing what is right. I know God asks of this me too. Even more. First time. Whole hearted obedience. He asks even more of His children because He sees the heart.

I read through Joshua 7 this past week where Joshua is wrestling with God over their recent defeat at Ai. God, you've promised us victory, what has happened? Distraught he asks, "What will You do for Your great name?"

The Lord speaks courage to Joshua and asks him to rise. He reveals to Joshua that Israel has sinned. All of Israel? Someone has stolen, and deceived. Joshua had given explicit orders to take nothing after hte battle of Jericho. God had made a covenant with His people before they had crossed into Jordan, the land promised to them. The Lord had promised victory, all of th…

People watching

There's nothing like international travel to make you realize just how small the world is. With a quick few hour flight I can almost anywhere in Asia. Sitting in the airport this afternoon, I am struck by the emptiness in my fellow passengers' eyes. Each with some sort of gadget (myself included), sitting with their luggage tucked between their legs, sipping a coffee (myself included), and watching the clock. Each person has their own story, of where they came from and where they are going.
As a child of God I have a choice daily when I interact with people to just go about my business, or to make a concerted effort to love each person that He brings my way. I may not know what I am supposed to say or do, but as I step out in faith, He will give me all that I need to be His hands and feet. I don't take every opportunity the Lord gives me. I so long to though. But I too have my own agenda, my schedule, many times, I just can't be bothered. I have received so much from …

Sunny Days

The sun is out and the sky is blue. The birds chirp and trees are beginning to bud. From the outside, it looks like it's going to be splendid day. Why does weather, namely sunshine or the lack thereof affect my mood so much? Sunday was a gloomy day in our home. The sky was grey and there was little light coming into our apartment. I tried to cheer everyone up but I ended up lying on the couch with little energy. It was just one of those lazy days.

But sunshine or no sunshine, life goes on and must go on. I must still follow the Lord with the same resolve that I have on sunny days. I must still keep my eyes and ears attentive to the Spirit's voice, and I must let Him be my source of joy and strength.

Sunday's flurry of emotions was a reminder to me of my own weaknesses that I am still growing through and of my need to be tender to His correction and teaching. Sunny days are a gift from the Lord, and yet cloudy, rainy days are gifts as well. I must learn to seek Him still …

Why her, and not me?

I'm wrestling this afternoon with a heavy question. It's been an ongoing one the last few years. I can force it away by not thinking about it, but it never goes away. Yesterday I went prayer walking in the neighborhood across the tracks from our apartment. I've been walking there on and off for the last 3 years or so. What drew me and a few others to begin going there were the number of brothels we noticed going up in that neighborhood. Today, 3 years later, there are even more. I can't even begin to tell you that it's one of the hardest things I've ever done. Walking into the door of a brothel is not easy!

We visited a karaoke bar that a few of my friends have been visiting the past couple months. Last week we made an acquaintance with a young mother in her late twenties, from the countryside, who too shares the same faith as me. What poverty drove her to this dark place? Why does she have to be here? Why did I get to live my life peacefully across the tracks …

Trusting Him for every moment

Today was one of those busy days. I woke up 30 minutes too late, which affected my quiet time, my kids waking up,homeschooling, and afternoon meetings. It's hard on those days to really live in the moment, especially when you're trying to catch up the whole day! I felt the Lord drawing me back to himself throughout this whole day, reminding me that He wanted me to be fully here, for each moment. Don't miss it. I felt Him whisper. I want you here, now.

It's counterintuitive to slow down. Life is full with my kids, homeschooling, ministry. My natural response in the midst of a busy day is to keep going, not to slow down. But as He reminded me of His words I read this morning, I could just feel him constraining me. Routine trips to the bathroom were short prayer moments with Jesus. Washing dishes, and heating up lunch, were times of breath prayers. "Be with me here and now. Each moment. Help me finish what I need to do. In fact, please show me what I need to do. I t…

Supermom Isn't Real

So I had this funny thought today. I thought to myself, Supermom isn't real. I was taking my weekly 2 hour slot for reflection and solitude this afternoon when this thought occurred. I know I have a lot to learn about sitting still. Being comfortable is nice. The room was a bit chilly. I had my warm drink, the heater right at my feet, my pillow adjusted just right. That all took about 20 minutes. Precious time I wasted but I consider myself to be on a steep learning curve, so I am accepting grace for the moment. Well meaning friends have commented on my attempt at "stillness" with words like, "good for you, Jenn! I'm so proud of you!" I think these words are meant to be encouraging, but sometimes I wonder, who people think I am! Am I a super busy person? There were the days when there seemed to be a competition of busyness. Now there seems to be a switch and everyone is comparing notes on how much reflection they are getting these days and that is now the n…