"But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope;
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
'The LORD is my Portion,' says my soul,
'therefore I will hope in Him.'
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
to the soul who seeks Him."
(Lamentations 3:21-25)

"He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Also, He has put eternity into man's heart,
yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end."
(Ecclesiastes 3:11)

"What are these deep feelings of failure and fear?
They are the merciful gift of God telling us that we are sinners in need of a Savior.
...God has made a way for Himself to be both just and the Justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."
(John Piper)

ἐκεῖνον δεῖ αὐξάνειν, ἐμὲ δὲ ἐλαττοῦσθαι

The only thing I benefit from by looking at myself is seeing my frailty...my depravity.  When I see this reality I remember - it is not about me.  I stop and I remember Who my God is.

So I started a little project for myself in the midst of dealing with [stuff I'm dealing with].  I keep a stack of Post-It notes and a Sharpie handy, and every time I begin to get overwhelmed, instead of putting up verses on my walls that tell me what to do (while those are good reminders, they drive me to legalism and self-condemnation), I am simply writing out "GOD is ____."

Today - and always: He is sovereign.  He is loving.

**additional reflection 20130722@00:55**

I want to hold more tightly to the Cross in [this].
[This] should not drive me to respond any differently than I have before.  Though, I hope it will force me to respond more rightly.

God is unchanging.  Unchanging.  If I go to Him, and if I respond to [this] in light of Who He is - should my response not be the same in [this] as in everything? Both in what often I call "bad" or "good," both in what I call "days of grace" and those days I take grace for granted.

God, be.


May It Be Hidden

A couple of years ago, I came across a sermon by John Piper and I was convicted.  Not since participating in the Word of Life discipleship program had I dedicatedly strived to memorize Scripture.  Looking back I see years filled with wasted time and wonder how different things could be in my life now had I taken just 15-20 minutes a day to focus on hiding God's Word in my heart.

I have this difficulty with memorizing things: it doesn't come easily when it should be verbatim.  At this point in my life (well, maybe after August 16) I think I'd do well to scrap English altogether and dedicate myself to knowing Hebrew.  But, alas, that is not the language in which I learned to speak or think, so there could be some other difficulties with that.

I am so blessed to be literate and have multiple copies and versions of the Bible available to me.  That freedom won't last forever, and I want to have hidden as much of the Word as I can hide.
A while back, my dad read to me a portion of The Heavenly Man in which Brother Yun shared a testimony of one of his times in jail.  Brother Yun had hungered for the Word after his conversion at 16 years old, and when he was finally able to get his own Bible, after reading all of it, he memorized the book of Matthew.  Later, during one of his imprisonments, he started witnessing to his fellow prisoners by quoting the entire book of Matthew.  The response was men sobbing, repenting of their sin and confessing Christ as Savior!

May I be found faithful in stewarding what I have been given.



When I am reminded of the Gospel, my heart is overwhelmed with the reality of grace.  There is nothing about my nature that is attractive to God that He would choose to love me to the degree that He does.  Nothing at all.

As I face crazy things and encounter people who may or may not have ever experienced the grace of God, I need to be continually reminded of the Gospel.  It is only then that I can extend some of that same grace to others.

I need to be slower to judge and more quick to show grace.

I think of certain situations in which people may one day be sweet and caring, then the next they're all over my case for things I didn't do.  And those people that forget everything all the time - really, how hard is it to get that one important detail straight? I even emphasized just how important it was.  Now my day is ruined.  And then there's that other person I used to look at as being a godly example - they failed me...again.  Their excuses are invalid and their lack of grace is despicable.

Then I stop in quietness and consider grace.  Could that one person be having a day when everything is going against her? Or might she have a chemical imbalance that's not been diagnosed yet? That man who means well and has a "good heart"...could it be that he's in the early stages of Alzheimer's and internally fights the fear of what's to come on a daily basis? And that godly example - do they not need ministering to as well?

Grace covers all of this.  My responses need to always be grace.  If it's not grace, I very well may be responsible for triggering a manic attack.  I could push that dear man into a depression with contributing to his thoughts of failure and uselessness.  Oh, and that godly example - their "failure" is a need to minister elsewhere; there's a bit more grace needed there than here.

There are times when I push people away from Jesus....there are even times I have tried to push Jesus away.  May I be mindful to show grace in situations like these,  even if that girl is giving into anger and being disobedient.  If that man is irresponsible and has an addiction that contributes to his feeblemindedness, he still should receive grace.  And that godly example - come to find out they first saw grace lived out through me.


Give me Jesus

So often, in desperation, my heart has only been able to cry out "Jesus."  Sometimes there is nothing but His name.  In times of heartache, betrayal, rejection, anxiousness, & selfishness, unforgiveness, and doubt, it's often all I can do to remember Him and what He did for me.  Heard this song earlier and its lyrics say it well (shortened):
In the morning, when I rise...
Give me Jesus
When I am alone...
Give me Jesus

When I come to die...
Give me Jesus

You can have all this world...
Just give me Jesus
 Thankful for Jesus.


About That Warrior Poet ]iv[

Learning to trust A LOT and very differently than ever before - like that trust game at youth camp where you free fall backwards from a tree stand and trust a team of people with interlocked arms to catch you, only there's no mattress below their arms as a backup.

I know I wrote a couple weeks ago about trusting my scouts and how that the reality of what I'm trusting them with was setting in somewhat.  Well, it's really setting in now.  I'm having to trust God and trust them to trust God.  I'm asking a lot of these men, and I know it.  I haven't asked with a completely selfish motive, but with the future in mind.  I'm praying they grasp that and truly seek the Lord, the same as Abraham's servant did.

This post is intentionally short, but to update those of you who are following this story: one scout has twice mentioned someone to me, and another scout has mentioned me to a couple guys.  I really trust them; I think my feeling overwhelmed comes from realizing that this is actually happening and it's not just being talked about anymore.

I'm finding peace in my quiet morning dates and in the Word, nowhere else (thankfully, even though I had been seeking it elsewhere).  My God is faithful and trustworthy.  I love that I can rest against Him and simply be with Him.  So thankful the veil was torn...so immensely thankful.


About That Warrior Poet ]iii[

According to a few people who have repeatedly inquired, there is a need to better explain the actual process of my arranged marriage.  Often the first word out of my mouth in response is "Well," followed by a semi-long pause and a search for the nice way of saying, "ask my dad (so he'll be more proactive with it)."

Though I may have written before, this arranged marriage is by my request, not any demand of my parents/family/heritage/religion.  In regards to this arranged marriage, the pastor I interned with described me well, "an enigma of our society."  I still chuckle, remembering how that just came out of his mouth and how it dawned on me that that might be the best term used yet!

This process is non-traditional.  In other words, I'm not just gonna have my dad pick out some guy, plan a wedding and meet him for the first time at the altar.  The idea is, with this team of (hopefully) 14 warriors, there will be multiple scouts in many different circles who have a list of my minimal requirements for this guy, such as:
  • he's gotta have God's heart for adoption
  • be a manly man
  • be discipled
  • disciple
  • be a Job in progress (check out Job, chapter 29, for an idea of what I'm talking about)
And there are things I'll throw out immediately that pretty much don't matter:
  • age
  • level of education
  • talents
  • occupation (so long as it is not "illegal, immoral, or fattening")
  • physical ability
  • past
Are there things that I would appreciate? Sure! It'd be great if he loves music and is skilled on an instrument (or three).  I'd even really like it if he's a good marksman (I'd hate to be better than he).  Would I prefer that he be home every night for dinner? Yes, but if he's fulfilling a call to serve with the military or missions, or within some other capacity, that takes him away sometimes, I'm okay with that, too.
After I had discussed a few details with a "scout" the other day, it hit me just how much I'm trusting these men.  These men are trustworthy - otherwise I wouldn't even request such influence on a decision being made that will effect the rest of my life.  The rest of my life.  That's what got to me, right there.  Spent some good time praying for these "scouts" after that awakening.  Trusting God in this, and trusting them to trust God.

There's another thing that others have asked me about: What if there's a guy who's interested, but not aware of this process, or not likely to be on any scout's radar? 
Well, to THAT I say, "he's allowed to intentionally introduce himself to my father and any of the other 'scouts' if he's outside these circles;  otherwise, he should be content to wait, as the scouts will take notice of a worthy man." : )  Should any guy be interested and NOT able to figure out how to contact my dad or pastors...God will take care of that.

I'll be posting more about the actual process once Daddy and I actually have some discussion about it.

 אני לדודי ודודי לי ∞


About That Warrior Poet ]ii[

Tonight I remembered a story that my physician referred me to a couple years ago when I happened to mention to him that I was requesting my marriage be arranged: Isaac & Rebekah.  What he referred me to was actually a five-part sermon to college students about marriage and the selection of their mates from Ravi Zacharias.  (Here's the link to a page with the series.)  The story is found in Genesis 24, and it actually really does reflect what I desire.

The sum of the story is Abraham sent his most trusted servant to go find a wife for Isaac, his beloved, promised son.  Abraham made his servant swear an oath, but also counted for himself God's promises to be true and assured his servant that "He will send His angel before you" (Genesis 24:7).  So Abraham's servant went out - ever so deliberately - and he prayed specifically regarding the responsibility bestowed upon him:
O LORD, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham.  Behold, I am standing by the spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water.  Let the young woman to whom I shall say, "Please let down your jar that I may drink," and who shall say, "Drink, and I will water your camels" - let her be the one whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac.  By this I shall know that You have shown steadfast love to my master.  (Genesis 24:12-14)
Keep reading:
Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah...came out with her water jar on her shoulder.  The young woman was very attractive in appearance, a maiden whom no man had known.  She went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up.  Then the servant ran to meet her and said, "Please give me a little water to drink from your jar."  She said, "Drink, my lord."  And she quickly let down her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink.  When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, "I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking."  So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw water, and she drew for all his camels.  The man gazed at her in silence to learn whether the LORD had prospered his journey or not.  (Genesis 24:15-21, emphasis mine)
I love how the servant responded: "The man bowed his head and worshiped the LORD and said, 'Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, Who has not forsaken His steadfast love and His faithfulness toward my master.  As for me, the LORD has led me in the [right] way [faithfully]'...." (Genesis 24:48)

Then even Rebekah's father and brother recognized that it was the LORD's doing (Genesis 24:50)! And even when there was ample opportunity for the servant's fear (Genesis 24:5) to come to pass (Genesis 24:54-58), the LORD still didn't let that happen, either! Oh, He is faithful to the uttermost!

Seriously, this is what I want.  The list of scouts I have made (the number has shifted from 12 to 19 to, now, 14) are men who/whom:
  • know me and what I consider to be valuable in my warrior poet
  • I have known for a number of years
  • love God and possess some same attributes that I desire to be found in my warrior poet
  • will make it a matter of prayer as they go seeking on my behalf
  • will disciple my warrior poet for a period of time before completely approving him
  • I trust with such a responsibility.
What happens after they select a prospect? Well...hopefully by the time I'm inspired to blog again that'll be clarified a little better.  ; )

אני לדודי ודודי לי∞


About That Warrior Poet ]i[

Those that know me well enough have at least heard that I've requested my marriage be arranged (non-traditionally).  Some people seem to be perplexed when they hear this and immediately challenge me...some yet will raise their eyebrows and not say a word, probably thinking I'm crazy.  But a few - very few - have encouraged me in this.

- - This is not the long awaited-fully disclosed description of what I hope my arranged marriage may look like and how I pray it at least slightly comes together. - -

There was something I witnessed when I was eleven years old - at the time I truly considered it to be stupidity and hypocrisy at their finest, but I've relented a bit regarding the matter since then.  When I encountered two older friends discussing their latest crushes and their desires to go to this event and that event with these popular guys I could have been enticed to simply cheer them on.  Honestly, when I was sitting there - quite awkwardly - all I could think was, "Why?"  Yet I, being the shy, sheltered, home-schooled girl, kept my mouth shut and silently contemplated the topic.

Having grown up in a God-fearing home and been part of a solid fellowship of believers, I knew that divorce was wrong.  That it broke God's heart and it was (in a simple sense) going against your word.  It was something beautiful being broken by choice - it was preventable, yet somewhere along the line one or both parties in the marriage actually considered it an option.  This understanding at eleven years old crossed over to my developing thoughts about dating and relationships.  Why date if you aren't committed to pursuing marriage? Doesn't dating just continually leave it an option to break up if it gets tough or someone else seems better one day? Okay, hear me out - I AM NOT CONDEMNING DATING.  These are simply a couple of the thoughts that began to occur to me when I was eleven years old, and they turned me off completely to dating.  (I can imagine someone reading this and starting to think, "She must have read I Kissed Dating Goodbye."  Well, I did read it...five years later...and I hated it!! So, ha! [Stereotypers.])

After listening in on this conversation between my two friends, my over-analytical mind continued to roam.  I resolved that day to love one man and one man only in my lifetime.  I began investing in him, my warrior poet, by praying for him regularly and writing him letters on occasion.

About two years later I remember riding in the car with my mom somewhere and over the radio (some Christian station) was a broadcast about the "Proverbs 31 woman."  I had never read Proverbs 31 intently, nor had I ever been taught from that particular chapter.  So, having been struck with "that sounds like something worth reading," I looked it up when we got home and THIS is is the verse that the Spirit highlighted for me:
[An excellent wife] does [her husband] good, and not harm, all the days of her life. (Proverbs 31:12, emphasis mine)
"All the days of her life."  That doesn't mean just when I'm married - it covers my entire life - even before marriage! And it was settled in my mind...there was no way that I was going to risk doing harm to my husband by dating.  My warrior poet was (is) too precious to me to spend any such devoted time with any other man but him!

I wish I could say that I only ever have loved him, but that's not true.  Those closest to me already know about another LONG chapter in my life (that I do not regret).  What I regret is my pride that grew over the matter of loving only my warrior poet.  All I will say in conclusion of this is that God is purposeful and He does not waste anything in our lives.

So today, I'm loving my man, my warrior poet, mostly with prayer & a few other creative things.  A highly valued resource I came across a couple years ago, though, is "31 Days of Praying for Your Husband" from Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  I have a copy printed out and I use it as a guide for praying for my warrior poet.  I love him; I really do.

I'm excited during this season, though, to be able to trust warriors God has placed in my life to scout out my warrior poet and invest in both him and me.  Eh, more about those details later...sometime...maybe...eventually....

אני לדודי ודודי לי∞


Happy Birthday, Jefferson

Jefferson Alim, my first sponsored child, is turning 14 today! This would be the tenth birthday I would come up with some way to celebrate his birthday on this side of the world and mail pictures/memorabilia to the Philippines.  I did some crazy things - there was even one year that I recycled a cake: I had written "Happy Birthday, Jefferson!" on it, then crossed out his name three times over the next several days to celebrate two other birthdays within our family as well as crossing out "Birthday" so that the cake read "Happy Thanksgiving."  Gotta say it was one of the cheesiest things I've ever done.  Ever.

This year is weird as Jefferson's birthday has arrived and I don't have the opportunity to write to him.  While I am still celebrating silently and covering him in extra prayer today, I'm missing him a lot more than I realized I might.    I know he knows I'll never forget his birthday (he even wrote about that in his "final letter").  But what matters most that he remember, now that he's no longer able to be sponsored?

As his sponsor, I want him to always remember that his Creator loves him and purposed his life, even when his circumstances declare differently.  I'm hoping that he knows I won't stop loving him or praying for him.  I want him to recognize that commitment is important, even when it's almost a foreign idea and not the trend.

Jefferson's a young man now, and as his sponsor I was privileged to have 9 years to speak into his life, since he was just 4 years old.  I wrote to him almost every week, reminding him of truth from Scripture, telling him about answered prayer in my life, declaring the goodness of God's grace, and simply writing about life and family.

If you have a sponsored child, do not fail to write to them.  Their life is an investment - not nearly as much a financial one as it is an emotional, or even eternal one.  They are yours.  Write to them, be real to them.  Your kid treasures you - and they would recognize you before they would recognize any American celebrity...that is, if you sent them a picture of yourself.  They want to know you.

We're celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas soon, so find some things to write about.  There are traditions within our culture, so approach this season as opportunity to educate your child.  I always found it a fun challenge to describe traditional activities in words that could be easily translated.  Maybe this Thursday take a few minutes to imagine how you would explain to your child what was going on and why, as though they were there - and write that in a letter.  Send a picture or two along with it...maybe cooking your favorite dish step by step or a list of things you're thankful for (with cultural consideration)? Or when snow comes how about writing about sledding, having a snowball fight, or building a snowman? Do exercise caution about how you describe things, as it is healthier to write more about similarities than differences.  Your kids have their own traditions, so ask about them, too!

Bottom line: invest in your kids by writing to them.  You'll be forever glad you did.