Tuesday, December 29, 2009

23 years; 23 things that bring me joy:

(in no particular order...)

1. my children in India

2. sunrises & sunsets.

3. morning drives to work.

4. more than 7 hours of sleep.

5. my relationship with the Lord.

6. my job and the opportunities it gives me to love others well.

7. my best friend.

8. finding joy in reading and other simple things.

9. being organized.

10. laughter.

11. children.

12. my years at All Ages II.

13. my family.

14. real, honest, and vulnerable conversations.

15. learning and growing.

16. speaking truth and truth spoken.

17. seeing transformations taking place in people's lives.

18. daniel.

19. my years in college.

20. being able to share my heart for the lost, lonely, broken, unsaved, and hurting with others.

21. smiles.

22. having a superior memory.

23. life and all that is to come with it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

as i sit in my living room on this Christmas Eve morning, basking in not having to go to work, sipping on a cup of coffee, and watching the pictures of my beautiful children in India scroll by on my computer screen, i've come to the conclusion that there really are no words to describe the array of emotions whirling around in my mind and heart.

reflecting on this past year there have been so many blessings, challenges, joys, and trials that have occurred in my life, and as i think back on all of them during this Christmas season i am overwhelmed with how sovereign, gracious, perfect, patient, loving, powerful, and holy my God is--the same God who started his life born in a stable, sleeping in a manger.

(perhaps this post is coming about a week early, and should have been a post for the new year...but no matter...)

these last twelve months have literally flown by. last year at this time, i was on Christmas break from school and knew i had a few more weeks of freedom after Christmas to just relax. i hadn't even started my internship, the place where i am now employed full time. while i knew graduation was imminent, it seemed far off in the distance; but it came quicker than anticipated. i had no idea what i was going to do with my life, where i was going to find a job, where i was going to be living, and i hated the unknown. but before i knew it, i was sitting on an airplane, flying halfway around the world to the country where a large part of my heart continues to remain. my time there proved to be life-changing once again, but it wasn't long enough. i can still feel the sting of the tears that formed in my eyes when i had to say "see you later" to the children and staff at the orphanage, because saying good-bye just wasn't an option. my sister's wedding soon followed my arrival back in the states, as did my best friend returning to my Alma matter. and soon after that, i began coaching my team of 8th grade girls in volleyball which allowed me to spend quality time with my beautiful cousin who is amazing at the sport that was so dear to my heart during my junior high and high school years. (and i don't just say that because she's my cousin either). and during volleyball season, i took on a full time position at the place i had my internship working with families and children; my dream job out of college. and the past three months is full of a myriad of activities that still consists of balancing time between working full time, spending time with friends and family, sleeping, and trying to learn how to take care of myself.

it seems like all the changes that took place over the last twelve months are almost too much to have happened in one year, but i have a feeling that it's only the beginning of being an adult. and even though a lot of the changes that took place were hard, i can't even begin to describe how much i have learned.

and as much as all of the changes just mentioned were mainly good, this year, like i said, didn't come without trials or challenges. after christmas and up until february 21st, i went through the process of knowing i was going to lose a man very near and dear to my heart. and as everyone who reads my blog is aware, my thattha passed away on february 21st. i miss him dearly still to this day, and am reminded at this Christmas season how much of an impact he has had on my life. and while graduation was the ending of a chapter in my life that had to be finished, leaving the place i had come to call home over the past four years also didn't come without tears. and there are so many other things that i have to had to learn from and work through--such as heart wrenching client stories, experiencing empathy on a different level, dealing with other people's jealousy, and the list could continue.

but i am thankful for the way the Lord protected me, loved me well, and held me tight when the tears wouldn't stop. and i am thankful He trusts me to handle the things he hands to me more than i trust myself.

what a blessing it has been to walk through this year with Him hand in hand, and to let him perfectly ordain my steps. and i am sure...that next year at this time, there will be just as many changes that have occurred in my life, and for that, i am grateful.

but, until then, be blessed and bless God. remember to keep Christ in Christmas, and to seek how you can fully make this Christmas a full worship experience.

Monday, December 14, 2009

it's always a good indication when i sigh heavily before clicking the "new entry" button for a new post that i'm overdue for a posting.

regardless. these past few weeks have continued to be filled with work, friends, family, boyfriend, and sleep where i can fit it in. i just managed to start my Christmas shopping on saturday and feel like my next three weekends are already overflowing with things that i am suppose to be at and with things i need to do, but somehow, it will all get done. it always does. not going to lie though, sometimes i wish i was about seven again around this Christmas season so that i could just bask in the Christmas traditions and the spirit of Christmas without the stress. i think i've just decided to make my goal this week to not stress out about anything in regards to Christmas--no stress about gifts, no stress about making time for all the get togethers, and no stress about money. and, i'm going to figure out how i can worship more fully during this too. (and this i part of the reason i blog, to process through things to come up with goals like that!)

also, over the past few weeks, i'd be lying if i said my heart didn't long for India. i think that around Christmastime every year will probably be harder than other times of the year, because i think everyone can relate to wanting to be with their families at Christmas and since the children, staff, and helen are considered my family, i want to be with them. i can't imagine a more perfect Christmas than to share that day with them; to be able to laugh with the children all day, to sing songs, to eat with them, and to know at the end of the day i've given them all they really want for Christmas...love. And that they, too, have given me all i really want for Christmas...love.

my heart has been leaping at the thought of going back to India this summer, even if it's just for a week to ten days. who knows if it's a possibility or if anything will come to fruition, but in the worst way, i want it to. i even am longing to feel sticky and sweaty after playing with the children on a hot day, to see the lizards on the wall, to eat with my fingers, to wear skirts, and so many other things. my passion for the hurt and lost and lonely overseas was rekindled over the last few weeks when i realized that i essentially had been supressing it since i know that now that is not where i am suppose to be. it seemed easier for the last few months to not think about how much my heart longs to be overseas...but as i've allowed myself to admit to other people how much i want to be overseas my joy has been restored. and as i've allowed myself to dream what it can look like in a few years, i can't wait for the Lord to reveal it to me. perhaps it might consist of living in huts in a village...who knows what God has in store. but it makes me smile to think about.

in the mean time, though, i'm going to continue striving to love on the hurt, lost, and lonely i come across each and every day in my job...and trust that this is just part of God's plan in my life story of expanding His Kingdom.