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Is This the End?

May 21st 2014. I posted the first picture I took as soon as getting off the plane, and I captioned it “Fell in love the minute I stepped off the plane. Sorry mom and dad, but I don’t think I’m ever going back home.” And little did I realize then how true that statement would be.

Because fast forward seven years, and Hawaii is my home.

I have crafted the most beautiful life I could have never imagined. My job could not be more in line with what I believe and what I’m passionate about- and it’s not even the job I moved here for. I live in a home where I get to bake and have friends over for game nights and sit on the couch and stare out at the beautiful view. Every aspect of my life in Hawaii is a reflection of the decisions and hard work I’ve put into being able to be here. And I’m proud of myself for it.

That’s why this question hurts so much. Because I’ve worked so hard. But really Meg, is this the end of my time in Hawaii?

And I know the answer to that is no, simply because every time I even begin to think about it my heart breaks and my eyes water and my breathing cuts off. But the reality is, life has not been easy lately.

So much so that even my dad thinks this is the year that I move back to California. Because even he knows that I’ve struggled so deeply and so much in the past year.

If I were in California, I’d have my mom to live with and pay for all my groceries. If I were in California, I’d have my dad to drive me around and buy me quesadillas. If I were in California, I’d have Cassie- no explanation needed. If I were in California I’d be closer to family, closer to Disneyland, closer to In n Out. There are just so many things that work towards my benefit if I were in California.

But on the flipside, if I leave Hawaii I leave behind the largest part of my heart. And already I can’t breathe just thinking about it. Because if I leave Hawaii, I leave behind the part of me that paved her way into adulthood. I leave behind the beautiful places where I have felt God’s presence. If I leave, I’m saying goodbye to a wonderful job, a church I love, and great friends. All of which play a huge role in why I call Hawaii home.

And so I just don’t know what to do or what to think or how to feel.

Because in a couple months I’m going to be out of a house and I’m going to have to decide. Is this God telling me that it’s the end of my time here, or is this another hurdle where I have to trust in Him and He’ll completely blow my mind with an unthinkable solution.

I’m leaning towards the latter, but I’m also so tired of struggling to survive that I could easily trick myself into believing the prior.

Life in Hawaii this past year has not been easy. I’ve had tough patches here and there while living on this island in the middle of the ocean, but this last year was constant hit after hit of bad news. And so I know that if I leave now it’s not because I’m ready for something new in California, it’s because I’m running away from something in Hawaii.

Running away from broken friendships and failed relationships. Running away from the financial burden of living in paradise. Running away from the loneliness I feel as I watch all my cousins have a game night together while I’m home alone on rainy, cold, Easter Sunday.

I flew here that May of 2014 bright eyed and bushy tailed with so much love and adoration for a place I had yet to even discover, but if I were to leave tomorrow I’d be going with a hurting, heavy heart and a load of disappointments.

And I love Hawaii enough not to do that. To not leave broken because eventually the brokenness will turn into resentment, and the resentment will mean I’m never touching foot on this island again. I love Hawaii enough- and I truly believe I’m strong enough- to not do that.

Because I can work a few more hours at Madewell and not buy that dress I don’t need in order to save a few more dollars. And I can be social and take the time to create new friendships so I don’t feel so lonely. And even if it means I won’t be able to bake or invite friends over or sit on the couch and read, I’ll find a new place to live.

I don’t think this is the end because I think I’m willing to suffer through it to make it last longer, but I just wish I didn’t have to struggle anymore.

0 In Daily Life/ Hawaii/ Uncategorized

Easter Sunday

“He is not here. He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.” Matthew 28:6

He is risen.

It’s such a commonly used Christian phrase that it’s almost second nature to faith, but when you really think about it, it has such incredible implications. Declaring that Jesus is risen shouldn’t just roll off your tongue the way “I want ice cream” rolls off mine. Saying and believing that Jesus is risen should be more magnificent and meaningful than anything you’ve ever experienced.

Because the truth is that Jesus rising from the dead is the most wonderful thing that has happened on earth.

It created a way for us to enter into eternal life. It forever changed the way we have relationship with God. It fulfilled prophesy. Jesus rising on that third day did many things for us, but it also poses as a reminder that God is capable of doing the most unimaginable thing in our life out of His abundant love for us.

That means whatever you’re praying for right now, God will one up you and do even better. Right now I’m praying long and praying hard about being able to still live in Kaneohe after my uncle sells this house. And I know that even if I don’t get to live in this house and get to live in this neighborhood where I walk past the sweetest old man on my daily walking route, that God will one up my prayer and give me an even better home and better community to live in.

That means whatever situation you’re in that seems unbearable- like you can’t be in it for another minute- God will guide your steps and take you somewhere you didn’t even know was possible for you to attain. Like how I am sitting in the depths of loneliness and singleness, but I know that God will bring me to a place where I am one day surrounded by and flooded by the love of those around me.

That means that everything and anything in your life can change and change for good. Because God is in the business of restoration and His plans are always a reflection of His goodness. He might walk us through some valleys to stretch us and get us to grow, but He’ll never leave us there. And so even in our confusion, we can know that God will bring goodness out of every circumstance.

Out of is abundant love for us, God gave us His son. And unlike anyone else walking on earth then or now or in the future, His son lived a perfect life free of sin. How unimaginable that one could live without fault. And then out of his abundant love for us, He called His son to the cross where He would have to sacrifice His life as a ransom for our lives. How unimaginable that one would give their life for those he doesn’t even know. And finally, out of His abundant love for us He gives us the chance at Heaven.

And I truly believe that Heaven will be glorious- no sin, no pain, no hurt, no moths, no pickles, no credit card debt. But until then we have the opportunity to experience heaven on earth. We might not get the full effects of Heaven while living on earth, but we have the chance to get a glimpse of it while living on earth when we choose to live the way Jesus lived, when we choose to follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings in our lives, and when we choose to believe in God.

How unimaginable to have a piece of Heaven on earth when our world is so fallen and so broken. But how totally possibly when we know and believe that our God is good and what He has done for us is out of His abundant love for us.

He is risen, He is risen indeed.

And because He has, we can live striving for the unimaginable and attaining just a piece of it until we rest eternally with Him.  

0 In Daily Life/ Hawaii/ Uncategorized

Holy Saturday

“When the centurion, who was standing opposite Him, saw the way He breathed His last breath, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’” Mark 15:39

It’s over two thousand years later and we know now what they did not know then- in that moment. We read our bibles and we know that Jesus rose from the dead. We know that just as it was predicted in the scriptures, He came to life three days later. We know that He conquered death.

But to Mary Magdalene and Jesus’ mother Mary, they didn’t know. They witnessed the crucifixion and bore witness as Jesus was gruesomely tortured. Then as He was hung up on that cross, they grieved the suffering of someone they loved dearly. And now they’re sitting in their loss. Jesus is gone. He’s given up His soul. And all they know in this moment is that He has passed.

Imagine not knowing that Jesus would rise again. Imagine the feeling they had knowing the Messiah was killed and not knowing what was going to happen next. Because at this point, Jesus was undoubtedly the Son of God.

Even the centurion who probably took part in mocking and torturing Jesus admit it. Caiaphas most likely witnessed the temple veil being torn in half and then realized how wrong he was to have had plotted Jesus’ death. And then there’s Pilate who knew something was fishy and maybe now wishes he had trusted his gut. At the moment of His death, everyone everywhere knew who He was, but now He was dead.

How stupid they must have all felt.

But fast forward to present day, and we know.

We know that Sunday will bring a miracle. We know that Sunday will mark a prophesy fulfilled. We know that Jesus will rise again.

But that’s on Sunday. On this Holy Saturday, we sit in between the crucifixion and the resurrection. In between the suffering and the freedom. In between the loss and the deliverance. In between knowing the worst has happened but having faith that the best is yet to come.

And that’s why Holy Saturday is my favorite day of Holy Week. Because more often than not, I am sitting in the in between. Some days are torturous like Good Friday, and some days are joyful like Resurrection Sunday. But most of my days, I am between the suffering and the promise.

With God it’s not all bad days. Truly, the bad days are numbered and they don’t last for as long as they feel in the moment. Before you know it, the bad days are gone. But it’s also not all good days. Yes there are very, very many good days with God. Days when I get a good parking spot at the mall or days when the water at the beach sparkles just right. But even the good days are limited when we live in a broken world. And so truthfully, most days are sat right in between. They’re a mix of good and bad, and regardless of which outweighs the other, they all require a good load of faith.

Because when Mary witnessed her son being tortured, she needed to hold onto faith that this was all part of God’s plan. Then when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that it was empty, in faith she was determined to find His body and instead saw the resurrected Christ. It’s faith that pushes us to trust in God beyond our suffering, and it’s as a result of our faith that we will one day see Christ in Heaven.

So if I had to summarize it… Good Friday was a day of suffering. Resurrection Sunday is the day of rejoicing. And Holy Saturday is when we hold onto faith when we’re placed in the in between.

0 In Daily Life/ Hawaii/ Uncategorized

Good Friday

My deepest, unspoken, fear is to inconvenience people. That’s why I cross my legs and pull in my arms to take as little space as possible when sitting in a group. That’s why I’ll hold my pee the entire flight to Barcelona from San Francisco as to not wake up the person sitting in the aisle seat. That’s why I sit for hours doing nothing instead of going home because I’m afraid if I get up to say goodbye then I’ll interrupt the people from watching their movie so it’s best I don’t get up at all. My fear of inconveniencing people is why I do a lot of the things I do at my own personal cost so I’m not causing other people discomfort.

I feel like an incredible burden when people have to go out of their way for me.

*Unless you’re Cassie or mom or dad, then I will be a lazy bum and do nothing and make you do everything.*

And this Good Friday, I have been crying over and over at the thought of Jesus sacrificing His life for me.

Because He didn’t just stop to pause and grab me a cup of water. He wasn’t moving out of the way so that I could push my shopping cart around the aisle. It wasn’t simple or easy or quick. He died. For me.

He was spit at, ridiculed, and embarrassed. The people shouted mean things and called for Him to be crucified. His body was beaten and broken. They pierced through His skin and nailed his wrists and feet to a wooden cross. A crown of thorns was pressed onto his head. All of this suffering for me.

I can hardly muster up the courage to ask someone to turn down the car AC so I’ll sit freezing cold for the entire ride, and here Jesus is sacrificing His body for me. And I have absolutely no idea what I did to deserve it.

Because the more I think about it, the more I don’t deserve it. The more I know without a doubt, I am not worthy of that type of love. I mess up, I make mistakes, I sin, I disobey, and I’m stubborn so I go my own way. And so I don’t believe that I am someone worth dying for. But the reality is that regardless of what I think of myself, Jesus died for me anyways.

And since He did- since He loved me so much- He put His body up as a ransom for my life. He paid the price so that I could have a chance at life and life eternal.

The Bible says that as Jesus gave up His spirit, the veil of the temple tore. The physical curtain that kept people from bringing sacrificial offerings was broken. No longer were people barred from entering the sacred space, and no longer did people have to offer sacrifices when in that sacred space. Jesus made a way for us to be close to God without rules and regulations and limitations. And then He took it further and He gave us the Holy Spirit. So now we can be close to God, but also God can live in us.

If it were up to me, I would have told Jesus that He doesn’t have to come into town to visit me. I would have said I’ll be fine and that He doesn’t have to worry. But it wasn’t up to me. And just as much as He did then and as much as He will now, Jesus will always come to me. There is nothing I can do that will ever feel like an inconvenience to Jesus.

And so I’m reminding myself that even though it pains me to see Jesus’ discomfort at my expense, it was His suffering that made way for me to be close with God.

0 In Daily Life/ Hawaii/ Uncategorized

I’ve Lost an Arm

I just drove home from Ewa Beach, and I didn’t spend the entire car ride talking to someone on the phone. I did, however, spend the entire car ride off-and-on uncontrollably crying.

I’ve been thinking a lot over the past week about how I feel. How I really, truly feel. Because sooner rather than later, what everyone else feels will start to influence how I feel. I hate to admit it, but I consult a wide variety of people, and those people’s perspectives often make their way into my perspective.

And the best way to explain how I truly feel is to describe it like losing an arm…

Because you naturally use your arm to do just about anything throughout your day. You reach for salt on the top shelf. You reach down to tie your shoes. You loop your purse around and carry all your bags. You never think about whether or not your arm will be there. It just is. It’s a part of you.

But what happens when it’s not… Because that’s how I’ve felt the past week.

The natural and normal piece of my life is no longer there. Not when I wake up, not when the kids are napping at school, not when I go to sleep. The things that go hand in hand, like driving and calling someone to talk on the phone, are no longer hand in hand. And so I feel like I’ve lost a part of me.

And as a result, I haven’t known how to function this past week. Simple, routine tasks are painful because they aren’t the same anymore. Driving home at night is terrifying because there’s no one on the phone with me to make sure I get home safe. Getting off of work and not receiving a celebratory “woo!” text message makes getting off of work so much less exciting. And a million other parts of my routine that I’ve developed over the past year to what was my new normal, are no longer part of my routine therefore my life has been extremely abnormal.

So it feels like I’ve lost an arm. And if anyone asks me, I will tell them I feel like I’ve lost an arm. And no one will understand and no one may relate to how I feel. But I know that is 100% how I truly and genuinely feel.