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Fairytales

For as long as I can remember, I’ve created fairytales in my head. Long before the Disneyland season passes and the obsession with magic and dreams and happily ever afters, I had the story I was writing.

And the story in high school was to make it to college. And not just any college, but Point Loma Nazarene University. And before that chapter had been begun, the pages were already falling apart. The preface was a flatout disaster. So, I was forced to scrap the pages already written and accept a blank book.

God then took that book and filled it with stories I could have never dreamt up on my own. Stories of adventure and mystery and wonder. Stories of heartbreak and confusion and defeat. Things that I didn’t- at the time- foresee or even think was a viable option for myself. God made those stories a reality. He wrote a book for the chapter of my life that was college, and He sealed it with the most remarkable plot. Not to mention the character development that occurred. There was lots of emphasis on character development.

But now the college book had ended. It’s been finished for a while now. And maybe the past couple years were still part of the epilogue, but even that, I feel, has reached its end.

So now we’re back to the empty pages of a new book.

I think this book will double in length, triple in character development, and infinitely exceed all expectations.

I think in this book there will be marriage. Or maybe not. There will be kids. And if not born through my own physical body then born in another way but still received in love. This book might touch on career and calling. This book might include an actual book written by yours truly. But this one, the story God is writing right now has been out of reach and out of sight.

I have no idea. I have absolutely no clue. I cannot imagine or predict or conjure up what God is doing or will do or even has done in this past year. I just don’t know.

We’re at a new beginning. And what I’m seeing is a ton of empty, empty pages. But what God is seeing is every letter forming every word to make every sentence to fill each page until the book is complete. And as hard as it is for me to stand here staring at something blank, I need to- my sanity depends on it- believe that God has it written out.

0 In Hawaii/ Uncategorized

Shining Rainbows

I am bright shining rainbows. I am the light at the end of the tunnel. I am the “there’s always a positive side!” That’s who I am. That’s who I’ve programmed myself to be.

But this year was rain cloud after rain cloud after rain cloud. It was darkness and a never ending trek through the wilderness. It was asking God, “When will this come to an end?”

Because if it was up to me everything would be covered in glitter and sparkles and magic. There would be rays of light and the sun would shine so brightly all day long. That’s the world I want to live in. That’s the world my head lives in.

But the reality is, that sometimes things just suck. Sometimes a man eats a bat on accident and causes a worldwide sickness. Sometimes a president who doesn’t believe in science takes no action, and thousands upon thousands die. Sometimes the year 2020 exists and it throws punch after punch right in the gut.

And when you’re right in the middle of it, it’s hard to see a way out. It feels impossible. It feels like there’s absolutely no other solution.

But there is a relentless hope that anchors my soul. A hope that keeps fighting and fighting to be known.

It’s the hope that has been put through fire and trial. Often times wrung out and twisted every which way. The hope that has sustained heartbreak and tears and brokenness over and over again. This has and will always be, my silver lining.

It’s knowing that Jesus didn’t come into this world in an air-conditioned hospital room at Castle Medical. He didn’t even come in a room at all. It was a barn. With hay. Surrounded by animals.

Because in the most unlikely of places, the savior of the world was born.

And in the most unlikely of years, the savior of the world reigns light on all things. His birth reminds us that we have absolutely no idea. No way of predicting why things have happened the way they did or why things are happening the way they are or even what will happen next. But when our hope is in Him, safety will come when we least expect it.

It may come, and we may have no idea it’s arrived. It may come, and we may not know how to look for it. It may come, and we may not know what to do with it. But we can rest assured knowing that hope is coming.

So even if the rain cloud lingers over our heads, hope reminds us that the clouds will pass and make way for the rainbows. Even when it feels like everything is dark and dreary, we can dive deep and find something beautiful hidden underneath. Hope fights to tell us that the story doesn’t end with our questioning, but it keeps going on and on and on.

0 In Hawaii/ Uncategorized

Crying, Literally Everyday

Guys, I haven’t even started writing and I’m already crying.

There’s this cliché (or maybe it’s a bible verse- sorry Jesus, I’ll read my bible more) that talks about God catching all of your tears. As if each tear is caught and stored away in a bucket. And if you know me, then we can both safely assume that my bucket is probably closer to the size of an Olympic swimming pool. I cry a lot. And I cry for just about anything.

And for the past week, I’ve cried every single day.

To paint a picture… I cried Thursday night when I was watching a Christmas movie and the little boy said he wished mom could come home even though she was deployed, and she surprised him and came home. I cried Friday morning on my way to watch the sunrise as I listened to Seasons in the car and the lyric “Then if you’re not done working, God I’m not done waiting” played. I cried Saturday when Karamo was celebrating Joe Biden’s victory and talking about how it is going to change how his daughter of color views herself and exists in this world. I cried twice on Sunday. Once in the morning when Sabrina sang, “And all my life you have been faithful, and all my life you have been so, so good.” And then again at night when I watched a Disney commercial with a Filipino Lola.

All this to say, my Olympic sized pool is overflowing.

And I know it’s not going to stop anytime soon.

Because I am already fully invested. Thanksgiving hasn’t even passed yet, and I have already put up my Christmas tree and started listening to my advent worship playlist.

I love this season- more specifically advent. I love reflecting on the gift of Jesus and how God knew perfectly what the world needed. How no one could have known the most precious gift ever given would be in the form of a child birthed in a manger. And I can go on and on and on into the details of how amazing this all is, but that’s not why I’m crying and have been crying.

It’s the root cause, yes. It’s the foundation to what these tears are stemming from. But it’s because I know of what happened then that I’m crying because I expect of what will happen now.

God changed the world with the birth of Jesus, and I know He’s changing my world right now, in this season.

The tears have always been a preface to something even greater. Something I could not have imagined to be grown out of suffering. It has always been the before to the wildly, unimaginable greatness that God brings me into.

I remember crying for weeks on end before I left Windward. Crying in my room, looking myself in the mirror, and questioning who I had become. Crying in front of the entire church as my departure was announced.

And then there was the spring where God tugged on my heart and told me to stop walking away from my calling. I cried in the car. I cried at church. I cried in the car some more. I cried until Anuhea reached out to me and asked if I wanted to be a youth leader. Then I stopped crying because God had opened my heart enough to know to say yes.

My Olympic sized swimming pool has never been in vain. And it wasn’t until that pool was upgraded from a kiddie pool to what it is now that I learned God uses every tear. He quite literally catches them all.

So, for all the ones falling right now, I know that He is positioning me into a place I could have never imagined on my own. He’s preparing a gift for me that I didn’t know I was going to receive. Something that will change my world. Something that will alter the trajectory of my life. And it’s all because He loves. All because He knows what’s best for me.

0 In Hawaii/ Uncategorized

The Question

I’m writing this now. Before I have birthday dinner after birthday dinner after birthday dinner. Before I hop on a plane and fly home. Before the tears start flowing and the answer becomes less clear. I’m writing this now.

Typically when I write it comes from a place of questioning, reflecting, and then having lived through the experience enough to know what to say. I always write after. After the sadness, after the confusion, after the thing that hurts me isn’t really hurting me so much. But this time I have to write now. Because I’m afraid of what the answer will be if I write later.

So this isn’t a reflection. This is quite literally a pros and cons list. Here is me weighing out my options to the question I’ve already received twice and will probably hear a handful more times before flying back to Hawaii.

“When are you moving back home?”

To which I normally answer with a shrug and a “I don’t know.” Or if I’m feeling sassy it’s a lift of the eyebrow, a pursing of the lips, and a “Not anytime soon.”

But if I was being really honest, I would say, “What are you talking about. I am home.”

Because California will always be home. I will be a 650 girl until the day my mom kicks me off her phone plan. But the truth is I haven’t lived in the Bay Area- like truly lived and not just a two-week vacation- since I was 18. It takes me a minute to remember 280 from 101, and don’t even bother asking me to drive because I don’t know where to go let alone feel comfortable enough to push it to 80 mph on the freeway. Deep down inside of me there will always be a California girl, but this California girl has been out of state for quite some time.

So con #1 Bay Area, I don’t know anything anymore. And I can relearn! I’m truly not opposed to learning how to separate compost from recycling from trash. But I just don’t know the new things about this way of life. I’ve been so far detached that I’ve forgotten what it looks like to live in a big city. I didn’t learn along the way as the changes were occurring.

But pro #1 Bay Area, this will always be familiar so long as my friends and family are here. Nothing can replace the memories and history I have in the Bay Area. Eating Skyflakes and condensed milk after school because Inang didn’t mess around with those American snacks. Or going to the Pacific Super across the street and stealing ice cream pints and running back to Andrea’s house. Or young little Adam and his many hats carrying a tray of chocolate chip cookies his mom made for us (God bless Weekend mom). Yes, these are memories; they’re in the past. But the people I’ve made these memories with were and still are a huge part of my life, and they’re in California.

And that’s what is going to make hopping on a plane to Hawaii this Sunday real difficult. Because when I look out the window and watch the plane separate from the land and drift into the air, I know I’m also separating myself from the people I love and putting an ocean sized distance in between us.

It would be easier if I knew I was flying back to a family. Flying back to people who knew me before I became this young professional with a job and a rent payment and a car loan. Because I’ve always believed Hawaii gets a different part of me. It gets the part that is put together and on track and independent. California gets the part of me that is a kid- no responsibilities, free to do what I please, and joyfully untamed.

But that contrast is why Hawaii gets pro #1. My career is there. Even before I started working full-time, my professional life was built in Hawaii. Internships- years and years of internships- all in Hawaii. The retirement plan I’m banking on is from the job I’m at in Hawaii. The salary I get that beats out most other preschool teacher salaries is from my job in Hawaii. The children’s center that I love working at is in Hawaii. My 8 to 5, my 40 hours a week, my work is in Hawaii.

And yes, jobs are replaceable and I can find something in California, but it’s more than just my career. I learned how to be independent in Hawaii. How to clean a bathroom. How to transfer the electric bill to be under my name. How to vote. How to cook! My goodness if it weren’t for living on my own in Hawaii I would have never been forced to learn how to chop an onion.

I am on my own in Hawaii, and I enjoy that. So maybe it’s worth a pro #2 but also that’s a con #1, because on my own I cannot afford the life I live. On my own I pay for my own groceries, my own rent, my own car. I pay for everything you would never think of paying for until you live on your own. Toilet paper? Yeah that’ll cost you $20 in Hawaii. You want bread? That’s another $6 or $7. Spam for breakfast? You would think that would be cheap, but no it’s $2.50 a can. I don’t know how much longer I can afford to live in paradise.

But it truly is paradise. Pro #3: it’s beautiful there. The ocean is where my soul finds rest and meets peace. Lanikai beach holds a countless amount of my tears and prayers. The Ko’olaus can steal my gaze for hours. It’s warm, it’s sunny, there are rainbows. Smog isn’t filling the sky. I don’t have to worry about a fog layer rolling in and needing a jacket. The water temperature is always warm and I can go to the beach in the middle of December. I love the paradise I live in. I do not, at all, not one bit, miss living in a hustle, bustle city.  

So what’s the tally now? I think Hawaii still wins.

It’s going to take a whole lot for me to leave the life I’ve cultivated in Hawaii. Surprisingly enough, not even a pandemic made me second guess my decision to live in Hawaii. The world came to a halt, disease struck the nation, Meg became more dramatic than she already is, and yet I still had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to- needed to- continue living in Hawaii.

Sabrina and I had this conversation once before. We talked about how life would move on if I left. I would be ok, and I would learn how to rebuild. But in the deepest parts of our gut we knew that I’d be off track. That God has me in Hawaii in this time in my life for a reason. That reason? Still working on figuring that one out.

But that’s the one thing that would get me to get up and leave- a big, blaring, “right now is the time” from God. He’s the only one that will get me to budge. He’s the only one that gets to make that call.

And until that time, it’s Hawaii for me.

0 In Hawaii/ Uncategorized

Stop Trying to Understand

I was up late the other night. As is the case most nights, because I find myself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram for hours on end. And on this particular night I had scrolled through just about everything I could scroll through. So, I transferred my attention to Facebook to mindlessly scroll through that. And when I signed onto Facebook I immediately had a notification. “Hillsong Barcelona streaming live now.”

Wow. Hillsong Barcelona- haven’t thought of them since I studied abroad. That was my home church when I lived in Spain, and funny enough, at one point in time if you Googled “Hillsong Barcelona” my blog was the third search option that popped up. Anyways, with nothing more to scroll through I thought, “Eh why not.”

So I turned the live stream on and waited for service to start. For the first ten minutes I watched the preservice announcement slides and listened to worship music in Spanish. As the songs played I was able to recognize the melodies and knew I knew the songs in English, but I can hardly remember lyrics in English let alone remember them in Spanish. Then service started and Pastor Juan and Damsy started with a few announcements. Pastor Juan speaks a million words a minute, but even with how fast he spoke I could still understand him. Somewhere in my brain I was able to comprehend it and know exactly what he was saying. After the announcements came worship, and that’s when God whispered to me.

Compared to preservice announcement music, the worship set displayed the lyrics on the screen the way you would see them if you were in service. And instead of just listening to the music and going along with it, I listened, read the lyrics on the screen, and tried my best and fastest to translate them. So the whole time rather than worshipping along with the song, I was working my brain to try to understand and comprehend what was being said. And I messed it up for myself.

I learned a long time ago- while studying in Barcelona actually- that God works in inconceivable ways. He works across language barriers and socio-economic statuses. He works in the United States just as much as He does in Spain or in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He works in adults who have been around the church for a lifetime, and He works in young children who can barely piece together words.

So why is it that in that moment, I was still trying to make God fit into what I understand? Why did I need to translate lyrics when I know in my heart that the Holy Spirit understands Spanish.

That’s what led God to whispering, “Stop trying to understand.”

Because lately God has been saying over and over to me that I don’t need to- and truly will never be able to- understand Him or His ways. I don’t need to overanalyze and complicate the situation. I don’t need to think through all the steps and organize what to do next. I just need to keep going. Keep believing in His goodness. Keep trusting in His faithfulness. And keep relying on His love that will endure.

I see this image of Him looking at me, holding my face, staring into my eyes and telling me all the things I should have already learned by now…

“Meg, I created you to be organized and thorough and detailed and goal-oriented. I created you knowing you would plan everything and expect the world of it. But I did not create you to know my thoughts or know my reasoning. And I want to give you glimpses, I really do. I want to show you the pieces so that you can enjoy the ride along the way… So that it won’t hurt so much. So that you can rejoice along with me. But I know that when I do, you run off on your own. You take what is written in front of you, you work your brain to try to uncover it’s meaning, and then you try to turn it into something you can understand. But it’s not your job to understand.”

How do I rewire my brain in order to stay on the path God has set before me? How do I prevent myself from messing up opportunities because of my second nature need to understand? What do I do when all I want is for the world- my world- to make sense, but God keeps hinting at the fact that it won’t make sense- not anytime soon anyways.

Someone please tell me. Because I’m dying to understand.