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1 In Daily Life/ Hawaii/ Uncategorized

Brave

I’m not sure where to start, because there’s no good place to start. 2019 was a journey of ups and downs and deeply painful challenges for me. Still, 2019 made me brave.

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When I was a kid, apparently, I’d put my hair up in four ponytails- one at the top of my head, one sticking out of the left side of my head, one in the back, and one to the right side of my head. I’d walk around the house with my four ponytails strutting my stuff like I was the queen of the world. I can imagine that I had some bright pink shirt on or a wild pair of pants. (I really had no concept of matching or minimalism at the time.) These are the details my cousins would use to describe the unashamedly, brave, young Meg.

I wish I could say that I stayed that way… That as I got older I continued to be true to myself and flaunt my stuff like no one else in the room mattered. But the reality is I became more and more shy. I was timid, I took a long time to warm up to new ideas, and I preferred the quiet of my own corner. There were instances- and with certain people- where I would be loud and proud, but when I look back I don’t know if there were any times in my life where I was as brave as four ponytailed Meg.

Until 2019 came around and God whispered the word brave into my ear. I thought this meant I would finally muster up the courage to climb the side of rock walls or maybe get over my fear of heights. I thought brave looked like jumping out of a plane without peeing my pants. At the least, I thought brave would mean going ice skating without holding on to the railing the whole time. But it didn’t. And sure enough when I went ice skating with my cousins last week I held onto the ice rink rail for the entire hour we were skating. (They were skating… I was inching myself along.)

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Brave wasn’t how God wanted me to act, it was how he wanted me to feel.

Because towards the end of 2019 when it felt like a world of pressure had been growing on my shoulders, God didn’t tell me to be brave enough to climb a mountain. Instead, He told me to be brave enough to express how I feel. He was preparing me to have courage to express my deepest, most intimate thoughts- to put them out in the open where I couldn’t keep them a secret anymore. He was making me brave. Not on my own will and surely not by my own doing, but because I knew deep in my heart that He would be with me every step along the way so then I could be brave.

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But don’t give me credit just yet, because it didn’t start out like that. I didn’t trust God like that. I didn’t believe Him like that. Because before I could be brave enough to know that God was with me, I was stupid enough to believe that I could be brave without Him.

The first brave step I took in 2019 was admitting to myself that I had stumbled. This in turn led to me crying out to God and asking Him to guide me once again. Because when things didn’t look how I had expected or hoped them to, instead of taking brave steps with God I took stupid steps on my own. I kept walking farther and farther away from God- growing in anger and resentment as time passed. I began to doubt that He cared. I started to let myself believe that God wasn’t working, so in retaliation I was done waiting. I was done praying. I was done worshipping. I was done believing in someone who wasn’t showing up for me anymore.

And as a result of trying to do life on my own, nothing came crumbling down, nothing shattered to pieces, nothing slipped out of my grip. Life was seemingly ok, and I was seemingly ok with doing life without God. So, I continued to walk farther and farther away from where I was supposed to be. But the war that raged inside of me couldn’t be masked no matter how many times I tried to cover it up.

For most of my life my head and my heart have been at odds. I’m a logical girl who likes reasoning and explanation, but I act based off of how I feel and sometimes I can’t control that. So, as I tried to turn my back on God, the battle between my head and my heart intensified. My head kept telling me that I was making a mistake, and my heart kept reminding me of the hurt I felt when I thought God was absent from my life. How could I possibly reconcile what makes sense versus what hurts most…

Then I remembered that God wanted me to feel brave, and in order to truly know what brave felt like I needed to know what terrified was. Because terrified was what I had been walking around with. The feeling of hurt that nearly convinced me God wasn’t around. The feeling of disappointment when nothing seemed to go the way I had thought they were supposed to go. Terrified was a life without God.

Once I opened my eyes, once I fell to my knees, once I admitted defeat, then I could believe wholeheartedly that God makes me brave. Brave enough to trust in Him throughout the unknown. Brave enough to relinquish my hopes and desires to His plans.  Brave enough to feel- and know without a shadow of a doubt- that I am not in this alone.

1 In Daily Life/ Japan

I Can Calm the Storm

Easy. This one I heard fast and I believed in fully.

There was a hurricane coming our way. Typhoon is what they call it in Japan. Category 5 typhoon- which is pretty darn bad. High winds, lots of rain, potential flooding. Bad… all bad.

She said it quick and not in an assertive way… But I heard it and it stuck with me. She said, ‘pray that the typhoon goes away.’ And instantly I thought, ‘what if it’s not supposed to go away.’

What if the typhoon isn’t supposed to go away… What if it’s here to serve a purpose. It’s scary, I know. Super dangerous and not pleasant whatsoever, but what if there’s a reason it’s supposed to come.

What if in my life the bad parts were supposed to come. What if instead of praying the pain away, I prayed for strength in the middle of the storm. What if there’s a reason. What if God had purpose for all the pain, hurt, doubt, frustration, and confusion. What if the storms in my life served a lot more good than bad.

At around 8 PM the rain stopped. After hours and hours of downpour- to the point that the park had no become a swimming pool- it all came to a halt. The wind ceased and the trees that were once blowing wildly in the wind were now still. We were in the eye of the storm. In other parts of the country the typhoon still roared violently, but where we were it was peaceful and calm.

Maybe that’s what it’s like when you hold onto God in the midst of a stormy season. When you trust fully in His goodness… When you put your whole hope into His promise… Then no matter how much everything around you gets crazy, you can be still.

0 In Daily Life/ Japan

Come to Me and Breathe Again

I don’t think I was listening today. Not very well anyways. I was so occupied with the things around me, the people around me, that for the first time in a long time I didn’t feel under pressure.

You see, Mel called it an instant pot. Me, I was the instant pot. All summer I was set to pressure cook mode and the pressure kept getting tighter and tighter. It was a building up of tenseness and pain and doubt. Always building up but never releasing.

Yet today (and this whole trip really) was different. Breathing… I could breathe.

We went to Shibuya first. Saw the Hachi statue and crossed the busiest crosswalk. Aimlessly walked around until we stumbled on all the right things. I went to the Disney store and bought things that maybe I didn’t need but still bring me joy anyways.

Then we went to Harajuku. It was unlike the rest of Japan that I’ve experienced so far. It was pink and colorful and wild and crazy. What a contrast from anything else I’ve seen. We ate at Bills for lunch and man was that fun. Yummy and yuppy, fun and fancy, delicious and delightful.

I loved today. I loved getting to breathe again.

I’m on the right track. Almost to the point of completely releasing steam. Slowly and surely, it’s getting easier. Getting more comfortable. Slowly but surely, I’m believing in God’s goodness again. Removing the lies. Speaking the truth. Resting assured in His love, grace and peace until finally, I can breathe again.

0 In Daily Life/ Japan

I Know How This Will End

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” saith the Lord, “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11 KJV

I had no words. It was like I lifted my head for the first time and opened my eyes to the thing that was always right in front of me.

Jeremiah 29:11 is my life verse. It’s the verse I clung onto when I first started seeking out God for myself. It’s the verse that reminds me that God has a plan. I thought I knew everything about it… I had it memorized and probably at some point checked all the translations. But this was the first time I heard it like this.

“For I know the thoughts I think toward you.”

The past few months have been a struggle for me to believe in what God says about me. I convinced myself that He wasn’t with me, that He didn’t care about me, that ultimately God wasn’t here for my good. They were all lies. None of it was truth. I had made it all up in my head. It wasn’t what God thought towards me.

“thoughts of peace and not of evil”

All of these things I let myself believe brought so much brokenness into my life. I was constantly crying. I was always hurt. For so many weeks the smile on my face was just a façade to hide all the pain that I was feeling. They were thoughts of evil and not of peace.

“to give you an expected end.”

I thought I knew my expected end, and when that expected end didn’t seem like it was coming I was hurt. And the pain grew more and more as that expected end seemed to get farther and farther away from my current reality. That’s what allowed the evil to seep in and drown out the peace. That’s where lies started forming and the thoughts God had towards me were forgotten. All because I was running towards my expected end and not God’s.

He knows what’s going to happen. He has known all along. Even when I was full of doubt. He’s bringing me closer to the expected end He has planned for me.

0 In Daily Life/ Japan

Let Me Tell You

I told Pastor Yoshi that I hadn’t spoken to my mom in a few weeks. He asked if we were in a fight, and I said, ‘no she’s just in California so I normally have to call her.’ He asked if she was on a business trip, and I said no that’s where she lives.

California. Hawaii. Japan.

I used to live in California. Now I live in Hawaii. And currently I’m in Japan. Won’t God do it. Won’t He take you across the world to spread His glory.

I’ve gone from place to place. Trotted from here to there. And everywhere God has spoken something different to me… In Barcelona it was that He goes with me wherever I go. In Hawaii it was that I am called to so much more than spectating. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo it was that love knows no bounds.

Now Japan.

In Japan, He’s been telling me everything. He’s right here. He is good. He has always loved me. He isn’t upset with me for straying away. He wants me to come close to Him. He has known and still knows what is going to happen in my life.

He’s answering every prayer. He’s cancelling out any lies. He’s speaking truth.