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0 In Daily Life/ Japan

You Don’t Need to Worry

I’ve been afraid. Maybe even hesitant. Doubtful really. Nervous about September turning into October and my birth month arriving; therefore, my birthday getting even nearer. I’ve been scared because this time last year I thought I heard God. I thought He told me not to worry because I wouldn’t be single anymore. Yet here I am, single as ever. So, I was heartbroken to think I heard God wrong or that maybe He had forgotten or left me. I didn’t want my birthday to come up because I wasn’t ready to face the disappointment of an unanswered prayer becoming a reality.

Yet as I walked around Tokyo Disneysea… The beauty and detail of Ariel’s grotto… The reality that I was in Japan… All the amazing things that are happening and will happen in the month of October… God must have chuckled as He said, “It’s not as bad as thought it would be is it?”

Because the reality is, this month is going to be amazing. It’s a month I should be excitedly anticipating instead of dreadfully ignoring. It’s a month of travelling to new places, spending time with family, and most importantly, celebrating my birthday.

There was nothing I had to worry about. There still is nothing I have to worry about.

0 In Daily Life/ Japan

I Never Said That

I couldn’t hold back the tears. They just kept coming and coming. For the first time in a really long time I just connected with worship and let God speak to me through it.

And this is what He said to me…

“Who told you those things? Who said that about you? Because I didn’t. Because I don’t think of you like that.”

____________________

In every meeting, Stephen would talk about how this trip pushes people. It causes you to think and really decide whether the whole Jesus thing is real or not in your life.

And here I am. A leader on the trip, and I have all those questions and doubts. I don’t feel like I’m in any position to lead or be an example. Yet God is telling me that’s not true.

He’s calling out the lies and unearthing all my doubts. He’s trying to speak louder than my own, condescending voice. He’s trying to empower and uplift me because He knows and understands my true worth. Even when I doubt myself and I doubt Him, He still calls close so that I can hear His loving voice.

0 In Daily Life/ Japan

You Are Enough

It was a rocky summer- and that’s putting it lightly. My friendships and my faith were put to the test, and for the most part I didn’t make it. The doubts that crept into my head overpowered the hope that I had in my heart. So, I ended the summer not really trusting in who God is, not really knowing what He was trying to do, and not really sure if I wanted in on this whole Jesus thing.

So, I’m here in Japan, and that’s exactly how the enemy is trying to attack me. He’s getting into my head saying, “Who are you to preach about a good God when you yourself don’t believe in Him?” And God is telling me that simply is not true. I am enough for Him. I am enough to fulfill His promises. I am enough to accept His goodness and grace and love. He’s using me. I Just have to remember who I belong to.

0 In Daily Life/ Hawaii/ Uncategorized

Choosing Good

I am not an idiot. I know that what comes up must come down. I know that hot is the opposite of cold and big is the opposite of small. I also know that good’s counterpart is evil, and that where light exists there must also be darkness. So as much as I believe in a good God whose light prevails always, I must also believe in an evil enemy whose darkness can be just as strong.

On August 07, 2014 I chose good. I declared in front of my team, in front of the church members in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and most importantly in front of God, that I believe in goodness and grace and light and that as much as I could I would walk everyday closer to that goodness and grace and light.

But in the summer of 2019, it became really difficult to choose good. Every day and because of each situation, the light that I looked for grew dimmer and dimmer. The darkness in my life soon became a cloud surrounding me that I couldn’t see past. The devil seeped himself in my life and planted himself where he knew it would hurt most. Little by little, one by one, he shattered every relationship I had put my hope into. I began to resent the people I loved. The people I saw a future with. The people I looked up to in my call to ministry. The people I trusted with my whole heart. And for the longest time I thought it was all my fault. I thought that I ruined these treasures in my life. It wasn’t until the enemy tried to ruin the one relationship that I hold dearest in my life that I finally woke up and said that’s enough.

See, the enemy thought he had won. I imagine him walking around with a smirk on his face thinking, “I’ve got this girl. She’s going to run away just like I knew she would.” But I’m not, not this time. I know that if I runaway now that darkness will win and the light at the end of the tunnel that God is trying so desperately to get me to will never be reached.

I know now that the light never disappeared. God’s goodness and grace never left me. I just turned my back around and thought I could handle it all on my own. As if I could ever fight the enemy on my own and win.

So now I’m turning back around. I’m facing the light and walking towards goodness and grace no matter how many nails the enemy lays on the path as I move my feet forward, no matter how many times he tries to whisper in my ear to turn back around, no matter how many tears flood my eyes as I try to see what’s ahead. Because I believe in good, and I know that when I choose good that evil will continue to creep up behind me and cause me to doubt. Because I know that the closer I get towards God, the harder the enemy is going to try to pull me away from Him. Because I know now that God has something wildly incredible in store for my life and that the devil was moments away from snatching it away.

Today and every day I choose good.

In Daily Life/ Hawaii/ Uncategorized

I Think I’ll Stay for a While

No, I wasn’t born in Hawaii. Yes, I’m from California. I’m not sure how long I’ll stay, but I don’t have any current intentions to leave. I’ve been getting the same question a lot lately- more than usual. “How long do you think you’ll live in Hawaii?”

When I moved here in 2016 I didn’t necessarily have a plan. It wasn’t, “I’ll stay for a few years then move back to California and really get life started.” I knew that God wanted me in Hawaii, and so the next right step was to move to Hawaii. So, my honest answer to everyone’s question is that I’ll stay for however long God wants me to stay, and the minute He tells me it’s time to go then I’ll go. 

But at this very minute, my heart breaks at the thought of me ever leaving. God has done wonderful and beautiful things for me in Hawaii that I could have never expected, but first He had to take me through some ugly and painful seasons as well.

____________________

Wednesday June 21, 2017 1:38 AM.

I woke up in the middle of the night- something I don’t often do- but there was an uneasy feeling in my heart that stirred me awake. I rolled over in my bed, grabbed my phone, and checked for notifications. There was an email from my pastor with the subject line ‘Aloha’. In my half-awake state I read the email, shook my head, and read the email again. “People are stirring things up.” “Drama team.” “I have been asked to intervene.” “They talk a lot, to a lot of people.” Before I knew it, tears were rolling down my cheeks and the breath in my lungs had been stolen from me. In a season where I was constantly feeling like I was never good enough, this was the final blow.

With tears flooding my vision I begged her to let me go. “Mom please, please I just want to go home. I don’t want to be here anymore. Can I please fly home today?” For the first time in my life, Hawaii was not home. Hawaii wasn’t a place of peace and comfort, but it was the place that crushed my every hope and desire.

In that moment I was ready to leave.

____________________

Friday June 21, 2018 4:26 PM.

“I don’t think you should go to church tonight.” “But I loooooooove church.”

I had a 99.7 degree fever, a small migraine, potentially an ear infection, and a sore throat. Most of my day was spent sitting down to avoid moving around too fast and making the migraine worse. Even in the humidity and heat, I was shivering cold and needed a fleece jacket. Still, I wasn’t going to miss church.

Church has become my place. It’s where I know I’ll see all my friends, where I know I’ll actually get to have interactions with people my own age not two decades younger than me, and where I know I’ll meet God’s grace. Even missing just one service makes me feel like I’m missing a month’s worth of quality time with the people I care about the most.

It’s because of my church that I know I’m not ready to leave.

____________________

See, I was ready to jump ship. I was ready to pack up my bags and never look behind me. And I almost did! I applied for jobs in San Diego, I considered getting an apartment with my sister in Point Loma, and I thought I could just slip away. But God still wanted me in Hawaii. And if I had even for a second doubted God’s goodness, I would have trusted in my own understanding instead of having faith that God puts purpose in the midst of pain. So, because I know better and because I’ve had enough experiences under my belt to know that God is always good, I held out onto hope that there would still be light at the end of the tunnel… A tunnel that quite literally felt like it was crashing down on me and I had no way out.

Now here I am having finally made my way to the other side- absolutely loving this life that God has allowed me to live. Each day gets dreamier and dreamier. The color of the ocean and the sway of the water has yet to lose its awe and wonder in my eyes. Then even on gloomy days when it’s pouring rain there are still specs of beauty as each new waterfall forms in the ridges of the mountain. From one side to another, this island is beautiful.

But it’s not the beauty of the island that makes Hawaii feel like home. It’s the people I get to share my life with. The people I bake cookies with. The people I have sleepovers with. The people I text when an episode of Game of Thrones gets too wild, or the people I go to the movies with. It’s the people that ask me the tough questions, and the people that remind me I’m being prayed over. The people who are guiding me in my call to ministry. The people that welcome me into their homes and into their families. These are the people that have helped Hawaii feel like home again.

Because of them, I think I’ll stay for a while.