mardi, mars 27, 2007
Today was a wonderfully scrumptious day. It was a day filled with ice cream, sidewalk chalk, sunshine and complete with an awesome reminder of grace. How my soul is filled with joy! I don't often blog about my day in complete, because, well, I dislike reading blogs like this, so I don't enjoy putting my readers through this. But, today was a pretty amazing day..so here goes! You are duly forewarned.
I woke up late this morning, and felt pretty grumpy. Yesterday, I had a day where I truly wrestled with God; so often (actually, most of the time), I am arrogant and prideful. By the end of the day, I was tired and worn out. I was questioning (for the millionth time) whether I had made the right decision in joining staff, and was feeling really burdened, because May staff training is coming up in a month, and I still had zero funds. I had gotten my dad to buy a plane ticket for me, in faith that I'd be able to pay him back, but I questioned where the money would come from. I also thought about joining staff, and how there are material things I would really like to buy, that I won't be able to (namely, a digital SLR). I also wondered what kind of an impact I've made on campus in four years..and it felt as though I had made no impact at all. Additionally, I had promised a friend that I would run an errand for him this morning, but because I woke up late, I only had a small time frame to do this errand. I wondered why I'd be so foolish as to even volunteer to serve this friend.
Quickly noticing my angry, burdened and weary heart, I stood in the shower and cried out to be free from my burdens and to experience joy in the day. Ashamedly, I admit, I prayed it with a rather unbelieving heart, but was determined to plow through the day. I set off to run the errand for my friend, grumpy that I had to go so far, wondering how I would get to campus on time. My heart soon began to melt as I saw the sunny sky and as the warm sun kissed my face. I was venturing in a part of the city that I had never been to before and I LOVED it! There were so many cute shops...it was seriously part of the city that was made especially for me!! Instantly, my grumpiness vanished as I thought about how running an errand for a friend had become a beautiful blessing for me. The air was fresh (an anomale for this smog-laden city) as I walked. When I met up with this friend to give him the stuff I had gotten for him, he put a bag on my shoulders. I looked at it... an SLR!! He had brought it to let me borrow!
I arrived at campus, and a friend gave me an envelope. I looked inside, and it was a card with money to support me for MET. I hadn't asked this friend for support, and I hadn't even made it known that I needed support, and yet here was this wad of cash staring back at me!
I went sharing, and watched with tears in my eyes as the girl I'm discipling took huge steps of faith today. Her boldness was beautiful and astounding, and it was as though our Abba was saying to me, "This is what I have used you to do. In your four years here, I have used you to multiply women who love Me and who will be bold in proclaiming My name on campus."
Then, as I sat down in the sun, I bumped into a guy I have met a couple of times. We were talking, and he asked me what I'm planning on doing this summer. I told him I was joining staff, and so I would be support raising all summer long. At that moment, he took out his wallet, and handed me some support.
I was in such shock and awe. This is a guy that I don't even really know, and here he was, being used by God to send me to a mission field. I was SO humbled.
Tonight, my heart is filled with such joy at recognizing who God is. He is not a God who has left us to fend for ourselves. He sees our burdens and He sees our needs, and He responds. How often do I forget this!! Even if He had not provided for me in such miraculous ways today, He has STILL taken care of my biggest need, which was to be delivered from His wrath. His love is steadfast and He is a merciful God. Even when I fashion 'golden calves' in my life and commit great blasphemies, He, in His great compassion does not forsake me in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud does not leave me by day to guide me on my way, nor the pillar of fire by night, to light for me the way in which I should go. He gives me His good Spirit to instruct me, and His manna He does not withhold from my mouth. He gives me water for my thirst. (Neh 9).
Serve your King.
Publié par lowonthego à 10:15 p.m.
mardi, mars 20, 2007
It's official. I'm naming my firstborn son Nehemiah. I've been studying the book of Nehemiah, while concurrently listening to Mark Driscoll preach on it, and I've been blown away.
One hundred and forty one years after the destruction of Jerusalem, Nehemiah catches a vision and a heart for the broken and vulnerable city. He enters into a time of prayer and fasting...a time which lasts for three to four months!! When the king asks him why he is upset (the same king who had previously forbidden the reconstruction of the wall around Jerusalem), he again prays, and then steps out in faith, explaining that he is upset because he feels a burden for his hometown (effectively telling the king that he was dissatisfied with his foreign policy). Not only does Nehemiah do this, he also asks the king for time off work (v.5-6) and we find out later that he had requested about twelve years off of work. Imagine asking an employer for twelve years time off, let alone a king!! Then, he proceeds to ask the king for letters to be distributed to other rulers in surrounding territory, that they'd allow him to pass through their territory (v.7). Essentially, he is asking for the king's army protection while he travels to Jerusalem. AND, as if this isn't enough, he asks for the king to provide the materials for the rebuilding of the city (v. 9) and for his housing!!
Think about this for a second... Nehemiah has essentially told King Artaxerxes that his policy sucks, that he wants twelve years time off work, that he wants to rebuild a city that isn't even under the king's dominion and does not even worship the same god, AND that he wants to do this with the support of the king's army AND the king's resources!!
Now THAT, my friends, is a support plea that blows my mind!!! Is Nehemiah an amazing man, who is never afraid, who doesn't even know what fear is?? NO! In verse 2 of chapter 2, he says, "Then I was very much afraid." He admits to being fearful! But he does not let his fear stand in the way of God's call! He makes an extravagant request. It is a request SO extravagant, it is virtually IMPOSSIBLE that it will be granted! And yet, the king grants him what he asks (v. 8). Who does Nehemiah ascribe the glory to? Not himself for his bravery and courage, but the good hand of God (v. 8)!!
Guys, this is AMAZING!!! I've really been encouraged by this. Often times, my prayers are so small and my requests even smaller. I so often live life in fear. Fear that my pleas will be rejected. Unbelief that God can answer my prayers, or that my biggest dreams are impossible. James 4:2 says that I do not have because I do not ask. Yes, Nehemiah prayed. He trusted in God to do the impossible. But he didn't stop there. He didn't limit what God could do out of fear. Instead, ALTHOUGH he was fearful, he got out of the boat, and took the steps of faith, trusting that the Almighty, Living God could sustain him.
Today, along with a sermon by good ol' Danny Mac, I was really convicted of this. How big do I really believe the God I serve is? Do I really believe that He is bigger than all the kings and rulers of the earth? Do I really believe that He can accomplish far more than I could ever dream? YES! So, I've taken a step of faith in an area that I've been unwilling to yield to God. Am I scared? Yes!! I currently feel sick to my stomach. But do I believe that the God of heaven will make me prosper (à la Neh 2:20 and Jer 29:11)? YES I do!!
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost!
Publié par lowonthego à 10:59 p.m.
lundi, mars 19, 2007
I suppose the title says it all. Eight weeks later...the academic council decided to grant me a deferred examination (which does not happen often).
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to make a trip to the Registrar's office to PAY them for their kindly services.
Publié par lowonthego à 4:09 p.m.
dimanche, mars 18, 2007
From time to time, I become obsessed over certain things. The sensation of starting a new project always leaves an indelible impression in my mind. For awhile, it was t-shirt making. Then collecting buttons. Then jewelry making. Then lomography. I enjoy doing all of these things; making art is a form of worship that I can't seem to get enough of. Accompanied by a CD (or those new fangled things called MP3s), I could spend the whole of my days wandering around looking for more opportunities to create and enjoy creation.
Lately, I have been obsessed with the TTC. The subway stations are architecturally phenomenal (although, compared to Montreal, they can't hold their own). They fascinate me, down to the Helvetica/ Univers typeface and tile patterns. I recently ordered a set of buttons (yes, geeky, i know) and I simply can't wait to put them on a purse or backpack. Is this utterly nerdy? I tell you this not to demonstrate how utterly bizarre of a person I am, but because they have inspired me to begin a summer project come May.
Have you ever been to every single station and observed the architecture? If not, you should come with me and be my photoblogging buddy! I want to do a photo essay of all the subway stations in Toronto, from Kipling to Kennedy, Lawrence East to McCowan, Downsview to Finch and Sheppard-Yonge to Don Mills. ! It'll be an adventure to remember, sometime this summer.
Publié par lowonthego à 11:49 p.m.
samedi, mars 17, 2007
Four weeks. Four weeks until ministry wraps up for the summer. Four weeks until official school is over, and all that remain are exams. Each time I see a friend, I think to myself that it may be the last time I see them. I strive for good conversations, because I don't want my last memory of them to be superficial. Saying goodbye is imminent.
Today was the Festival of Planning. I had been told that I need not go, that it would be good for me to step back. I decided to go, regardless. I'm still not sure why. It felt unsettling to be there. It would have been unsettling to not go.
I sat outside, listening to laughter coming from the rooms. It trickled down the hall. Little bursts of happiness. It was the first time in three years that I hadn't been involved in some way. Though my role has shifted, spotlights shifting off of me and leaving me in the shadows, I am grateful for this. I have been praying for ways to serve without being noticed, and this could not come at a better time. There are many things I want to do in the four weeks that remain, and I desire to press on towards the end. I want to finish the race well.
Sitting there today reminded me that this season of my life is coming to a close. Soon, it will be time to say goodbye. In some ways, I already have. I know I will enjoy that which is to come, that new seasons are just as much a cause to rejoice as the completion of another.
Today though, I am missing what has not yet gone. My heart hurts as I turn over the keys to that which I have so deeply invested in for almost four years.
Tomorrow will be a new day. I will attack it with ferocity and fervour.
Cheers to four years of ministry and time well spent. Cheers to this upcoming season of support raising.
Publié par lowonthego à 10:07 p.m.
jeudi, mars 15, 2007
This morning, I went to my inbox to check my mail. I opened up the Campus for Christ staff newsletter, or whatever you call it. It contained a link for information about the staff conference in July.
I click on the link....
and found out that this year's main speaker is...
my favourite preacher....
Then, within the span of twenty minutes, I received an email from a friend...
"Hey! If this isn’t motivation to raise your support fast, well, then I don’t know you like I thought I did. Guess who’s our main speaker at Canadian staff conference? Mark Driscoll! Live and in person. Be there!"
After I got home from class, I checked my voicemail messages...
"Hey Lydia, we just got confirmation that Mark Driscoll is the main speaker at staff conference! Guess you'll want to raise your support fast eh?"
I want to raise my support VERY fast. If this isn't motivation to get my bum off my chair..I don't know what is!!!!
MARK DRISCOLL!!! *swoon*
Publié par lowonthego à 5:38 p.m.
mercredi, mars 14, 2007
I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?~ 1 cor 4:6-7
There is someone dear to me in my life. I love her very much, but her life saddens me. This person has so much pride in her life that it consumes her. She is highly competitive, and dislikes anyone who is better than her. She pushes away anyone who desires to love her, because she refuses to submit to almost any authority. Yet, she is lonely. I can hear it too often in her voice. She doesn't understand why people might not like her, but if you suggest that it might be pride, she denies it and is incensed.
I have often looked at the life of said person. I really do love her, I have loved her ever since the day I met her, but I have often hoped that I would never be like her. I've thought about how lonely it must be, and how bitterness comes so easily yet leaves so slowly because pride sustains and feeds bitterness.
Recently, I looked in the mirror, and I saw this person staring back. I hadn't realized it, but I have become the person I never wanted to be. A day earlier, two of my friends had called me a snob, and it felt like a punch in the stomach. A knife in the chest. I wondered why it hurt so much. When I looked in the mirror, I realized that it hurt because it was true. I am the most prideful person you will ever meet, and I struggle with pride on a second by second basis.
When pride comes, then comes dishonour, but with the humble is wisdom.
One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honour.
So it will be that when the Lord has completed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, He will say, "I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the pomp of his haughtiness. For he has said, 'By the power of my hand and by my wisdom I did this.'"
...coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and they defile a person.
Pride comes in so many different forms. It can come in the form of plain old arrogance, akin to that mentioned in Isaiah 10. Or, it can come in the form of fear. Beginning the support raising process has pointed me to this form of pride in my life. I fear asking people because I fear rejection. I place my own "self-esteem" over God's call, and am disbelieving because I trust my own self and actions more than I trust God's provision and sovereign hand. Pride can come in the form of fearing man, rather than fearing God (a la Matt 10:28). Pride can come in the form of unforgiveness or disappointment due to unmet expectations, because I see myself as deserving something more, though all I deserve is death.
Here's something I found really convicting.
my name is Pride. I am a cheater.
Publié par lowonthego à 8:30 p.m.
dimanche, mars 11, 2007
A couple of things from the weekend and not..
- I will finish the series " On Being Chinese" eventually. Don't worry, it isn't going to remain me griping about being Chinese.
- sometimes...a lot of the time... I don't know how to be there for people who are hurting. I often pretend that whatever is going on, isn't going on, so that I don't need to deal with the root issue. I don't know how to comfort people.
- I made a really amazing sandwich today. It excited me very much. Homemade guacamole, sundried tomatoes, vegetarian turkey ham and jalapeno havarti cheese on sunflower grain bread.
- Today, we (Sara Whitfield and I) travelled from Scarborough to Union Station, up to the Weston and Jane area, and then I headed downtown to Jarvis and Shuter. All in all, it was about 3 hours of commuting. I was 45 minutes late for an appointment I had downtown. I surfaced from Osgoode station and just as I got up the stairs, I saw the streetcar drive past the bus stop. So, I ran to the next stop like a madwoman, overtook the streetcar and managed to get on. All the while, I prayed to be filled with the Spirit. Commuting and tardiness make me cranky. But who knew I could run that fast?
- I am a huge chicken. And amazingly scared of rejection. This does not bode well for support-raising.Here is my sad face. I can't remember why I was sad. I'm probably sad because I'm the world's biggest chicken.
- saturday meat= morning: breakfast sausage from tim horton's
- lunch: chicken curry
- dinner: all you can eat korean barbecue
- sunday lunch: chicken burger
- after eating all that meat, I seriously felt ill. I have often toyed with the idea of becoming vegetarian. Throughout high school, most of my friends were vegetarian. My current roommate is vegetarian, my best brown girlfriend is vegetarian. Additionally, I have a very good vegan friend, and a vegetarian rock star friend. Even before meeting these people, I thought about becoming vegetarian. However, I have purposely chosen to be a carnivore, for reasons more than just the fact that I enjoy chicken and seafood. (In the interest of saving space, you can ask me about this on your own). Anyways, i digress. After eating so much meat, I felt sick to my stomach. It wasn't a food-poisoning kind of ill. It was a stomach-screaming-bloody-murder for putting it to such abuse. Thus, I have decided to become vegetarian for the month. Just for the month. To rectify the abuse I have put my stomach through.
- here's a question for you....
- what is pride?
Publié par lowonthego à 11:05 p.m.
jeudi, mars 08, 2007
Well, it's been a couple of days since Arcade Fire's new album, Neon Bible, was released. So, I thought I would post about it briefly.
I have been thoroughly enjoying this album. It is no new news that I quite enjoy Arcade Fire. This album leaves me feeling musically satisfied. What a talented group of people!
This album poses a bit of a moral dilemma for me, I won't lie. There are many digs and the whole album holds a pretty cynical and satirical view towards the church. I'm not sure how I feel about this; I dislike the cheap jabs hidden behind the lyrics, but I am thoroughly enjoying the talent.
Publié par lowonthego à 6:16 p.m.
lundi, mars 05, 2007
seriously THE best concert i have EVER EVER been to in my life. He surpassed the greatness of Sarah Slean a thousand times over.
MAGICAL. His voice is SO amazing live! As soon as he started singing the first song, i knew that the concert was worth it!
the best part? (other than hearing his voice)
we started out in assigned seats BEHIND the theatre suites in the ACC.
but..i made friends with the usher..
and THIS is where we ended up. The $290/seat section.
(this picture was taken without zoom)
He had such amazing stage presence. Sure, it was the most expensive concert ticket I have ever paid for ($70), but even if we had stayed up where we were at first, it would STILL have been worth it. I hope he marries me!!!
Publié par lowonthego à 11:57 p.m.
Though secularists would give me multiple reasons for this change, it is evident to me that this change has not derived from anything earthly and perishable. It has only been because of the grace from the Author and Perfecter of our faith. I am hardly a better person; I am still THE most prideful person you will ever meet and I am still THE most insecure and unloving person you will ever meet. I say these things not flippantly, but with a full measure of honesty. What has changed then? This, to me, is a mystery--not in the flaky Brian McLaren-i-have-the-key-that-christians-have-missed-for-two-thousand-years sense, but in the sense that in all my days on earth, I will never fully comprehend God's grace.
As I grow older, I see my sin more acutely. I see the hugeness of my disparity and this magnifies the grandeur and hugeness of the cross.
oh, and speaking of magical...
is going to be a magical night of music....
Josh Groban serenading me (and thousands of other people...)
Publié par lowonthego à 10:18 a.m.
vendredi, mars 02, 2007
jeudi, mars 01, 2007
The last time there was a "snowstorm" in Toronto large enough to cancel classes was when I was in first year. I distinctly remember this day, because I had an Economics exam, which I completely wasn't ready for. Despite having studied for weeks, I couldn't seem to grasp the concepts, which were, according to Professor Wolfson, common sense knowledge. For the honours with distinction, high school perfectionist, it was way too hard to admit that Economics wasn't for me. On the day of the exam, I was SO fearful of writing the exam. In university, there have been times when I have been stressed out over papers and exams, but I have never felt more stressed than I did that day. I prayed fervently for a miracle to deliver me from writing the exam. I prayed that somehow, something would happen, and I would be given another week to struggle through the problem sets.
That day, it snowed more than I had ever seen in my 4 months of living in Toronto. Nevertheless, it was old hat for me, the Edmontonian, who is used to huge dumps of snow. My current roommate, who was just my classmate at the time mentioned that it would probably be a snowday, and I remember laughing at her, telling her that I had never experienced a snowday in my life in Edmonton, and this couldn't possibly be enough snow to warrant a snowday.
As though not understanding Economics was not enough of a hit to my pride, I was proven wrong, because when we got to the examination location, there was a sign posted on the door: "Class has been cancelled. The examination will be deferred to next week." I have never felt SUCH relief in my life (other than the day I came to Christ); truly, I believe a miracle happened that day! God had heard my prayer!!
This past Monday, I had an exam for which I had been studying for for over two weeks, and yet still felt as though concepts were fuzzy in my brain. So, I sent up a little prayer, praying for a snowstorm large enough to cancel classes. I even got other people to pray for a snowstorm! It didn't come. I went in to write the exam, and I have to say, it was one of the worst exams I have ever written in university. Anyways, I'm over it now. It wasn't for the lack of studying that I found it difficult, so I'm not beating myself up over it.
All this to say, sometimes, I find God to have a wonderful and delightful sense of humour. The snowstorm that I prayed for came today. Three days too late. However, I was thoroughly able to enjoy it as I walked home from classes (oh yeah, classes were cancelled AFTER I had already attended my only thursday class, which makes the hilarity of this snowstorm even MORE salient). As people grumbled about the lack of public transportation (streetcars came grinding to a halt), and as drivers became confused at intersections, and as other such chaos ensued around me, I was brought back to what it's like back home in Edmonton on a daily basis during the winter.
Truly, life has come around full circle, like bookends on a shelf. I started off my first university midterms with a snowstorm, and a snowstorm has marked the end of my last university midterms.
As I walked out of class today, I put on Sandra McCracken and walked with a smile on my face, praising God for beautiful snow which now coats the streets and buildings of Toronto like vanilla icing on a chocolate cupcake.
Publié par lowonthego à 5:45 p.m.