Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Decisions, Decisions

I feel my time in Korea is coming to an end.  Unless the Korean Peninsula unites between now and when my contract ends in 5 months I probably won’t be staying in Korea.  There is nothing keeping me here at the moment.  Grant it, things are getting MUCH better at work, but this appealing change isn’t necessarily strong enough to keep me here.

Next week I go on my vision trip to Thailand and I’m not as sure as I once was about that decision either.  Everything is so up in the air at the moment.  Opportunities in other places have been popping up right and left lately and every one of these opportunities is extremely appealing to me.

At the same time, the idea of just going back to the States and finding my place there again is also appealing.  While I love living abroad and don’t want to settle for just moving back to America, living oversees is very stressful at times and I’m tired.  I honestly need a break!  Doing things abroad is so much more complicated than it is in America and that’s not even counting the language barrier.  I wonder if I remember how to survive in America.  Two years is a long time.

This next week I’m in Thailand, I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time meditating in prayer and the Word, figuring out what my next step is.  I’m pretty sure I have narrowed it down to one thing, and that one thing is something that has kept coming back to me every since I finished school in 2010.

            We shall see where I end up.  Who knows?  Things could always change at anytime.  My life is not mine.  What’s meant to be will always be.  Nothing is certain.  For now I ask for your prayers as I get ready to make another big decision.  It will need to be made by the end of October so I got some work to do. 

Thanks to all of you who have followed me on this journey and will continue to do so, praying for and encouraging me along the way.  I’m so blessed!  God is good!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Things I learned from my first "Mid-life Crisis"


     This week has been difficult.  I have really struggled with my singleness, more than I ever have.  On top of this, in 5 1/2 months my contract will be up in Korea and I have no clue what will happen after that.  There are so many possibilities waiting for me and I have to choose one, and soon.  These un-content feelings have stirred some incredible emotions inside of me that I have no clue how to deal with.  They have literally turned me into an INTROVERT if you can believe it!  All I wanted all week was to disappear.  Like Jenny in Forrest Gump, I just wanted God to turn me into a bird, "so I could fly far, far away from here."  With the exception of work, I have hidden in my apartment all week and shut off all forms of communication for 3 days.  I guess you can say I’m having my first “mid-life crisis.”  I’m not really sure when these “mid-life crisis” are suppose to happen, but I reckon 32 is a good age for them to start. 

      The thing that bothers me most is that I'm allowing these un-content feelings to distract me from fulfilling the purpose I know I have been given, which is to help those less fortunate.  They are a distraction because they are scaring me away from my next step of missions work, with the thought of being single my whole life if I enter the mission field.  Also, I’ve always looked at my singleness as a blessing, a gift from God.  Eventually, one day, I will be married and I won’t have the gift of singleness anymore so I want to make the best of it.  Then after that I’ll have kids and my time will be shot.  But now I’m looking at single life like it’s a curse and that frustrates me. 

     Why am I, along with thousands of other singles across the world, scared of the idea of being single forever?  We could easily blame society for these feelings, but I honestly think there is more to it then that, something I cannot understand.  You see, society tells me “I’m not ready yet.”  They tell me “God is preparing me for my ‘Soul Mate’” (whatever that means).  But I don’t believe these things because there are so many people I see getting married who don’t even have a clue!!!  I wish I knew the answer but after 10+ years of searching I don’t.   Oh well!  Here is one thing I have realized from my prayers, and journaling this week.  Allow me to entertain you for a moment.


     So I went on a walk Tuesday.  On my walk I was complaining about all these things mentioned above.  In the middle of my complaining God stopped me, kindly told me to “shut-up” and showed me some of the most beautiful wild flowers I have ‘never’ seen before.  (See pictures below).  Then he reminded me of the passage in Matthew 6:25-34 about the lilies of the field.  I don’t need to be anxious about my singleness nor my future after Korea.  “OK, that’s nice, and these flowers are gorgeous, but I’m still single and feel lonely.  What does this passage have to do with my singleness?” I thought. 

     So I left that 5 hour walk still with questions, and still wanting to disappear from everyone (and I got a sunburn).  Then I spent the whole week reading the book of Lamentations each day, every day. (It’s OK to laugh at me right now, I am laughing as I write this).

     Saturday, 4 days later, I still didn’t want to do anything, but the extrovert in me gave in and I went to my first Korean wedding (which Korean people know how to eat at weddings, SUSHI BAR……yes please).  After that I went to Long Term Missions Training (which I REALLY didn’t want to go to this because what I was afraid would happen, happened.  P Matt made us share what we did for Chuesok and well…..I complained to God and hid in my apartment….so much fun….yeah, I want to share that!)

     During LTM, P. Matt read from Psalm 51.  Verse 7 kept hanging in my head the whole night, repeating over, and over again. “the sacrifice YOU desire is a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart.”  I kept saying to myself, “What does that mean?  What does that look like? What is a broken spirit?  Lord, I don’t understand this?  Would you reveal to me what this sort of sacrifice looks like? I want to worship you with pure, true devotion.”  I think I’m doing this Christian thing the wrong way because there are times when it doesn’t make any sense to me, especially the legality of Christianity the church presents that has been ingrained in my mind from before I could speak my first word.


     Sunday, the next day, I went to church, which I REALLY, REALLY didn’t want to do because I was so drained from Saturday but I have responsibilities and well, I went.  Boy am I glad I did!!!!  This is where the Spirit revealed to me the answer to every question I have been asking this week and He did it through my favorite chapter in the whole entire bible, Galatians 5.  During his sermon, P. Mike said, “Why are we worried about the future when the life we are living isn’t about us, but about what God wants to do with us.  It’s not about our ability; it’s about allowing God to use us.  It’s about being flexible.  It’s about living out the plans He has for us, totally devoted to the work He has us doing at this exact moment.”

     You see God is preparing me for the future, right where he has me, in this present moment.  I don’t need to worry about the future because He knows what all it involves and He is preparing me for it right this second, minute, and hour.  When I worry about the future, in the present, I may miss out on training I need that will better equip me for the future.  This is why He says in Matthew 6 “do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.”   This is what a broken spirit looks like.  It is a heart that desires to do the work of God, putting His agenda above my own and remembering I'm not here for me.  This is His story and I have a certain role to play.  If I try to do my own thing it will just mess everything up.  

     So what if I don’t know what I’m doing in 5 months.  Korea wasn’t even on my radar 2 years ago and all of a sudden, within 2 ½ months of being introduced to the idea, I was living in Korea, without a clue as to why I was here or how it happened so fast.  But let me tell you, Korea has been AWESOME for me, just like everything else I've ever done on a whim!!!!  When I let go and just let God lead me, He will take me on the most extravagant, wild adventures that my spirit delights in profusely.  He knows what makes me happy better than I know myself so I’m better off trusting Him and enjoying the things He has given me to enjoy today.  When I worry about the future, I miss out on the blessings of today and am less prepared for my future, potentially even delaying it.  I don't need to worry about the future, it will happen the way it's suppose to. 


     Really ask yourself, is it absolutely, honestly going to be the most terrible thing if we are single forever?  So what if we are single forever?  God is still sovereign whether we are single or married.  He can fulfill everything He wants through us regardless of our relationship status (sometimes even more as a single) if we would just let Him and stop devoting our thoughts to our “woe is me, single-life story.”  

      He is God.  He is sovereign.  He is all we need and He will take care of all our needs.  Just let things happen in their perfect timing.  I implore you, accept the things we cannot change, pursue the things we can.  It’s OK to desire marriage but don’t let that desire consume you from the potential of doing great things while you are single. According to my married friends you will regret it later.  Don’t let it distract you from adventures you may be missing out on.  Don’t waste anymore time looking for your “Sole Mate” but instead allow your soul to delight in fulfilling the purpose it was created to fulfill.  You were made for more than just being a spouse.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Devotion of a Wretched Daughter

Dear God,

            So P. Matt asked us to write a letter of commitment/devotion to You for LTM.  Ironically, at the moment, I have this strong urge to rebel.  I’m not really sure how, when, or what I want to do to rebel, but the urge is there.  Sure, I sin everyday but I have the mindset, intention of sinning this time.  I don’t want to deal with the guilt that will await me after the sin though which is currently preventing me from doing so.  Even thinking about it I feel guilty. There is a war raging inside me that I cannot fight.  Paul said it right, “What a wretched man I am.”
            My heart is sick.  I am in anguish because I feel like everything is falling apart.  The dreams that I once dreamed, and even still dream, seem so distant and people are starting to question them.  I’m 32! Why haven’t I met those dreams yet?  Why are there all these barricades and obstacles in my way?  While my peers have fulfilled their dreams, or are currently in the process of doing so, mine are still a long ways off.   On top of this I feel lonely.  Most of my close friends in Korea are preparing to leave or have left, and I still have 6 more months to live here.  Every part of my life feels neglected, and then I look at my relationship with You and WOAH! Talk about neglect.

I’ve been neglecting you God.  I’m so busy trying to juggle and fix everything else that I have neglected my relationship with You.  The way I feel today is the way You feel everyday I neglect to spend time with You.  You are my friend; You are always by my side.  Maybe if I spent more time taking care of my relationship with You, all my other relationships would make more sense and be more healthy?

I just want to disappear.  I just don’t want to be around people right now.  I know that won’t help the loneliness, but perhaps it will save me from the feelings of rejection I cannot bear which spawn my feelings of loneliness.  I wonder how easy it would be to disappear?  If I disappear then that means I would have more time for You.  You won’t let me down, You never do.  You always make time for me, and You are so busy taking care of the world.  A world, which has way more problems than the loneliness I selfishly anguish over often.  

So why don’t I give up?  Why don’t I give in?  This Christian thing seems so difficult.  Wouldn't it just be easier to go after what I want and leave all this behind?  Well, the answer is simple to the one who understands The Truth, I’d rather inherit God’s riches than gain everything the World can offer.  Satan can offer me all the fame and fortune in the world but I know that won’t make me happy.  I see the misery of these famous people across the world that have chosen to hope in what the world can give and not the hope that God’s grace offers.  That's what I would await me by running from you....no thanks.

Life was meant to have meaning and that meaning doesn’t come from meaningless things that won’t go with me when I die.  I remember what Jesus did for me on the “Old Rugged Cross” and I wouldn’t trade that for the world because this is where true joy and happiness abound.  This is what gives my life meaning and drives me to fulfill my purpose.  You never promised this Christian life would be easy. But you did promise abundant blessings at the end, when life on this earth is finished, and my purpose for being here has been accomplished. 

God I commit myself to you.  I commit my ways to you.  Forgive me! I know I'm going to keep messing up, even though I don't want to, but I ask You please, take my anxiety and turn it into hope.  Take my fear and turn it into peace.  Take my loneliness and turn it into contentment.  Take my defeat and turn it into victory!  Take my doubt and turn it into faith.  Take my rebellious heart and make it devoted to You.  I love you Lord.  Thank you for being patient with me and thank you for the cross and the love you show me daily.  I don’t deserve any of this!  You are so good! “Thanks be to God who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25)

~Your beloved daughter, Rachael

Romans 7