July 26, 2010

The Fall

We have all heard the verse:

Pride goes before the fall

We have all seen that kind of fall. It's ugly and usually takes out a lot of people on the way down.

Or so I thought.

I often pray against pride. I'm not talking the kind of pride that makes you work hard, that inspires your integrity so you can be proud of the work you've done. I'm talking the kind of pride that begins a litany of accolades running through your mind. The kind that addicts you to affirmation and praise. The kind that fuels your self-worth. The kind that takes a God given opportunity and slowly replaces God with self.

I have seen the devastation caused by pride on a small scale and on a global scale. I would really like to avoid that kind of devastation so I pray consistently for humility and quick conviction during moments of pridefulness.

In a move of sheer brilliance on behalf of pride itself, I began to think I was pretty darn good at being humble. I would even place humility at the top of the list of my strong points. I would dare go as far as to say I was self-sacrificing.

And then yesterday I fell.

We had returned to the church we've been visiting with an almost certainty that it would become our new church home. I've been very interested to see how their women's ministry worked because that's where my heart is. The honor and privilege I have had to work on a ministry team in Houston can only be defined as an opportunity God gave me that I wisely said yes to. At least, that's the churchy answer. In reality, I took a lot more ownership of the success of that ministry than I should have or would have ever admitted to.

The result is that now I sit in a new church and fight feelings of insecurity because noone knows who I am. I wonder how long it will take until they will just let me be in charge of something to give me a chance to shine. I want to name drop and rattle off my church accomplishments stopping just shy of handing out a resume. I am consumed with all sorts of vain imaginations on how God is going to use me here in Singapore.

I fell off my high horse right smack onto the soil of reality. I won't be in charge of anything unless it is in God's will for me to be. I may not ever know a lot of people at that church. Name dropping is tacky. How much of me is totally committed to God's calling on my life no matter how big or small that may be? If noone knows me or pats me on the back for a job well done, but God is well pleased with my life, will I consider that a success?

The fall from a lofty position of self-worth to the reality that I am only as good as the totality in which I give myself over to God's will, can cause some bumps and bruises on the way down. I have a few bruises right now and will probably have more before I'm done falling. They hurt. They're ugly. They are a reminder that it's impossible to fall when you're already on your knees.

I am just thankful that my Savior provides me a soft spot to land.

July 23, 2010

Where we live

Welcome to The Claymore! We are on the 6th floor........high enough for a great view without making me feel like I'm going to vomit when I walk onto the balcony.



Let me just clarify that this does not clearly represent the entire apartment. As much as I would like to say that everything is in it's perfect spot, that is absolutely not the truth. I can not lie.......I staged this picture. Behind the sofa, on the window ledge, are dozens of picture frames and books that have yet to find a home and behind me is a big pile of stuff I have no idea what to do with. It's the perfect pile for a spare bedroom, garage, attic, or even walk in closet but since we don't have any of those things I will be forced to deal with it.

And yes, those are white floors. And yes, those floors will be the bane of my existence.

Part of my kitchen. Behind me are floor to ceiling cabinets that are bright blue. It helps to distract from all the white on the walls and counter tops. White + 3 boys = an excercise in patience like nothing I've experienced before. Well, except for this:

This would be my "laundry room". It is outside from the main house and completely open with no air conditioning. I can look over that ledge and see the kids playing below.......or find the pair of underwear that flew out during a rainstorm. I lucked out and got an enourmous washer and dryer by Singapore standards since a normal washer and dryer here would hold one pair of pants and a sock.

What I have loved most about the last 4 weeks with no other kids and very little to no TV or XBox or Wii........it has forced the boys to rediscover each other and how much fun some of their toys are. In a lot of ways, I will miss this when life picks up its pace.

July 22, 2010

146 Hours.....but who's counting?

Tomorrow evening marks a week since we landed in Singapore. It honestly feels like a lifetime ago!

Our container arrived on Monday and the next 2 days were filled with the craziness of unpacking our stuff we hadn't seen since the end of May and trying to figure out how to make our house in Texas fit into our apartment in Singapore. The short story? It doesn't. One throwdown later between Scot and I in front of the poor movers and our kids........a bunch of tears, raised voices and some compromises and we were back to being ok. Our children were mildly tramatized and the movers got nowhere near me for a long time after that, but it was an air clearing we desperately needed to have.

A clingy and dependent girl had taken over my body somewhere between Houston and Singapore and it wasn't sitting well with me or my family. This morning I decided that it was time I got on my own. I put on my big girl pants and decided to just go for it. I needed to get out and figure out the bus system and stop apologizing to Wal Mart for all the nasty things I've said about it........I am goint to have to fall in love with the concept of going to 149 places to find what I need.

Today, I decided to venture out with the boys to a grocery store that promised to have cheaper prices than what I'd encountered thus far. Scot told me the bus number and gave me general directions and off we went to Fair Price Foods. I'm assuming by "fair" they meant I wouldn't audibly gasp every time I looked at the prices. We got to the bus stop and I had to chuckle remembering our first bus experience here in Singapore.

This past weekend we were on the hunt for a shower curtain rod, an item that continues to allude us. We had ridden multiple buses in Europe and typically you jump on the bus through whatever door you can when it stops or it will leave without you. This past weekend we carefully mapped out our route, bought our bus passes, and tried to keep the boys from getting run over in their anticipation of riding their first Singapore bus. Our bus finally arrived at the stop and the doors midway down the bus were closest to us. We politely waited for people to get off and then jumped on the bus. Somewhere between me and a kid, the doors started to close and I was frantically yelling at him:


I was forcibly holding the doors open while a frantic child scrambled on. It was at this time that I notice the entire bus is silent except for a few stiffled giggles here and there and we heard the bus driver say:

"You must get on front of bus"

Oh! Ok, right. Guess that would explain why everyone else was lined up there instead of shoving themselves through closing doors........good times.

Needless to say, we followed all the rules today and got on the bus like civilized people who knew what they were doing. We made it to our stop and after walking all over the place looking for Fair Prices, we ended up asking a nice lady to directed us to the right spot. I was nervous walking up to the store remembering the experience I had 2 days ago when trying to shop.

Garrett and I were at the grocery store on the bottom floor of a local mall (that's a popular concept here). We walked up to the line of grocery carts and started pulling on one just to realize that they were all chained together. Ok, no big deal......this must be the line of extra carts. We'll just find the right ones and we'll be on our way. We walked over to the main entrance of the store and saw the carts. I was determined to not let this experience beat me so I triumphantly grabbed a cart and pulled. Nothing. Upon further examination I realized that it too was chained up. It was then that Garrett and I saw that it required a $1 deposit to unlock the cart so it could be used. We weren't going to let that stop us, though, so we just kept tugging for awhile. You know, just in case they were kidding or something.

I was so completely exasperated by the fact that they actually charge you money to use a cart in the store that I told Garrett to grab a hand held basket and follow me. We'd do what we could with that. Spaghetti and taco fixings, 4 apples, laundry detergent, and a sponge for the bargain price of $150 and we were out of there!

I was happy to see that using a cart was free at Fair Prices. Maybe that's what they mean by "fair"? It was a very authentic shopping experience, not a Cheezit or Oreo to be found anywhere. I did manage more than my past shopping experiences and found my way home with both children to I would call it a huge success!

There is no telling what is in store for us. I have to carefully go through my day not thinking too much about what we have left behind knowing it will paralyze me......it's still just too fresh.
I love adventure, I love adventure, I love adventure.

Now, if only I could find a darn curtain rod!

July 16, 2010

The View

The view from where I stood on a ridge above the wilderness was eye opening.

I have always thought of the wilderness as a place to be afraid of. A place that does not support life. A place where all hope is lost.

What I saw was beauty. Incredible and spell binding beauty that dispelled all my previous perceptions. It is the exact place God speaks of in Hosea 2 where He wanted to "entice" the nation of Israel to enter into so they would have to rely on Him for their provision. So they would no longer see Him as a master, but more intimately like a husband. Someone who loves and provides.....protects against that which is meant to harm.

From my view I promised that I would no longer be afraid of the wilderness, that I would enter into it knowing the intimacy I would experience with God. Knowing that when all the convenience and distraction of overabundance is gone, I will notice His provision more clearly.

The view from where I sat on the edge of the Sea of Galilee was pure.

The sun made the water appear to be in a dance with millions of diamonds. It was warm and inviting and I watched as both boys rushed right into the water anxious for relief from incredible heat.

I was drawn back to a time when the water was not so calm and inviting. When on that exact body of water a storm unleashed its fury and in the midst Jesus walked on the water. He invited his disciple to have enough faith, despite the storm, to walk with him too. That disciple climbed out of the boat and took one, two, maybe three steps before becoming distracted by the impossibility of his actions. He fell, only to be rescued once again by the One who invited him out on the water.

From my view, I prayed for those two boys playing in those waters. I prayed that they too would have that kind of faith. The kind that gets you out of the boat. The kind that believes wholeheartedly in their Savior. The kind that gives you the assurance that when your eyes lie to you about the absurdity of your faith and you fall, you know you will be picked up once again.

The view from the rock overlooking the valley where the battle between David and Goliath took place was inspiring.

I listened as the words from a very familiar story were spoken. I looked at the hills and valleys spoken of in the story, that were only figments of my imagination, and could almost see the characters come to life.

From my view, I prayed that no giant ever be too big that I feel I can't be victorious. I prayed that no matter what obstacle or difficulty I might face, I would know my God was bigger. That he could use a simple girl like me to defeat an impossible foe.

The view from the waters of the Dead Sea was confusing.

Its appearance was beautiful. Its appearance looked refreshing. Its reputation promised an experience unlike any other. Its reality was that it was uncomfortable. It was too hot, its rocky shoreline made your footing unsteady, and its water stung.

From my view I prayed that my life would never imitate the Dead Sea. That my life appear refreshing or beautiful only to have someone test the waters and find it to be an illusion. I prayed against the hypocrisy of appearing to be one thing when reality was something different all together.......something that stings.

The view from where I stood at the wailing wall was humbling.

The place where so many stood to be as close to the original temple where the Spirit of God dwelled. A place that held the hopes, dreams, and fears of so many in its crevices. A place that has seen more than its share of tears. A place where a soldier, who is prepared at any moment to fight for what he feels is right, stands just as a man looking for an answered prayer.

I stood at this place and knew I was no closer to God here than I was anywhere else. But it was the symbolism, much like visiting ancient cathedrals, the symbolism of people wanting to know they are heard by someone bigger than they are. The draw of the promise that maybe that wall or that church may be where they can find God.

This place made me wonder if I haven't lost some of my fervency to seek God. To seek a God that requires me to go no further than my knees to find Him.

It's funny, the way we view things. We look and observe and judge based simply on what our eyes can see. We draw conclusions related to past experiences or form opinions around what others tell us.

I'm exceedingly grateful that I know a God whose view isn't finite. That He sees beyond our observations and our judgements to what is true.

The view God has of us is love. The view God has of us is true. The view God has of us is right.


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