January 30, 2011

This is my sister, Olivia. She’s 13 and a half years old. She’s in eighth grade at Explorer Middle School. She plays the cello. She’s an introvert. She likes to have dance parties with me. She works harder than anyone I’ve ever met. She works best in high stress situations. She makes a mean omelet. She has good taste in music. She wants to learn Korean. She doesn’t like red meat or most pork products. Her favorite food is spaghetti. She is amazing at soccer. She has taught me so much in life. I love her. This is pretty face value stuff, though. She hasn’t ever had to tell me any of this specifically. I’ve just kind of seen what she does and what she leans towards. And I’m assuming she loves me back. I don’t tell her that I love her, though. The last time I think I told her I loved her was maybe in June, when I had my surgery. I just always figure she knows that I do. And that’s not necessarily true. Sometimes people need to be reminded of the simplest things, even if they already know it. That’s how I feel about my relationship with God.

I feel like I don’t have to tell Him my fears, dreams, failures, temptations, aspirations, faults, needs or even that I love Him. I feel like it’s not needed because He already knows it all. But I don’t. And the only way I can ever be able to know this plan and God Himself more, is to try to create that relationship, and tell Him all these things. To know God, I have to first know myself and what my dreams, failures, etc are.

I’m not ashamed to tell people that I love my sister. She’s amazing. Why should I be ashamed of someone I love so much and has done so much for me and is just so incredible? I shouldn’t. So why are we –me included– ashamed of letting others know we love God? Not to say my sister isn’t great, but I’m pretty sure God outranks her by a long shot. Shouldn’t we be telling every one of this divine being that knows all of us so intimately and loves us regardless? Our God’s kind of love is agape: unconditional love.

It’s hard for me to know myself and share that with someone who can’t physically share back and make themselves known. I mean, my sister can talk back and share things, but I don’t even know the deeper things below the surface about her. I don’t know most of her feelings because I never thought it was much of my business. I feel like I have to let God do His God thing, and let it just affect me in which ever way He so chooses. Knowing someone as powerful as our God is unfathomable and honestly, a little scary. I feel like knowing Him, I will be knowing something I shouldn’t, or more than I should.

It’s strange to me, because in most relationships, both parties have to make themselves known to the other; without reciprocation, one cannot know the other. But with God, you don’t have to know Him for Him to know each and every individual detail about you. He knows the exact number of hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30). That’s kind of intense knowledge for someone to have when you’ve never met face to face.

I know my sister loves me. She doesn’t tell me often, but I know she does. And I’m pretty sure she knows I love her. We fight, we have arguments, we get mad at each other. But we fix it. And we know we love one another. There are many times I find myself getting mad at God. But I know He still loves me.

So why are we afraid? He already knows the dark roads we’ve walked, the wrong turns we’ve made, the delusional adventures we’ve taken. We just have to seize the opportunity to let it out to Him and absorb the knowledge of Him; to love Him.



September 3, 2010

I’ve said a lot of bad things in the short time I’ve been alive. I’ve said a lot of things I wish I hadn’t and would do anything to take them back. Yesterday, I said one of those things. My mom had asked me if I brought my jacket home and I responded, sarcastically “no, mom, I gave it to a homeless person.” As soon as those words left my mouth, I wished I could’ve taken them back. I thought about that statement long after my mom had forgotten.

It might look like a wonderful city, and it is, but there are around 7,000 homeless people in Seattle, 1,000 of which are kids and teens. Does that make anyone else sad? According to Wikipedia, in March 2004, Seattle was named one of seven cities leading the way to chronic homelessness by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

That’s crazy. And we look down on these people. We think they’re below us because they don’t have a roof over them.

Honestly, looking back now, I wish I had given my jacket to a homeless man. I take so many things like that very much for granted. And I judged them. The whole homeless community. I thought my things were too good for them; for “people like that.” Now I realize there’s no one who deserves it more.

I try to live my life as Jesus would want me to. I’m not too good at it… My favorite verse is Mark 2:17- “… Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick…’”

In a weird kind of way, I think this verse fits this situation well. It’s not the warm who need a jacket, but the cold. Laugh, but it makes sense. We would much rather wash the feet of those who are already clean. But Jesus calls us to do the “dirty work.” Not His dirty work, but to get dirty, to go places and see people others would much rather look past. It would be easy for me to give my coat to my friend, but I would find difficulty in giving it to someone who truly needed it.

Why is this? Why do we find it hard to help those who need it when it calls for us to part with something; be it possessions or our reputation? Is it because we find them lowly or unworthy? I hate to admit it, but that’s usually the reason that I tell myself.

But what if Jesus was in a similar position? You know what He would do. Don’t throw the “we’re not Jesus” card at me quite yet. We might not be Jesus- we’re not, but we can still try to model our lives after His. That means visiting the homes of the sick, loving our neighbors, even if the sick and the neighbors are homeless.

I’m not saying to donate every stitch of clothing you own to the homeless, but do little things for the people who deserve it most. Show them compassion. “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” (1 Peter 3:8)

Everyone is human. Someday, you might be in a position similar to these and you’ll need somebody to love you. Show them love now, and the compassion will be returned.


July 16, 2010

Do you remember when you were a kid and your parents or teacher would ask what you wanted to be when you grew up? It’s kind of funny because if you said something like “waitress” or “plumber” you’d get some pretty strange looks. They’d suggest something more suiting like a doctor.

They want you to have purpose. They want to think that they brought you into this world to do wonderful things and be successful. They want to be able to sit around the nursing home and brag about their kids.

Think back to what you wanted to be way back when. Did you change your mind a thousand times? Are you doing that now? Or have you just fallen into that “normal” job, so to say?

Now don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad thing. At least you have a job, which is more than a lot of people can say.

But do you ever think back on those fantasy jobs? Your dream of being an astronaut or a princess? Or about the way you thought everything in your life would happen and just fall into place?

Do you feel like you have purpose? Do you feel like you were born with a reason? A set-in-stone reason for you being here?

Yeah, me neither.

Only one person that I know of has had his purpose known from the start. Jesus.

And it’s kind of an oxymoron, isn’t it? Creating life for the sole purpose of having it stuffed out to give others life. Creating life for death.

I read a book a while back called My Sister’s Keeper. In the book, a girl is born with a terminal illness and is going to die soon if not given the proper transplants. The parents decide that rather than waiting or risking transplants from other people, that they would have a designer baby with its only purpose to be saving her sister.

And in a crazy kind of way, that’s what God did for us. We are the terminally ill child, bound for death and hardship, but He gave us a “designer baby” with the power to save us all through one thing- his death.

No pressure or anything. I mean, how would you feel as Jesus, knowing that the main purpose of your existence was to die? What if Jesus wanted to be a dentist or a baker? Nope. He was here to save us all.

We all know ow the story ends. He doesn’t live a long life and peacefully die in his sleep. He’s flogged to within an inch of his life and crucified. That was his purpose. This was what his life was leading up to.

Or was it?

Because three days later, he rose from the dead. I don’t know about you, but if I was able to do that, I’d think my life was pretty meaningful! So maybe that’s the purpose of Christ’s life, to not only die for our sins, but to also show that he is stronger than it, that he can concur it and set us free from it by rising three days later.

But in the midst of all this, my thoughts go back to Mary and Joseph. What was going through their minds? This was the baby they’d had raised and loved. They had big dreams and high hopes for him. Were they thinking negatively of God? Or were they praising Him and thanking Him for the miracle that is Jesus? I honestly can’t say, but I’m sure they were scared.

But I bet they found relief. Relief in the fact that their son is the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6)

And maybe you can find that relief to. And in that relief, may you find your purpose.