Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looking Back

As 2014 draws to a close, I have been reflecting on the lessons I have learned this year. This year I began leading a small group, have visited women in situations of exploitation, become more involved in my Sunday fellowship, have been volunteering my time to help refugees living in my area, made new friends, deepened friendships, continued studying Chinese, and traveled to four different countries.  I have learned many lessons (big and small) through each of these experiences.  One overarching principle/lessons has been evident in all of these areas: FAITHFULNESS.

2014 gave me a deeper understanding of His faithfulness.  He is faithful to fulfill everything He promised us in Scripture.  He was faithful to provide financial resources in situations where there seemed like no way out.  I saw Him work on people’s hearts and help them better understand their worth in His eyes.  I can’t even count the number of times He provided me wisdom and guidance as I was facing a challenge.  He faithfully pursued me and showed me the depths of His love.  He faithfully forgave me when I fell short.  He intervened in difficult situations and has helped people reconcile.

He also, lovingly, showed me that I am human and I will make mistakes.  I am not called to be perfect.  I am called to be faithful to do what He has asked me to do.  Success is not defined by the outcomes that I can see.  I need to remember that He is always working behind the scenes.  He is ultimately in control so I do not need to worry about all of the details outside of my control; He will take care of that.  I am responsible for showing up, engaging the situation, asking for His guidance. 

2014 was a great year.  Can’t wait to see what lessons I will learn in 2015 and how next year will teach me more about His character.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Holy Night

I spent last night having a bonfire with a great group of friends.  After finishing our hot coco and roasting marshmallows, we began singing our favorite Christmas carols.  There was something so magical about proclaiming the truth of His birth.  It was such a powerful worship experience of all of us.  We were blessed to sing these powerful songs while seeing the starts bright in the sky (a rarity here).  It was a Christmas Eve miracle. 

This month I have been reflecting on the powerful lyrics of Oh Holy Night, particularly the third verse.

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.

Though injustice is all around us, love and peace are stronger.  Because of His birth love, peace and love will overcome all evil.  He came to overcome sin and its consequences.  His incarnation will break chains and will restore us to correct relationship.  He came to reconcile us to Himself.  He also allows us to be reconciled (restored to correct relationship) with each other. Though there are problems now, they will not exist forever.  He is more powerful than any divisions we can create. So powerful.

When it is easy to become overwhelmed with all the darkness, I can proclaim the truth that in His name all oppression will cease!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Cookies

This week I baked and decorated cookies with my local friends. Angel, this adorable 5 year old, really enjoyed this Christmas tradition. Enjoy some of the highlights from our day.

Friday, December 12, 2014

798 Art District.

I live close to Beijing's famous 798 Art District. Today I meet at friend for coffee in 798 and took a few pictures of the art instillations I passed.  I like the creativity of these local artists.