Thursday, April 24, 2014

Strengthened

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 
- Ephesians 3:16-19

This morning when my alarm went off, I rolled over and wanted to shut my eyes real tight and go back to sleep. I felt exhausted as soon as I woke up. I just didn't have the strength and energy to start another full day yet. Yesterday was tiring with all its schoolwork and problem-solving. The thought of waking up again from my peaceful sleep was joyless. 

Before I even sat up, I cried out to God in desperation - "Give me strength Lord! I can't go through this day alone." It wasn't even a formulated prayer or a "spiritual" solution to my problem. I just couldn't think of anything else to do in that moment of feeling so sluggish. I'm sure we've all had those mornings (or maybe it's like that every morning for you?). 

I can't explain it, but as soon as I got down off my bed (my bed is lofted), I was completely awake. It didn't cross my mind that this was strange until I met a friend in the kitchen who asked me how my morning was going so far. It dawned on me. 

God heard my weak, small and tired plea.

I talked cheerily with my friend, smiling and enjoying cooking my breakfast, but just 15 minutes earlier I had been moaning and groaning inside about a new day. What changed? Prayer. Dependency on God. His infinite mercy.

It really is true that His mercies are new every single morning. Today I experienced that first-hand. Lamentations 3:22-23. 


Pray for the little things. Pray for the big things. Pray when you're thankful. Pray when you know you can't do things alone. Pray at all times. He hears. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Family in Christ

Spending Easter weekend with Haley's grandparents was a delight. Her uncle and cousin even joined us on Sunday! The table was plentiful and the people genuine in their love and thanks for Jesus and his sacrifice for us. Jesus is risen and Sunday was a day of celebration of that truth. 

Although I am not related to these great people, the Neswolds reminded me many times that we actually are related. We're related in God's family. What a privilege to be children adopted by the Heavenly Father together. 


Thank you for serving us and welcoming us into your home this weekend! I feel ready to go into these last three weeks of school. Eeep. Three weeks and I'll be done with my first year at Moody! Hard to believe. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Farm

There definitely is something special and unique about a farm. Space. Wind in the grass. Birds. Tractors. Pick-ups. Trees. Open fields. Quiet. Freedom.

We were up in Iowa this past weekend with Haley's sweet grandparents. Caleb, Haley, and I drove out for Easter break, and got some much needed rest in Iowa.

On this particular day, Haley and I went for a walk around the farm. It wasn't green, and nothing was growing, but it was refreshing all the same. A warm breeze made the dry grass dance, and we sat in a field and just talked, soaking in the chance to be outside without anything else pressing in on us.


What a blessing to be on the farm. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Longing

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

In other words: I can only conclude that God placed eternity in my heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

I woke up to photos from Mom this morning in my iMessage. Mom and Dad made their way back across the ocean to Czech yesterday. I felt like my heart was pulled out of me for a moment when I saw the pictures, as I felt a deep longing to be where they are right now.

I've never stayed in the States when my parents went to Czech. It's a new reality to not have boarded that plane with them to go home. I'm thankful I'll see them in three weeks back in the U.S., but it's the country itself that tugs on my heart. 


And at the same time, I wouldn't want to be anywhere other than right here where the Lord has me now. After seeing those photos, I got my breakfast and went out to the lounge to meet Michelle for our time of reading our Bibles and praying together. That time is precious to me. I walked over to my New Testament class with a group of girls from my floor. What a privilege to have these sisters in Christ and to be learning about the Bible.

My heart is now equally torn between two places. 

When I'm reminded of something I love about one place, I long to be there. But then I long to be in the other place as well. It's this back and forth motion that I constantly feel. I don't know where I feel loyal to. Sometimes it feels like I have to choose one or the other because being attached to two places is just too hard. These are struggles that every TCK* has to deal with.


In my Research Writing class, we've been reading Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis. The book is based on the myth of Cupid and Psyche and explores human nature and the supernatural versus natural world. I am baffled, confused, inspired and intrigued by this story. Although I still don't understand the complete meaning of the book (its allegories are intricate), there is one thing I do understand:

"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing--to reach the Mountain [where the god lives], to find the place where all the beauty came from...my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home?" - Psyche, from Till We Have Faces


May I also see this longing for one perfect home as a joyous thing (even when it's really hard). To not belong in one place just points me all the more to the truth that God has us here on earth for a time. He has placed eternity in our hearts for a reason. Those who believe that Jesus is Lord, confess that they are broken and unworthy, and accept the free gift of new life from God, will live forever with the Lord (Romans 10:9-10). That's what tomorrow, Good Friday, is all about. It's about Christ dying on the cross for our sins so that our relationship with God could be renewed, through faith.

God does not tell us that our lives on earth will be easy, but He tells us we will receive the best reward of all for being faithful under trials: Life.

"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." - James 1:12

When I long for something that doesn't exist here on earth (like being both in Czech and the U.S.), I will continually remind myself that this is actually the Lord's intent for me! I will choose to fix my eyes on Him and run this race on the path that he leads me until I arrive Home.


*Third Culture Kid

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cookies, Simply

These are cookies that any and every college student can make. In fact, you really only need an oven, a fork, any ol' bowl, a cookie sheet and a couple ingredients, and you're all set to go.

When you need something quick for breakfast or as a pick-me-up during your day, these are perfect. Simple, yet delicious and nutritious.


Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups oats (gluten-free)
2 bananas, mashed
1/3 cup almond butter OR peanut butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2-3 tbsp pure maple syrup OR brown sugar
Handful of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mash banana in a microwave-safe bowl. Warm banana in the microwave for 30-40 seconds - this will really bring out the flavor in the banana and give it that extra sweetness! Thoroughly mix all other ingredients into the banana. Drop cookie dough by tablespoons onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden.


These would be great from the freezer too!