Monday, November 24, 2008

Conversations: Marriage

Living in a different time zone than most of my friends has definitely taken its toll on time for thought provoking conversations with my friends. However, I've had several lately over the phone with some good friends back home and it's been so enjoyable! Thanks guys!

Here's one of them I particularly enjoyed:

There are so many people who get married, and then divorced, even among believers. Even some among those who are really following Jesus. My friend said she'd like to think that she wouldn't get divorced, but she knows she can't say that. She knows she's a sinner and it's possible she, or her man, will mess up.

I totally agreed: we are sinners. Sin affects us all on this side of heaven. Of course it's possible to fall, we all do at some time or another and life's not perfect. I know that in my own sinfulness, I could easily ruin a marriage.

However, I'm not going to go into my marriage expecting failure. In fact, I'm going to do quite the opposite. Yes, I admit that I sin and I will sin. I am FAR from perfect, as I know my husband will be, too. But, there's something else that I know that I feel that most people forget: God is for my marriage. His power is much mightier than the power of my sin. There's a really good reason to have hope for a lasting marriage!

I must be able to admit I can't hold my marriage together. But I also must have the faith to admit that God can. Not only can He, but He WANTS to. God created marriage as a beautiful thing...two people becoming one so we can better understand what being one with God is like.

We know that you can't separate Jesus and the Father, right? I mean, we whole heartedly believe they are both God, right? They are one.

“Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work...John 14:10

If then, the power of the Father is so great in Jesus, and we know that they can't separated, what makes us think that His power in us is any less that that of which was in Christ?

Jesus himself said, “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message [that's us], that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me...John 17:20-21.

So, we are one with God. His power is in us. “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these...” [Jesus] John 14:12. The power of Christ is in us. Who's to say that we don't have the power to keep a marriage together? Sure, on my own I don't. But I'm not on my own! I am walking in faith, living in the power of Christ!

That power is there. I believe it. I know it to be true and have seen it embodied in numerous areas of my life.

So, the power is there. Now then, what does God want? Even if He hadn't given us His power, He would still be able to hold a marriage together! Why would He do that? Because, God is for marriage. He created it. As long as my marriage takes place within the confines that God created it to take place within, I believe He has no reason to let it fall apart [Both believers: 1 Kings 11:2; One man, one woman:Eph. 5:30-32; etc.].

Sure, there are those who have been divorced, but there are also thousands of marriages that have lasted. Not only do we have the examples of righteous men and women throughout the Bible whose marriages were held together by God, but there are many today. Like all the great couples at my church, some being married for 50+ years. And then there's my own parents. I'm so thankful for them. Yeah, sure, marriage has been rough for them in ways, just like it has been for others. But, the Lord has held them together and I'm sure that they would personally vouch for me saying that they love it; they have both grown greatly from those hard times and they are blessed because of it. Not only do they love their marriage, but so do I. It's beautiful, even with its glitches. Because God is in the midst of it all. It's His marriage.

As long as I can admit that my marriage is not held together by my own efforts to do the right thing, I believe it will be held together. I believe that God will keep my marriage together. That He will make it a beautiful picture of His oneness with us and His love for us, that I will be made holy through the experience and that He will be glorified through it. My faith in God and His power and His goodness must prevail over thoughts that I have the power to ruin something myself. Even the power that I have to sin and make mistakes is nothing in comparison with the vast greatness of His power. How dare I even think that I could ruin something of His like that.

I think it's when people forget about that power, when they forget who's really in charge, that their marriages struggle. How sad that they weren't able to rely on that power in faith, on Christ's power, to get them through it. And how sad that I and my brothers and sisters in Christ weren't believing in that power enough ourselves to remind those struggling so that they could depend on it as well.

Here's to believing in the power we have through Jesus over sin. And not just for myself, but reminding others of that power, so they too can believe and rest in it.

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

What God has joined together, let man no separate.” Matthew 19:6

Friday, August 1, 2008


As I was riding the bus through the lush palm trees, rice patties, and forested hillside of my area last week, a funny thought struck me:

Is green my favorite color just because I love trees so much?

Or do I love trees so much just because green is my favorite color?

Or, do I just simply love trees. And green is my favorite color. Non-related (As I had always assumed...)?

I mean, really, think about it...can one love of your life be so deep that it influences all the other loves of your life???

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Handsome Stranger

My transfer from flights on the way home from Thailand wasn't so boring with a good book. My sister brought me a Christian romance novel from home to read on the plane. It's been a long time--since high school--since I'd read one.

Surrounded by dark skinned, dark haired Indians in the Calcutta airport, I stood to get in line to board my plane and out of nowhere appeared this brunette, caucasian guy. I was in line right behind him and was continually astounded by his similarities to me--his western dress, his backpack, his brown hair, how tall he was, even his smell. Crazy the things that catch my interest now days. lol...

We loaded the bus to be chartered to the plane. I purposely faced out the window on the opposite side of the bus so I wouldn't be tempted to stare. Amazing how all these dark skinned folks around me automatically draws me again to stare and be intrigued by a similar person--even after 2 weeks with Americans in Thailand!

Before reaching the plane he began a phone conversation--definitely with someone same-cultured. I even found myself attracted to his voice and his accent. He sounded like he could have grown up right next door to me!

As we boarded the plane and into to the flight, my thoughts were consumed with ponderings of who this fellow could be--was he really going to my city in the middle of nowhere? We don't get foreigners here...Could he be on a "trip" to help people in my city? Does he work there? Is he a believer? Endless conversations with him played in my imagination on into the flight. I began thinking, I should not be reading this romance novel! I couldn't believe how it'd set my mind racing and the different conversations running through my mind--all of them playful and honestly, rather forward. I was shocked at myself!

Here I was just the past 2 months, completely content in my singleness for the first time in my life! Going into our Annual General Meeting with the most confidence ever that I was content in being single and then realizing--I love being single! But, am I really content to be married if that's what God calls me to? I really struggled most of the 10 days of our meetings with "getting married."

I love being single! I love my job! I love spending so much time with women in their homes! Making my own decisions, doing things my way...Did I really want to give all that up to be a full time wife and mother? That scared me--more than I thought it would. I mean, my whole life I couldn't wait to be a wife and mother, and now, upon realizing just how awesome it was being the single that I am right now, did I really want to give this up?

After lots of praying and lots of guidance and outward processing with people I respect, like my accountability partner, supervisors, my mom, and some other older married couples at our meetings, I think the Lord brought me to contentment. Really, only in the past few days have I been able to say--I love being single and am content now, but I will also love being married and will be content in that time and place that the Lord has for me.

Crazy, I've always wanted to be married, but I guess I didn't really know what that entailed till these past 6 months of enjoying singleness. But, when the Lord calls, I'm willing to go contently, knowing life will be different, but still lovely, in a different way.

So, back to this handsome stranger. I finally couldn't take it any more. I said a brief prayer and went to sit across the aisle form him so I could ask where he was from.

CANADA. Ouch. Guess that means I'm a lot more of a Yankee than I ever wanted to admit. (Or he sang in a choir or did drama or something and learned how to correctly pronounce things without an Turns out he works for some oil company and is here on business seeing some clients and not even headed to my city. We made some friendly chat and I politely returned to my seat. He wanted to know what hotel I was staying at and made some reference to drinking...that did it for me. Not my type--maybe handsome on the outside, but he sure didn't make my knees melt or my heart twitter. I returned to my book to let someone else's heart throbbing experience carry me away until I reached home.

Bottom line:
  • I'm content being single
  • I'm content getting married, when the time comes
  • And I should not read Christian romance novels :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Another one bites the dust

I just left another umbrella at a friend's house. That's 3 umbrellas this week I've lost. Crazy. I just can't remember when I leave a wet umbrella outside and it's not raining when I leave! Now I really have to go buy another one. I don't think I'd survive without an umbrella, and after living here, I will definitely never underestimate the usage of this lovely contraption:

  • Staying dry--it rains all so randomly and frequently during monsoon season (now).
  • Shading from the sun--that sun is killer strong! If I don't use an umbrella when it's sunny:
    1. My friends all scold me.
    2. I get worse tan lines.
    3. I'd sweat more than if I had one...however, when walking outside in the heat, I'm usually soaked to the bone with sweat by the time I reach wherever I'm going anyway, so I don't know how it'd make much difference, but I do know I sweat more without the umbrella blocking some sun.
  • When I walk past men in the streets who are inappropriately starring at me, I hold the umbrella just low enough to block their stare from my eyes, so I can't tell they're starring.
What would I do without it? a new one, I guess...

[Woman with her umbrella ready, working in the tea gardens nearby where I live...]

Friday, May 30, 2008

What are we so unhappy about?

Jay Leno wrote this:

As most of you know I am not a President Bush fan, nor have I ever been, butthis is not about Bush, it is about us, as Americans, and it seems to hitthe mark. The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across somePoll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right?

The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with thedirection the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy withthe performance of the President. In essence 2/3 of the citizenry just isn't happy and wants a change. So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, What are we so unhappy about?

A. Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 Days a week?

B. Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?

C. Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?

D.. Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

E. Maybe it is the ability to drive our cars and trucks from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state?

F. Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter?

G. I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough either.

H. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

I. Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home.

J.. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames, thus saving you, your family, and your belongings.

K.. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.

L. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90% of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

M. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the e envy of everyone in the world?

Maybe that is what has 67% of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S., yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has b been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks? The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me?

Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad? Think about it......are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the 'Media' told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day. Make no mistake about it.

The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and en d up with either a 'general' discharge, an 'other than honorable' discharge or, worst case scenario, a 'dishonorable' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans?

Say what you wan t but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells, and when criticized, try to defend their actions by 'justifying' them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way.....Insane!

Turn off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as country. There is exponentially more good than bad. We are among the most blessed people on Earth and should thank God several times a day or at least be thankful and appreciative. With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?

Jay Leno

Monday, April 14, 2008

Night Whisper

Bang...bang...double bang, bang...the door down the hall pierced the night. My eyes slowly opened to pitch dark as the slamming door called me out of my slumber. Pulling open my mosquito net, lightning rolled across the sky, lighting the whole room for several minutes as it constantly flashed. I reluctantly slipped through the mosquito net, out of bed and sauntered down the hall guided by the light from the storm. Rain was gushing around the whole house, sounding as though we were engulfed in a massive waterfall.

A foot away from the door, something suddenly grabbed my hand. Gasp for breath. Two sharp shrills exploded from my upper lungs and my heart skipped a beat.

"It's me! It's me!" Betsy pleaded. Air filled my lungs again as I sighed. Why do I have to be so dog gone jumpy? She was shutting the door and I turned to head back down the hall to my room.

The sound of the rain beckoned me to the open door as I passed by. I stuck my head out into the darkness and stepped halfway onto the veranda.


Moments passed by as I took in the magnificence of the storm--of the rolling thunder, flashed of light constantly filling the sky, and the rain. The beginning of the monsoon. It's hard to just call it rain when it's so massive like that. Ain't nothin' like Missouri rain.

The monsoon had only been coming at night the past several weeks. It'd been many months without any rain before the first down pour, and after about five nights of it, it was another week until this one. The heat and humidity had been close to unbearable--although I know it's going to get worse as summer isn't full blown yet.

We're closest to one of the wettest spots on earth, but the rain only comes all at once. We go for long periods without any at all.

As I watched it pour outside, my thoughts shifted to my neighbors, who live in bamboo walled houses with mud floors in the low areas. Were they asleep? Was water pouring through their roofs? Their floors? I though of the villages that flooded last year, the hundreds of people who drowned as their entire villages were swept away into the mighty Brahmaputra River. Were people dying tonight?

Then the power of it all consumed me and my thoughts drifted on to the Psalms:

My soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary,
and beheld your power and your glory...
Psalm 63

Power. Majesty. Moha मोहा--the word used in our language to describe the greatest power. For the Christians and for the Muslims it's used to describe God's power, for the Hindus it's the greatest power. The word consumed my thoughts.

Wow--He amazes me. His moha, how great! So attractive. How could one not be drawn to this power? I wanted it. I wanted to be a part of it.

Then it hit me: I am. That's my God, my Lord, my life. As Jesus put it, "I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you" John 14:20. He is in me. That power--that moha surrounding me now--the one I'm watching, hearing, seeing--the one taking lives and giving life (through rain in this case)--that power is in me. I am in Him. I am a part of it.

A nice little romantic night whisper. I smiled and crawled back through my mosquito net into bed.

Monday, March 31, 2008

My Experiment

My flight to Egypt last December was occupied by Sudoku, sleeping, and reading everything that was in the magazines on the plane. I actually really like plane magazines; you can learn so many interesting, random things.

I read an article on this flight about eyesight. They said that the body is self-healing and when most things go wrong, they correct themselves: like broken bones. However, they argued that many people get glasses all too soon and don't give their eyes a chance to normalize. If one were to go a certain amount of time without glasses, the eyes would naturally correct themselves.

So, I decided I would conduct an experiment myself to see if these people really knew what they were talking about. Since coming to South Asia, I have not been able to wear my contacts due to the dirt, pollution, and climate difference. Therefore, ditching the contacts was already taken care of . I decided to go one month without wearing my glasses to see if there was any change in my eyes.

The first few weeks were rather hard, cause I wanted to see things, obviously! I'm not blind without my glasses, but things are not clear, such as words from afar and whether people are looking at me or not. But, after a month, I became used to it.

Month 2: I decided to keep it up, since it wasn't bothering me all that much anymore. I wanted to see if there was more change over a longer period of time.

Month 3: I forgot to stop the experiment and just got used to not having glasses.

I am now beginning month 4 and have decided to examine my observations about this experiment and thought I might share.

  1. I am an observant person. I usually notice everything on the streets as I am passing by, things that both of my partners have told me they never noticed or even thought about. However, now without my glasses, I wasn't noticing much around me. I found myself walking down the street, and instead of being consumed by all the sights and details of things, I was consumed by my own thoughts. Odd. I realized that I don't usually walk anywhere in deep thought, I'm too busy noticing and taking in new things to dwell on something that is not currently present. I began to enjoy my own thoughts and found myself doing a lot more praying for the people around me and meditating on the Scriptures I'd read that morning or other places that my mind wandered. I'm not saying my observing mind is bad; definitely not. Only that I never noticed what thoughts consumed my mind until they weren't there anymore and something else occupied them.
  2. Going 3 months without glasses does not improve your eye sight. I would probably have to have an eye exam to really conclude for certain that there was no improvement whatsoever in my eyes, but, as things look now, it seems just as blurry as before.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day वैलेंटाइन'स ड

हैप्पी वैलेंटाइन' डे! Happy Valentine's Day!

The girls and I thought we were going to a piano bar for mocktails for Valentine's Day...we were so excited and I even got spiffied up all nice! Turns out, the piano player was sick, so we went to Baskin Robbins instead and then home to watch a movie. It was a nice night out with the girls.

Even though I am currently without pursuers and in a position which does not encourage it in any way (dating is against company policy and there's no good, single, like-minded fellas in my city), I am still in love. I was reminiscing on old Valentine's Days and just thinking how thankful I am that my Maker is my Husband. He's been so sweet to give me so many good things.

Some of my favorite Valentine's Day memories:

1. My Daddy gave me my first bass guitar for Valentine's Day many years ago. It was from his own band when he was in the 8th favorite Valentine's gift ever.

2. My junior year of high school this awesome boy I met in a band, whom I really liked, gave me a pink rose (my favorite color at the time) and a package of powdered dough nuts--The weekend he met me, this older guy was totally making fun of me for smelling like powdered dough nuts (the scent of my deodorant at the time).

3. I planned a Valentine's Date Extravaganza for the girls in my hall when I was an RA, along with the guys in a hall of our brother dorm. The girls got 7 dates in one night and we all had a great time with driving to Springfield, an art gallery, dinner at Fazoli's, scavenger hunt at Bass Pro Shop, and desert at Steak-n-Shake.

4. The Valentine's Date Extravaganza was actually a few days before the real holiday. On the actual night of, some of my girls and I went out with some of my guy friends. The fellas took us to a cave in the middle of the woods outside of town. It was so fun! We sat on the riverside in the dark and sang worship songs was completely romantic in a higher kind of way. :) Then, after returning home, the girls and I snuck out on campus and started a mud had rained all week long and you only had to push your hand into the wet earth to pull out a big clump of squishy mud. We had so much fun and ended up the night creating our own mud slide, which just kept getting longer and longer. So much fun!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!His faithful love endures forever.
Psalm 107:1