I’m trying something new this month.
I’ve moved to a new site that will, hopefully, better facilitate my blog/help this poor girl format everything without wanting to throw everything I own outside…and then stomp on it.
I will continue to post my Weekend Updates (I 100% totally came up with this completely original title myself. All rights reserved ©.) about Life in Japan, but I’ll be adding a new element on a (semi-) bi-monthly basis (I make no promises on the frequency of this because, you know…I just don’t). It will be more along the lines of a personal essay about my life & the work that Jesus is doing & I will post mid-week.
I am by no means, an expert in Jesus. As Paul says, “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus…” in Philippians 3:12. If Paul hadn’t obtained it yet, this chick certainly hasn’t. The writings I will publish have one goal: To encourage you to press on. To obtain it. ‘It’ being our complete rescue by Jesus. The implications of this are infinite. If you have already experienced the initial rescue, the implications will continue to reverberate throughout your life as it becomes more complete. If you haven’t, they haven’t yet begun, but I invite you to “taste & see that the Lord is good.” See it through my writing, my imperfections, my weaknesses, my utter failures. Let them show you, by contrast, the surpassing worth of Him who loves & loves & loves me &, my friend, you too.
*This was originally written in January 2016 so some of the references are long past.
So the preacher says, “And to all you young, single girls plagued by body image issues…to all the business men who hesitate to be bold for the gospel…for the young mom feeling tired and left out…” & then he efficiently, skillfully applies this week’s sermon to their lives. Their real lives.
But he doesn’t say, “To all the young, childless couples living abroad for a short season, travelling most weekends so you can see & experience people & places, customs & traditions, religions & rituals you’ve never seen before…this is how this week’s sermon applies to you.” Because, you see, most people aren’t in that category and for the sake of time the man’s got to speak to the most people. So on this Tuesday, I’m wandering through a season of wondering what faithful living looks like here. Now.
Because, I actually am in that category.
I’m in an in-between.
I’m not a young mother…yet. I’m not a young single 20-something…anymore. I’m an army wife living in Japan for less than two years, yearning desperately to DO something; to live out the gospel.
Now, if I’m completely honest, this is a premature rambling. We’ve been here for 6-ish weeks and are still finding our sea legs (I mean, this IS an island). I’m still gasping every time I get a little too close to the left side of the road BECAUSE DRIVING HERE IS TERRIFYINGLY NEW. I understand it’s all a bit early to be dwelling on…but then I’ve never been good with timing. So instead of subduing this feeling of urgency to GET TO IT ALREADY, I am just acknowledging it.
Our lives are not ordinary. They are not typical. Yet they feel quite mundane some days. We’re settling in & getting to know our neighbors, but we’re also going on wild adventures, to places I’ve never even heard of, almost every weekend. We’re trying to build a church community, but we’re missing most Sundays because we’re “travelling” & “seeing the world.”
Do not misunderstand me. THIS IS THE DREAM. I understand that. But it does pose an odd predicament as I strive to grow in my faith. As I read books like:
Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman
& For The Love by Jen Hatmaker
& Carry On, Warrior by Glennon D. Melton,
I’m struck by how outside I feel to these normal-life-doers encouraging other normal-life-doers to continue in the good & normal work before them. Encouraging them to not miss the little moments & the small beginnings & the brave everyday of kids & school & small-town living…& I think to myself, “That couldn’t possibly be further from my reality.” So how in a world of books on normal life, do I glean wisdom for my not-so-normal life?
& then, I just sit back & allow the Lord to direct my memory.
He will, you know, if you let Him.
It’s, like, His favorite thing to do.
We’re just so darn forgetful. You give us five minutes & we’ll be up in arms about the wait in the Starbucks drive-thru right after we just raised our hand to a praise & worship song that “just really resonates with me.”
We forget the goodness of the Lord.
His promises kept.
His lavish love & abundant provision.
We just forget.
& so, He helps me remember.
It was a Thursday morning. We’d been in Japan for 4 weeks. I was invited to a women’s Bible Study group by my neighbor. Just the day before I’d met a wonderful lady, whose husband was a chaplain & she had a daughter at COVENANT COLLEGE. And she was leading a book study by TIM KELLER. & the more we talked the more her eyes said to mine,
“I recognize you. We belong to each other.”
She knew my people, my places. She spoke my language & I came home & GUSHED to Oakie about the gift God had given me in her.
& on that Thursday morning, I met Chieko-san…well two actually. Chieko-san 1 & Chieko-san 2. This is about Chieko-san 2. She introduced herself & we talked & she continued to be floored that I was kind to her because she was
“so old” & I was
“so young” &
“why would you want to spend so much time talking to me?”
& I just smiled and told her that her age brought her wisdom & I’d be a fool to pass her friendship up. & so now we’re Facebook friends and she’s going to teach me the traditional Japanese tea ceremony AT HER HOUSE. (teaser alert: this weekend on the blog!)
But you haven’t even heard the magic yet. Another young Japanese woman I’d been talking to pulled me aside later to make sure I knew that although Chieko-san had been attending this bible study group for some time now, she had never become a Christian. She encouraged me to pursue this friendship with that in mind.
But I forgot. I pondered life here & finished book after book & wondered what was for me? What’s my faithful living look like, God? Where’s my work for the gospel? I’m not working & I’m not a mom & we keep missing church & my neighbor is ALREADY A CHRISTIAN &…&…&…
Be still & know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
& He reminded me.
Don’t you see, little one? I am God. I know My plans for you.
I have good works already lined up for you to walk in them.
Don’t you think I desire “faithful living” for you as much as you do?
Be still. I am already at work and you don’t even remember.
All things, child, all things are working for your joy & My glory.
So I am resting & resisting the temptation to fret & fear & flounder.
I am embracing the small that comes with not knowing the answers.
I am walking in the small, short, steps He has given me.
It is “daily” bread after all, is it not?
What are you fretting & fearing & floundering about?
Is there a chance it’s because you’ve forgotten?
Have you taken some time to let Jesus help you remember?
Remember His goodness.
Remember His past provision.
Let that dissolve your fear as it’s overtaken by His big, complete faithfulness.
Have you never met Jesus?
Have you never investigated whether or not His claims are true?
Maybe it’s time & reading this was the latest “sign.”
I am, of course, available over the internet to talk about it & if not me, I would encourage you to find someone you know to be a Christian & ask them.
“His arm is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear.” -Isaiah 59:1