Tag Archives: faithfulness

First Snow and Happy Tears

We’re sitting on the floor, talking, when Kelci bursts through the door screaming about snow. Not three minutes later, we’re in the plaza with what seems like the rest of Moody.

Indeed, white fluffy flakes are twirling gently from the sky, collecting on the ground and plaza ledges, covering my black gloves and jacket in a fine, dusty, blink-and-it’s-melted layer. I’m admiring the shape of each snowflake on my glove when I decide to look up.

My friends are in a huddle, they’re talking and yelling across the plaza at other friends, throwing meager snowballs at each other… but I’m in my own world. I’m looking up, blinking against the onslaught of snowflakes; blinking for another reason too. As I look up at the suddenly-wintry sky, tears prick the back of my eyelids. Happy tears.

Happy tears because I live in Chicago and I go to Moody. Happy tears because we ALL came down to see the snow – all five of us – like it used to be. Happy tears because we’re walking down the road to Sweeting just to see the two light poles wrapped in Christmas lights. Happy tears because Christmas is coming and I’ll be with my family for nearly a month.

Happy tears because even though it hasn’t seemed like it, time has kept moving. Happy tears because life goes on. Happy tears because God is faithful. Happy tears because everything is going to freeze soon, the weeds and the flowers both, but the cold kills the weeds. Happy tears because when it thaws, the weeds will be gone.  Happy tears because if winter is here, spring must be coming soon. Happy tears because that’s obviously a metaphor.

I’m blinking and flicking the back of my hand across my eyes and clearing my throat. Jesse is there and he’s saying, “you look so happy,” and I’m giggling like a giddy schoolgirl because he has no idea. I’m clapping my hands and grabbing Molly’s arm and yelling, “snoowwww,” over and over and over.

I rejoin the huddle of friends, smiling and laughing and reveling in the novelty and purity of what will soon become a nuisance. Everyone is so caught up in the celebrating that they don’t notice I’m still blinking rapidly, but that’s okay. I know, and it’s only the first snow.

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Faithfulness in a Motocar

Today I went downtown with Mami Rosy and Papa Jacinto to go grocery shopping. Now, unlike at home when Mom and I hop in the car, drive to WalMart, throw our stuff in a cart, and drive home… grocery shopping here is a bit of an excursion. We had to hail a motocar, drive 20 minutes to downtown Pucallpa, then go to each store separately – the baking goods store, the meat store, the sugar store (which differs somehow from the baking goods store), etc.

It was on this 20 minute motocar drive that I, sandwiched between Mami and Papa, spent some time talking to Jesus. Those closest to me already know that this first week in Pucallpa has been a difficult one. I’ve been battling fatigue, culture shock, homesickness, and the language barrier – all while sweating profusely. My mind and heart have been in a bizarre battle of nostalgia and sheer happiness, and it has all been very taxing.

As we’re riding, I’m thinking about Hiawatha. Today is the day that the staff heads north to begin training and meetings, and I find myself missing the place where I spent every summer until last year. As my mind drifts, I remember the post I wrote a few weeks ago about Christ being my only constant.

And then He bops me gently upside the head and says, “Helloooo? Has that suddenly changed just because you’re on a different continent? Do you think I don’t see you? Do you think I’m someone different here than in the US?”

As I gaze at the wooden buildings with their hand-painted signs, a peace begins to wash over me. Of course nothing has changed. Of COURSE Christ is still faithful and constant and unchanging and true and all of those things. Of course He knows where I am, what I’m going through, and what I will become. He sees my weaknesses, rejoices with me in my joys, and chuckles when I make humorous grammar mistakes. He is the same God in Pucallpa that He is in Chicago that He is in Millington that He is in Eckerman that He is everywhere.  His promises have not changed just because they’re in Spanish here.

As I mull this over with growing peace in my heart, we pass the sign that says, “Jesucristo is el Senor de Pucallpa” (Jesus Christ is Lord of Pucallpa). In a throwback to my years at Lutheran school, my heart cries out, “This is most certainly true.”

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Faithfulness and Stars

“But when I look at the stars, I feel like myself.” -Switchfoot, Stars

On Monday night, before the craziness of this semester had officially set in (16 credit hours, 18 hours of work, PCM, homework, AND a social life. Yeah.), a few of my friends and I took a walk to the beach.  We hadn’t been off-campus together as a group since returning from Christmas break, so it was a relaxing time to catch up on life.

If you live in the Midwest or pay attention to the news, you’ll know that we’re having a frighteningly warm winter thus far.  It was nearly 50 degrees the night we walked to the beach. Yes, you read that correctly. It was “sweatshirt weather,” in Chicago, in January, after dark.  I don’t know enough about meteorology or astronomy or basic science to know if this had anything to do with the phenomena I am about to explain, but as we stepped on to the beach, I instinctively looked up…

and there were stars.

Not just the one super-bright star that I’m semi-convinced is fake.  Not just some particularly slow-moving airplanes.  No, as I began to count the stars out loud while pointing excitedly and bouncing like I was hyped up on sugar, I realized there were more than I could reasonably count!  I even managed to locate Orion’s belt.

There were stars. In Chicago.  One of the few things I hate about this city is the lack of stars.  I was incredibly excited to return this semester, but was sorely disappointed that I hadn’t seen any stars while I was home for Christmas break.  Since junior high, looking at the stars has always been one of my biggest reminders of God’s enormity and never-ending faithfulness.

No matter where I am, if I can find a familiar constellation or even see the stars spilled across in their varying levels of brightness, I instantly feel comforted.  I love knowing that I see the same stars as my friends across the globe.  The fact that God knows each of those stars by name reminds me of my sheer tininess compared to His grandeur.

Simply put, stars tug on my heartstrings on about 12 different levels.

As I said before, I don’t know anything about science.  Maybe there is a perfectly logical explanation for the sudden display of splendor over downtown Chicago.  However, I prefer my explanation: the night before, I had tossed and turned as I worried (in the way only sinful humans can) about the coming semester.  Finally, I started to pray.  As I sleepily told my Daddy about my worries and concerns, I asked him to remind me of His faithfulness.  I begged Him to allow me to live this season of my life knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that He was holding my hand.  The next night, I went for a walk…

and there were stars.

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