Bearing my Cross · Life Written. · Love Languages · Sojourn. · The Word

Mercies in the Morning

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I woke up at 4:30 a.m. today.

My friends and I decided to trek up to Piazzale Michelangelo, a 25-minute, uphill battle, to watch the sun rise over Florence on our last day here.

The early morning wakeup was well worth it.

The sky gradually transformed before our eyes from a dark blue to a mellow orange, and finally a pale yellow. The sun peeked up over the rolling hills of Tuscany as a morning breeze cooled us off.

It was a breathtaking start to a beautiful, new morning.

Florence’s sunrise reminded me of The Lord’s amazing promise to send His mercies anew every morning.

I’m undeserving of that kind of mercy.

I’ve been distant and complacent and uninvested.

I’ve wandered long and far, only to come back home after realizing how utterly useless I am without Him.

Though I’ve walked away, lied and cheated, though I’ve proven to be dishonest and unloyal, His compassion for me never fails.

His mercy is seen in the rising sun, found in every new day.

The Lord says,

Dear daughter, my love for you is unconditional. You cannot fight it. You cannot find a place on this earth where my love does not reach.

The sins and wrongs of yesterday were buried in the night.

This morning light is for you, let the rays greet you as my mercy washes over you completely.

I release you from the burdens and pains of wandering, brokenness and bitterness. I give you freedom from anxiety and fears and doubts.

I welcome you this morning. You are my daughter, you are my beloved. You are forgiven. You are made new.

Now bask in the sunrise, walk in the light and embrace the newness of today.”

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;  his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24

Bearing my Cross · Life Written. · Sic'Em Forever. · Sojourn.

Mi Manchi: On Missing Home and Heaven

IMG_1608There isn’t a phrase for “I miss you” in Italian.

“Mi manchi” translates to “you are missing from me.”

The speaker is lacking the other person. The other person completes the speaker; without him, the speaker is not whole.

I love Italy.

I’ve lived here for a couple weeks and adjusted to the Italian culture.

I know better than to order a cappuccino after noon or to blare music in my apartment during siesta. I can wander around Florence without getting {too} lost and I’ve discovered my favorite local gelateria.

But I’m still an outsider.

I don’t understand why public bathrooms are few and far between.

I receive strange glances when I stroll around in running shorts and a t-shirt.

I love it here, but something is missing from me.

Florence is just my temporary home.

In two weeks, I will return to the land of sweet tea and familiar, English speaking faces.

I’ll embrace my family, feast on Tex-Mex and bask in air conditioning.

I will be home.

I will be home on earth.

But the earth is not my home.

Philippians 3:20 says that Believers’ citizenship is in Heaven.

1 Peter 2:11 refers to us as “foreigners” and “exiles.”

This longing I have for familiarity and reunion pales in comparison to the purest form of joy I will experience when I reach Heaven.

The earth’s beauty found in the mountains, stars and oceans leave me speechless. I’m wonderfully and inexplicably loved by friends and family.

But I see and experience things on earth that I don’t understand like deception, betrayal, murder, natural disasters and terrorism.

And I am reminded that I don’t belong here.

I remember that something is missing from me.

Home.

My true, eternal and perfect home.

Praise God for a temporary home where we can see glimpses of His beauty.

Praise God for an Eternal Home. We will embrace Him face-to-face, celebrate at the feasts He’s prepared for us and bask in His deserving glory.

College Life · Life Written. · Sic'Em Forever. · Sojourn.

On Trusting God and Tiny Buses

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I’m on a tiny, burnt orange bus.

It’s jam packed and there’s no air conditioning.

I keep bouncing up and down because the uphill road we’re on is rather bumpy and our driver is rather daring.

We pass other vehicles too close for comfort, just shy of sideswiping them.

I should be in a convertible taxi with plush seats and a nifty little canopy, not squished like a sardine fearing for my life.

Just before this, I was swimming at Marina Piccola {aka “Little Beach} off the coast of Capri.

My friends and I walked a long journey downhill to our little paradise. Though our server at lunch promised it was a “10-15 minute walk,” it took us 45.

Never fear, a taxi driver said there is “always a taxi available whenever you need it” to take us back uphill to catch our tram.

That was a lie.

There was no taxi.

But there was the tiny, burnt orange bus.

So we hopped on, survived the bumpy ride and made it to the top of the hill.

Sometimes God gives us a bus when we want a taxi.

We expect a comfortable, safe ride uphill.

God throws us a less comfortable, slightly sketchier adventure to our final destination.

I was very much looking forward to our taxi ride: wind blowing through my hair, the beautiful island of Capri unfolding beneath me as we drove higher and higher.

Instead I experienced a bit too much inadvertent physical touch with strangers and unpleasant perspiration. It just wasn’t the same.

But God provided the bus and there was no taxi to be seen.

Thank God for the bus.

The bus got us where we needed to go.

The bus reminded us to be flexible and to work with what we had available.

If God doesn’t give us a taxi, there will be a bus. There will be a way.

He does not leave us emptyhanded, but challenges us to receive whatever He gives with appreciation.

He calls us to creativity. He longs for us to trust in the tiny buses because the tiny buses come from Him.

Thank God for His tiny buses that push us out of our comfort zone, stretch our flexibility and remind us to trust in Him at all times.

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Bearing my Cross · College Life · Life Written. · Sic'Em Forever.

Lost in Italy: On Following in Faith

11009873_10206967802659608_4492799702142410524_nI’m in Italy.

My group arrived in Rome this past Thursday. We were only in Rome for about three days, but we made the most of it.

Veni, vidi, vici. We came, we saw, we conquered.

We also got lost. A lot.

There are tiny alleys and winding, cobblestone roads, squares and traffic circles, busy metro trains and crowded, smelly buses.

And don’t forget, everything is in Italian. “Learning” four semesters of the langauge in Waco did not prepare me for the rapid babbling or confusing signage.

Lately, our group has introduced a new theme:

We’ll figure it out.

It’s the seventh time we’ve past this store? We’ll figure it out.

There are three keys to our apartment? We’ll figure it out.

Our shower has five dials? We’ll figure it out.

Every day presents a plethora of little challenges. Most of the time, it takes trial and error–more than once–to figure it out.

We brace ourselves for a little bit of failure. We’re armed with humility and patience.

In many ways, our approach to conquering Italy is the approach God wants us to tackle life.

We’ll figure it out.

Instead of dissecting every single step from Point A to Point B, we just go and do. We move.

We don’t question and we don’t doubt.

We know we very well may fail.

But we trust and we place one step in front of the other.

Often times, I’m stuck at Point A asking God what’s next, hesitant with fear and uncertainty that I’ll make it to Point B.

However, The Lord just calls me to action.

He desires for me to walk in confidence knowing that one day, I’ll figure it out, and I will arrive at Point B, wherever that is.

Before I arrive at my destination, I may have to turn around at some dead ends or walk in a few circles. I may mumble some unfriendly words and consider giving up a few times.

But a little bit of faith can go a long way, and so can my feet.

We don’t need to know where we are going or how we will get there. Instead, we are called to trust in the Lord and follow in steadfast faith wherever He leads.

Bearing my Cross · Life Written. · Love or Something Like It

490 {On Forgiveness & Affairs}

Run free. You are forgiven.
Run freely in forgiveness.

I had a love affair.

It was bad. For years and years, I cheated on the one I loved. Though he was always faithful, my wandering eyes got the best of me.

I lustfully looked at everything but him. I sought others’ company and affection. I cheated time and time again only to be overcome with guilt and regret.

Then I’d come crawling back to him, begging for mercy, longing for his pure love again.

And he’d forgive me.

And I’d cheat again.

I don’t understand how He does, but The Lord continuously gives me grace when I wander from Him. He forgives my betrayal and offers me complete faithfulness in return.

But I rarely do the same to others.

When others do me wrong, I instinctively want to retaliate.

If she stabs me in the back, I’ll break out my fists. If he lies, I’ll spew poisonous words.

It’s funny how The Lord mercifully pours His grace on me, the girl who lied and ran and cheated and failed him over and over…but I struggle to do the same to others who have smaller offenses against me.

Forgiven people are called to forgive people.

It’s ironically unfortunate that my blessed soul can’t easily bless others.

The Lord calls me to do so.

In Matthew 18, Jesus says that we should forgive not seven times, but seven times seventy times.

490.

To need to forgive someone 490 times baffles me. That person must cause abundant grief and pain for years and years. That relationship requires unfathomable patience and understanding, perseverance and grace.

Yet The Lord has forgiven me countless times. And will likely forgive me countless more.

Forgiveness frees us.

I am forgiven. The weight of my sins on my shoulders has been lifted. I can run freely without pain on my back.

I have forgiven. The weight of dwelling in contempt, bitterness and revenge has been removed.

I can joyfully love and be loved without fear of pain or broken relationships.

When deceit and unfaithfulness emerge, forgiveness, grace and mercy pave ways of of redemption and reconciliation.

Though people fail me and always will, I am called to turn to The One who never fails, but abundantly forgives and beckons me to follow Him and do the same.

Bearing my Cross · College Life · Life Written. · Popular Posts. · Sic'Em Forever. · Sojourn.

God’s a Trailblazer: On Fear & Future

IMG_9838The future freaks me out.

I have no clue where I will be a year from now.

My thoughts pour forth a never-ending list of questions: What will I be doing? Who will be my friends? Will I even have friends? Do I actually need to learn how to cook?

At the rate I’m going, post-grad looks like crashing on friends’ couches and living out of a backpack, refusing to grow up and extending my stay in the glory days for as long as I can.

I am closer to growing up–or something like it–each day. Though the thought makes me queasy, I can find peace in trusting God, the ultimate trailblazer.

There weren’t trails in Escalante.

During my backpacking trip, the seven backpacking newbies greatly relied on the three guides to map out and pave a way for us to walk.

Sometimes our guides would leave us put, telling us to wait for their whistle that promised a reliable route to our next destination.

Sometimes they would be gone for a good while only to return and report that they were still searching for a way out.

But after leaving us behind and trekking ahead, after trudging through muddy sand and winding rivers before us, after trial and error, they’d manage to make a functional path.

Though the trails weren’t always ankle or arm-friendly, with thorny brush and prickly plants, we never failed to make it from Point A to Point B if we followed their trustworthy guidance.

God blazes His paths before us.

When we can’t see a year, six months, or even a week ahead, we can trust that God has gone before us. He has paved a way for us to follow to the next stage in our lives.

He beats down brush and scales large boulders to create the most effective path for His great plan.

When thorns scrape our ankles and plants sting our arms, we forget that He considers all of the alternatives and knows which route is best.

We don’t need to know where we are going.

We don’t need to know when or how we will get there.

We just need to follow.

He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. –Psalm 23:3