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Archive for the ‘parents’ Category

I never realized it until this past week, but it seems that the most common question after announcing my obtainment of a job (besides its particulars) is whether I will be moving out soon from living with my parents.  The questions from last night reminded me of earlier in the day after the movie during lunch, when someone mentioned that she could see how the kid almost seems to have “only-child syndrome” and the parent has “only-parent syndrome.”  In other words, the child was quite spoiled and selfish (a good kid who’s unable at to see that the world has other points of views) and the parent’s authority was becoming close to authoritarian (doesn’t have another adult in the household to exchange different views about how to parent and thus stifling instead of helping the child grow).  Anyway, I know I’ve already written about this earlier (11/18), but since it’s “private” now, I will reiterate:

Usually if I just have a debate in my head, it doesn’t usually pan out unless I really talk about it with someone who can draw my thoughts and questions out or, right here in the blog, I REALLY think about it.  The debate is that I would like to move out since I feel I would be forced to grow up more versus living at home and mooching off the food and chores and all. 

However, financially it seems more reasonable since I would be saving on rent since our house is definitely able to fit the three of us.  And not only that, but it also prevents “duplicates” of internet, utilities, light bulbs, fridge….  I chose the “nursery” for a reason because it’s the smallest bedroom in the house and that would prevent me from wanting to fill up a lot of empty space that I would have and feel compelled to fill if I lived in an apartment (let alone a house).

Also, I get to see my parents, with whom like everyone else I have a love/hate relationship with that I would like to continue to improve.  And for some reason I like the symbolism of marriage where the father gives away the daughter to the husband, and it doesn’t seem as “ideal” if I’m off living on my own (though I’ve got to say living at home when I’m thirty is definitely NOT appealing).  My authority transfers from my father to my husband as my keeper and someone who will keep me accountable.

I think staying at home, at the end, is the best option.  I would like to live by myself; in El Paso I really enjoyed that, especially when my former roommate lived right below me, so we would still hang out a lot without having to share space or deal with her messes.  However, in El Paso, I did live in the dorms where staff would keep safety a priority with RAs and all, versus living in an apartment elsewhere is not as safe.  I would definitely not have my parents watching my every move, which so many times I’d like to hide from, but I have to admit that my parents bring up good points about coming home in a timely manner, among other things.  It’s such a pride fight, because I think if I were living on my own I would eventually learn to go home early anyway since I would be so tired, but because I’m frustrated with my parents (especially with my mom), I want to DIShonor them.  I know, it’s terrible.  But learning to return home early can be learned at home, if not better, just as well as if I were living on my own.  And this includes house chores such as cooking, vacuuming, laundry – things I can start taking over at home to lessen my parents loads, to serve them, and to have my heart change in the process. 

I also would like to move out because that way I can have people over (at the present moment they’d rather not have people over; they don’t even have their own adult friends over), such as cooking for them.  But I don’t even cook for them! let alone others!  If I can’t submit and serve my parents, how can I saw that I will do that for my husband?  And again, in learning how to communicate with my parents and having patience in having their minds and hearts change, it is a learning process that really carries into the future.  For example, I don’t think my parents would take it well that they gave their lives for me, to have security and not have any want and to take me away from danger, and then I would want to go into another country that literally persecutes believers (which I’m sure I’ve idealized in my head).  Yet, if they can let go about having people over, then I know that God will eventually change their hearts about letting me go as well.  Also, anyway, my heart needs to learn a lot more here at home (i.e. grow up) before I’m ever ready to go anywhere.

Living at home also forces me to let them in on my life.  I have to let them know when I’m leaving, whether I was lost, if I got to my destination safely, did I do anything suspicious, did I spend my money wisely.  I have to learn reconcilation, and I have to not make so many assumptions (“oh, they won’t let me go”).  Also, I struggle with reading the Bible and praying at home because I was never raised that way though they are devoted to God.  With the process of following God and breaking the habits I’ve formed in this environment, and learning to daily bow my heart and bend my knees under the watchful eyes of my BELIEVING parents, then God will continue to raise a courageous and uncompromising disciple in the face of real danger.  Also, when romance starts coming into my life, it would be a lot harder to compromise in intimacy, or at least at my parents’ house LOL.

The only thing I didn’t like when living by myself for a semester in El Paso was that meals would be by myself.  I would watch a lot of TV then, and I not only wasted time but consumed large amounts of nonbeneficial media.  Contrast that with eating at home with my mom and dad, in maintaining our relationship and keeping up with each other’s lives.

If I can parent half as well as my parents did for my brother and me….  I am so thankful that my parents brought me up, and within a Christian community.  I still get amazed at times at how my dad and my mom came from nonbelieving backgrounds, and God drew them to Him and together.  No one else in their families see the light yet (well, my dad’s sisters yes!).  So it’s even more amazing that God really transformed their lives to give my brother and me the blessing of growing up under His authority and in His Word.  May the spiritual legacy that He has brought into this family line continue.

So in summary:

  • Saves money
  • Limits the space I take up and thus the urge for consumerism
  • Symbolism of transferring from the authority of the father to the husband
  • Accountability
  • Safety
  • Larger learning curve for chores, financials, and other growing-up responsibilities
  • Honoring, serving, communicating, and reconciling with parents
  • Quality time with parents
  • Seeing my parents let me go on their own accord through God’s power
  • Spiritual disciplines

May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice!  [Proverbs 23:25]

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Shirley Pope Waite
[Ezekiel 22:30; Psalm 69:4]

I’ll stand in the gap for my son.
I’ll stand ’til the victory’s won.
This one thing I know:
That you love Him so,
And your work with my child is not done.

I’ll stand in the gap every day,
And there I will fervently pray.
And Lord just one favor:
Don’t let me waver
If things get quite rough, which they may.

I’ll never give up on that boy.
Nor will You, for You promised him joy.
For I know it was true
When he said “Yes” to You,
Though the enemy seeks to destroy.

I’ll not quit as I intercede,
For You are His Savior, indeed!
Though it may take years,
I give You my fears,
As I trust every moment I plead.

And so in the gap I will stand,
Heeding Your every command,
With help from above,
I’ll unconditionally love,
And soon he will reach for Your hand.

We are not here to prove that God answers prayer, but to be living trophies of God’s grace.  –Oswald Chambers [My Utmost For His Highest August 6]

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They will be going to Vancouver tomorrow (Saturday) to train for five months before heading off to slums and shantytowns.  They will spend a year learning the language and forming relationships with their neighbors before asking where they can help with medical needs, what has been done before that has and hasn’t worked, etc.  Laura was born in Mexico to missionaries to Mexico and lived in Latin America until the age of thirteen.  Jesslyn met Laura when they were both at Baylor (Laura met Jason at Baylor, too).  The married couple shared with HCC’s BASIC their individual journeys and then how they came together in “Following Jesus in a World of Poverty.”

They began having this longing to live with the poor, to join them. “We wanted to be more than believers, more than admirers.  We wanted to be followers.”  Jason mentioned the phrase “all for love’s sake became poor” from the song (see below) we sang, a different translation of 2 Corinthians 8:9: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (NIV).  He referenced Matthew 10:28, saying that he feared the suburbs more than the slums because he knows that his soul would find it hard to truly live in the suburbs.

Laura said a sixth of the world’s population lives in shantytowns.  She shared how, during a mission trip she went on, she came out of a church service.  The church building was located atop a pile of garbage, or right next to a hole where trash was disposed of.  The people who lived there would scour through to find food and objects to sell. Her eyes landed on a small toddler, barely able to walk.  He came across an ear of corn next to a diaper and surrounded by flies.  There were a few kernals left on it, and his eyes lit up and began chewing on it.  She found herself disgusted by the whole scene.  Then I John 3:17 hit her (“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”).  She know there were so many times when she was confronted with a need, and she did nothing. 

She referenced Isaiah 48:6-11.  I went to the restroom, so I’m not quite sure where she went from there.  When I came back, Jason was elaborating.  He highlighted verse 10: “if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”  He says this is the only verse in the Bible he knows where it says a light shining in the darkness is so bright that it becomes like the noonday.  He went on to mention Jeremiah 22:15-16, where he began seeing God telling him to know Him through the needy: “‘He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?’ declares the LORD.”  Jason says true love beckons towards need; it does not flee toward comfort.

He told us that he attended a university in Pennsylvania where they had to go to the cathedral on a regular basis.  One time they had a speaker who testified that he was called from his Amish community to serve the students at this university.  He challenged the students.  He prayed a prayer, “and that was the fastest God has answered one of my prayers.”  He says as he was pushing through the crowd with the rest of them to leave for class, his friend Stephanie came up beside him and told him that she had signed him up to lead a mission trip to Camden, NJ, the “worst city in the States” in three weeks.  “See you in math class,” she said before leaving.  Jason exclaimed to God, “I didn’t mean it!”  He thought, at least send him to somewhere a little easier, to transition, why straight into the worst city, and in three weeks!  But he said that indeed, at the place known as the “worst intersection in the worst city,” there were those who stepped up and proclaimed the gospel, and it did seem like noonday.

They both shared with us what they titled as the “Passage of Great Compassion”: Matthew 25:34-40.  Jason said that anyone could understand this excerpt.  The easiest to understand is often the hardest ones to live out and obey.  He pointed out that there were no “miracles” mentioned.  Instead, he quoted Mother Teresa: “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”  For example, we were not called to heal the sick but to look after them and to visit them.  The word “compassion” derives from the Latin roots pati (to suffer) and com (with), thus together compassion means “to suffer with.”  In the book CompassionHenri Nouwen says: 

Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human. …But it is not said of Jesus that he reached down from on high to pull us up from slavery, but that he became a slave with us….  It is not a bending toward the underprivileged from a privileged position; it is not a reaching out from on high to those who are less fortunate below; it is not a gesture of sympathy or pity for those who fail to make it in the upward pull. On the contrary, compassion means going directly to those people and places where suffering is most acute and building a home there.

They recounted past tsunamis that killed millions in the country they are entering, but that daily there are spiritual tsunamis that are killing souls.  Jason informed us of some past Christians, such as Tobias Leupold, Leonhard Dober, and David Nitschmann, who wanted to bring Christ to the slaves.  They were blocked by the slaves’ owners, so these two close friends thought surely God would want them to go, “even if they had to become slaves themselves in order to witness to the Negroes.” Dober and Nitschmann became the first two Moravian missionaries sent to St. Thomas in the West Indies in 1732 to preach to the slaves.

So Laura brought up The Message‘s translation of John 1:14:  “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”  She says that 2 Corinthians 8:9 doesn’t say that God reached down and did His thing from up above.  He actually came down from His exclusive bungalow and moved into our neighborhood; He came and lived in a our same limited physical body among a poor family in a poor city.  Laura said she felt so alone, however, in her convictions to actually become poor beyond serving the poor.  People would tell her that she was being too idealistic, too naive.  But then one day instead of being met with “Well….” she was met with enthusiasm.  Apparently there was a speaker at Urbana who actually did this, who actually went to Cambodia and lived alongside the poor:  Janet Cornwell.  And that was how Laura got connected to Servants to Asia’s Urban Poor.

Jason said he felt moved to experience homelessness himself with his director in Vancouver with only some thin blankets to keep out the cold.  For one week he lived on the streets.  Soup was their manna.  “Soup again?”  Every time they’d try to hunker down for the night, they would be kicked off by the police.  They thought, finally, that surely sleeping on some church steps would work.  Yet they were told to leave.  “You don’t understand, the people here are Jesus followers.  Jesus was homeless.  Where could we go? (Matthew 8:20; Luke 9:18)”  “A house, duh.”  “….”  He came out with a better understanding of the plight of those living on the streets.  Homelessness is actually illegal in Vancouver, especially with the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics coming up.  He found out that in reality, the people can get food (though it might not be very good or have much variety) thirteen times a day.  The people really were starving for a connection, companionship, intimacy, someone to be there with us, relationships, friendships–fellowship.  He started having people over for meals, and it would be so transformative to a man who has been on the streets for such a long time, to have a child jump into his lap and read a book.

As someone described Servants to Asia’s Urban Poor, “Their unique thumbprint is that all of those who are called to serve in this group actually live in the same slums and conditions as those that they are serving.”  Thus he challenged us:  “Mother Theresa often received letters asking, ‘Can I come out to Calcutta?’  Sometimes she would say, ‘Yes.’ But most of the time she would respond with these two simple sentences: ‘Calcuttas are everywhere, if you only have eyes to see. Find your own Calcutta.’  Find your own Calcutta.”

Questions and Responses

  1. Jesslyn: It’s overwhelming.  Where do you start?  During her early missionary days in the south of India, Amy Carmichael first met Thomas Walker of Tinnevelly, the man who was to be her mentor. Miss Carmichael tried to explain to him her desire to live in a mud hut among the people rather than in the more comfortable bungalow. His answer was: “You could not stand it for long.”  “I would rather burn out than rust out,” replied Miss Carmichael.  “That should be as God wills,” Walker retorted.   Jason said that, still, that we probably don’t want to burn out, either.  God doesn’t will us to be burnt out.  He mentioned five things: beauty, rest, celebration, [I forgot], and [I forgot].  He says that when he is on the mission field, there are places at the site to go to rejuvenate, to have a Sabbath.  Laura also shared that she realized she couldn’t reach all the poor around her, and that we need to simply truly encounter each person who comes across our path.  Indeed, Jason said that there was one time where he joined a group to not only hand out physical necessities but actually listen to the life stories of those living on the streets.  One time he was met with, “Excuse me, excuse me, are you the ones who come and listen to us?”
  2. Jireh: How did your parents take this?  Jason says that it is every parent’s desire to protect their child, and rightly so.  It was definitely quite a journey to see his parents come to grips with what he was doing.  It was definitely hard to admit that he had lived on the streets for one week, for example.  However, he says that it was such a joy to see his parents grow in patience, graciousness, and trust in God.  Laura admits that it was probably harder for her parents to allow her to go than for her to come to terms to go.  But in the end, he quoted Matthew 10:34-39: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’  Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
  3. James: What would it look like if Christians around the world interpreted and obeyed the Word like you?  Laura responded, “The kingdom of God?”  Jason said that the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-20 is a great text.  However, it has gained prominence only in the recent [was it 60 or 600] years. Previously, the verse used for evangelism was Matthew 5:13-16.  As John Stott says in his book The Message of the Sermon On The Mount (p. 65), “The Christian must not become assimilated to non-Christians and contaminated by the impurities of the world, for the influence of Christians in and on society depends on their being distinct, not identical.  God intends us to penetrate the world. Christian salt has no business to remain snugly in elegant little ecclesiastical salt cellars; our place is to be rubbed into the secular community, as salt is rubbed into meat, to stop it going bad. And when society does go bad, we Christian tend to throw up our hands in pious horror and reproach the non-Christian world; but should we not reproach ourselves? One can hardly blame unsalted meat from going bad. It cannot do anything else. The real question to ask is: where is the salt?”
  4. Robert: Is everyone called to live with the poor?  In other words, are ALL Christians called or is this some people’s particular “body part” (1 Corinthains 12)?  Not only did Jason quote Matthew 25 again, but he also quoted Galatians 2:10.  Though Peter was called to take the good news to the Jews, and Paul to the Gentiles, as were their respective”body parts”, they were both called to go to the poor.  Laura elabored on Matthew 25 saying that the criteria that God judged the “sheep from the goats” was whether “the least of these” were treated well.  She gave the example that if someone insulted Jason, she would hurt more than if she herself was the one insulted.  In the same way, for us to not treat “the least of these” well, it is like an insult to God and His provisions and grace towards us.

“Here I Am To Worship “
Chris Tomlin

Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness
Opened my eyes, let me see
Beauty that made this heart adore You
Hope of my life spent with You

And here I am to worship
Here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that You’re my God
You’re altogether lovely
Altogether worthy
Altogether wonderful to me

King of all days
Oh, so highly exalted
Glorious in heaven above
Humbly You came to the earth You created
All for love’s sake became poor

I’ll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross

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