Sunday, May 30, 2010

Looking Back and Forever Changed

So it seems that the season of change is upon us once again and we are moving back to the States for good. I am typing this on the plane as we are flying back to our homeland. Our time in Costa Rica has been amazing and challenging for me all at the same time. I can't believe it's over. At one point, it felt like we would never get back, even though I knew we would.

When we got back to CR after the Holidays, the time we had in CR was immensely fulfilling and I knew my attitude changed and I began to embrace this opportunity that was handed to us. Let me start off from the beginning.

We moved here right around 9 months ago, the end of August of last year. Jonathan and I worked for an International School, so we could have the opportunity to learn Spanish. I worked at the school as a Preschool/Nursery teacher. I loved my class, but the school as I have mentioned in previous blog entries, was difficult to deal with. Plus, I went through a long season of emotional withdraws from leaving my family and my homeland, America. Secondly, I was vastly thrown into culture shock, and from August until we came back to Costa Rica in January, things started to change. My entire perspective changed and how I started to view our life as something different. More opportunities opened for new friendships, and I especially became close to a women who was also a teacher at the school. She and I in these last months, became inseparable. This friendship that developed has changed my life, and if the soul purpose of this trip was to meet this person, it would have been all worth it. Father was also doing other things in my soul by giving me a profound understanding of learning to live with much less and to rely on very little, which took a whole lot of trusting Him. I learned so much through this season of my life it has been incredible. Many things we lived without were a means of personal transportation. We relied on local transportation, cabs, and our feet to take up places. It was a cool experience learning how to ride like the Tico's did. After we got back to CR after the Holidays, this seemed to become second nature to us, but at times it was annoying and took extra planning whenever we went places. Being around the locals was awesome. The language barrier was hard at first and took time to adjust to it. Though as time went by, that also became somewhat normal. I am now to a point where I can follow a conversation in Spanish, (mostly) but yet I still have difficulty joining into conversations. I only can speak small and more than likely choppy sentences at a time. I've really been trying to speak more, as of late whenever we would go out to dinner or take a cab or whatever the opportunity I found, I would try to speak at least a couple of sentences. It's been somewhat of a goal of mine to at least try to speak, even if its without those conjugated verbs. I'll miss speaking, or should I say, given the opportunity to try and speak Spanish on a regular basis.

There were a few shaky times during the duration of our time there... We went through 2 earthquakes. One in January during a school day. I had the kid's inside the classroom and immediately felt the and saw the entire room move and I knew it was an earthquake, and rushed the kid's outside to the middle of the playground where there was open space. It not only freaked the kiddo's out, but I was somewhat in a daze and was very freaked out, that being my very first earthquake. The second one was just about two weeks ago. I was in my apartment, and was alone and a rush of movement happened and I ran outside as fast as I could. It was scary because I was by myself and Jonathan wasn't home. That one was a 6.2 magnitude. It was strange. That day, we also found out that we were going to come back early to the States due to Jonathan getting a job. It was crazy how everything happened all at once. I remember saying once the earthquake hit, 'get me the hell out of here'... Sure enough, I got outta there! :)

We have also gotten the chance to visit other countries in Central America. In November of last year, we visited Panama and stayed there about a week. It was a great trip, and that was the week I first met my good friend, Monica. In March, we went to Nicaragua for Spring Break with our friend Aaron who joined us. Those two experiences were invigorating and inspiring, and created this desire inside of me to want to go explore other countries and expand my mind even more and learn about different cultures.

Over all, this trip and time in Central America has been moving. Moving in the sense of how I think about the world, and visualize a different way of life. It moved me from the only way of thinking I knew in America, to outside the confines of the status quo and normalcy of what I have always known. I am honored and blessed to be married to a man who wants to discover the world around him and I am super privileged to be by his side during this great adventure that will live on for the rest of our lives. (Thank you babe, I am truly blessed) I never thought I would be the one to venture outside of what was always expected of me; Getting married and settling down right away. This trip has awakened a desire in me to live a life I never dreamed of, and to find that I am only capable of limiting how far I go. My ability and trust to see God and His lead beyond what I have always known has changed my life forever. And that I am forever grateful for.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Repost: Uncertainty Of The Imagined - Where Love Displaces Fear

I'm re-posting this blog because just today I was getting back into getting freaked out about the future and stuff and Jonathan used my blog to tell me to chill. That says something to me. Haha, so I am reposting what I wrote back in January 2009. Seems like God is telling me something...

I have this beautiful picture displayed on my desktop up on my laptop. It is so gorgeous and even breath taking with all the elaborate colors in the sky that are also reflecting off of the amazing pond, surrounded with wild flowers. Although, I tried to picture myself there within the fabrics of that reality and to imagine what it would really be like capturing that in real life. Then, it occurred to me that although this picture displays incredible beauty, I would be hesitant in wanting to be a part of that reality, due to imagined fear. It would be the unknown of what could be creeping and crawling around in the water; and in and amongst the beautiful pasture of wild flowers; snakes, spiders, and insects of many kinds, and who knows what else could be present. How would I be able to grasp the beauty with the distraction that fear displaces right in front of me? It would be very difficult to take pleasure in depth with those fears. I have a horrible fear of snakes, but maybe the imagined fear is even worse, as I play over and over in my head of what could happen if I did come across a water snake or anything that is dangerous to be near. However, with all of that I lose sight of what I am missing, the wonder and beauty that is being displayed, as the fear is overshadowing the desire to find myself in such beauty and find pleasure that abounds by the thousand.

I think this is a good depiction of how I used to view Father! His amazing love and beauty is astounding, but it was the fear that overshadowed how close in reality I could be to Him. His wrath and judgment could stomp me like a bug, and though I was attracted to the image of a ‘nice’ loving Father, there was still that image a God who was ready to reign down his power upon me if I didn’t conform. I could sense his love, but didn’t believe it to be real! It wasn’t a reality in my life, but a fa├žade that I only dreamed about. And of course there were always the ‘what if’s and ‘buts’ that stood in the way of the true reality that He desires me to live in! Fearless, shameless, and loved by Him who desired me to join Him in His beauty, and not to fear him or be ashamed of being a sinner! I get the feeling that I am not alone out there in feeling this way. Although people say they believe and grasp the Father’s love, do they really believe they can fully live freely in that reality? Can they sense that though they are sinners, they are still cherished and loved in every way possible by God? That they aren’t conditionally loved according to their illusions of ‘what if’s and ‘buts’.

Although I didn’t experience that picture that is above in my own reality, I am finding that believing in the freedom that Father’s love is astounding and His desire for me is incredible is becoming more real to me than ever before. That I am neither ashamed, nor condemned because His power is found in His grace as He gives to me so freely! Acceptance of the uncertainties of life will take you places you have only dreamed about and they will become the reality where you will find Him in and there you will only find love!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I Need To Trust So the Rest Will Come

I find myself always getting antsy and nervous right before a move. I guess I should be used to moving by now. It seems like we have moved almost every year since we got married. Though it always seems to surprise me how my reactions to things in my life never seem to change and even though the situations fluctuate, my attitude stays the same. I get nervous and anxious when Jon is looking for a new job or when a big move is happening. When I feel caught up in the moment and feel the need to want to control things when it’s out of my hands to control.

Why is uncertainty something we are trained not to embrace? Instead if feels as though we are caught up in the pulling and tugging of necessity in order to feel a sense of control in ours situations. It seems like our nature is built on the certainty and security that we seek in order to sustain some sense of control in our lives, when maybe, it isn’t in our power to sustain such security and certainty. And maybe this is not the way we were meant to live, but quite the opposite. Maybe our sense of security is not found in what happens in this world and our situations, but when we see that there is a greater need and working that is happening outside of our control.

My friend Kent said the following:

“What we are in need of is to allow the Spirit to rework everything in us. We have been so shaped to live by law and control and the spirit is the absolute opposite.”

I love where this message is leading; pure and absolute freedom. Where we are set free from being fixated on that which is out of our control and to find that we don’t need to figure everything out at once but trust Father in that which we cannot see or understand, and when we can rest from the wrestling and anxiousness that comes with this obnoxious need to be in control. Once we give way to this, it becomes extremely real, and the realm of control has lost its strength, and the scrambling nature to control things dies because we no longer have chosen to live a life outside of trust.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's Amazing What We Find Outside of What We Have Always Been Told

It’s interesting how dogma and a certain type of thinking are passed down from generation to generation. People, who have grown up and have been spoon fed a religion, are more than likely going to carry that on with them for the rest of their lives and then eventually pass it down to their children. Soon our beliefs are only what we have been told they should be and it seems like we don’t have the ability to search on our own and find our own way to truth. That would take too much work and risk. Religious dogma to me is like old baggage we carry on our back because we feel obligated to do so due to our parents, grandparents and other family member’s expectations. If we step away from that image and start looking on our own instead of relying only on what we have heard growing up, there is a risk associated with that in terms of perhaps losing relationships with family and friends and maybe we are even afraid of what we will find if we go off on our own. I think we even get to the point where we talk ourselves into this belief system because it’s familiar to us, and we are so comfortable that if we step out of it, everything will go haywire and become uncertain. Though perhaps that is what will bring us out of bondage. There are many voices out there telling us all sorts of stuff, people who we are close to, and others who we don’t even know. But who are the people we should listen to? What are the voices that will lead us to truth? I guess I am pretty certain that there is only one voice and one God who can lead us to truth, though it seems like we allow those other familiar voices to tell us how and what to believe.

I love this clip from the movie, Mona Lisa Smile where they are talking about art. It’s profound and has really helped me capture a sense of an open mind and not to always go with the status quo and what the ‘religious police’ always say.

This is when I begin to question all over again, who is God? What makes Him Good or bad, and am I capable of coming to somewhat of a conclusion on my own?

Perhaps knowing God is not like an outlined rule manual, but maybe he is much more than ‘they’ say He is and even profoundly different in many ways… Can we open our minds to a new idea of who he may be than what we have been ‘told’ to think?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lord Save Us From Your Followers - New Trailer - Opens Sept 25th!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Does It Matter?

I get the feeling that importance is pushed in many areas that perhaps in the long run, and in the end, they won’t matter. There seems to be many battles among people in regards to who’s right and who’s wrong, whose left or right, and all this figuring on what side of the fence people are on. I tend to think even that doesn’t matter what side you are on, or how you see differently than I do. I guess I am trying to look outside of the box and try to picture things differently, a way that evens the playing field, though perhaps with humans, this is utterly impossible. . I have a feeling God rarely sees things in the same perspective as any one of us. Though I do think He uses us in some way or another.

My thoughts in my blog have mainly pertained to my past experiences with religion and how it has been used in my life, and of course the healing grace and love that I am now seeing outside of a religion that I used to know. There were glances of love and grace, but few and far between glances that it was hard to even see and identify them. I’m just a 26 year old, with little to no experience about pretty much anything, but that which I write about, I do know a little bit about. I don’t ever assume to have it all figured out though, nor do I want to come across all knowing. But what I know and believe or what I am figuring out our questioning is something that only says one thing. I could be the only person on the planet to believe it or even care to write about it, but, I’m still one person that has a voice and who wants to share her thoughts and finds it exciting when I actually have something to write about. I enjoy writing immensely and find that if it helps one person; that to me is worth it all! And if it doesn’t help a soul, I still enjoy it just as much. My goal here isn’t to stir up contention and start world war 3 on my blog, but to be able to discuss issues and matters that I find interesting and want to share. I just find that my thoughts are scattered half the time, and when I write a blog and people take things from my blog and try to put a label on me and what I believe doesn’t quite do it for me. You just can’t label someone off of one piece of writing. It would be ludicrous to think that I can sum someone’s life up just by one thing they have said.

So with this said, if it matters that much to you to come and try to find fault in what I write about, then so be it! I welcome you, though I will tell you this, I am not much for debating, even if it’s about issues you find on my blog. You can ask my husband, I have always cringed when it came to debates particularly ones that have to do with God or religion, it’s just a topic I enjoy writing about and I find Father working these things out in me. So, you are more than welcome to come and share your perspectives and beliefs even if they are contrary to mine. I see no harm done in that. I’m beginning to realize that human perspectives, even mine never really amounts too much, and in the end, when all things are done, that is when the real truth and light with shine through!

Peace to you fellow readers -

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Fall of a Christian Religion and The Rise of Authentic Living

I have stopped and pondered where this world is headed with all the current events happening all around us. I think I see the beginning of life start to take shape in and amongst people across our nation. If I didn’t know any better than I do now, I would be among several Christians who are tied to their box of religion in hopes to help it not collapse, and pray in fear that it won’t. Though these days, I have a different view. I sense the beginning is near, where we will begin to see more people leave organized religious groups and reach out for real life outside of the norm. Where church is no longer a building with a pastor or elders, but where we begin to realize that we the people as individuals come together and love each other anywhere at any time and that defines the church on more of a real level than anything else. Where we begin to shed the mask of our lives and thrive on authenticity and begin to be real with others about whose we are. I think Grace will play a much bigger role in relationships and people will step out of the fear mongering mode and move to a place that love and grace is abundant and there we will see astonishing and valuable things take place.

An event that has taken place recently that has utterly shaken the religious Christian shell has been Jennifer Knapp coming out as a lesbian and still proclaiming to love the Lord. Articles and interviews I have watched and read have really opened my eyes even more too how narrow-minded, even closed minded people have become when the issue of love is on the line and how they don’t see how their method of condemnation and judgments is not the way to win over people. Though, I am not surprised, it’s these events that have opened the eyes and really makes one stop and think, maybe we are really missing something here.

I’m excited to see grace and love win over pride and arrogance of trying to make something work that’s obviously not! And the cool thing is, I don’t even have to preach to people about this to convince them about love and grace, when I think the Spirit of God is doing that in and amongst hearts across this planet.

For me personally, I no longer feel the need to push my beliefs on others and find that love in action really opens the doors to freedom and learning to love people where they are, even when it’s Christians who don’t agree or see eye to eye with me. Even though I have in the past, I’ve learned that it doesn’t work. Loving people and meeting them where they are with no ulterior motives is something I have found to be impressively remarkable and affective in being real and authentic.