Tag Archives: hope

an open letter

To Christian parents, mentors, therapists, teachers, and well-meaning friends of people who struggle with mental illness: you don’t have to make every single conversation with your depressed loved one circle back to God. Sometimes it’s important to leave those conversations for another day, or leave them altogether. Sometimes all the other person really needs is a kind, understanding word, a hug, or just your quiet presence as you silently let them know you’re there for them. With all the things spiraling in the mind of a mentally ill person, it often only adds to the guilt and confusion and frustration to have someone you care about be able to do nothing other than talk about how God is the answer to everything.

Because while, yes, He is the answer, it’s not YOUR job to tell them that. It’s not your job to make them feel God’s presence or to convince them that God’s love is the only thing that matters. Because sometimes a hurting person needs to be told that their pain MATTERS, regardless of whether or not God works that pain for good. It’s your job to simply love them. Because sometimes they need to know that YOU love them, because you are what’s right in front of them.

I know you mean well, and I know you think it’s necessary to connect EVERY little thing to religion, and I know you may even question my own faith for saying this, but frankly, you gotta let it go. You over-harp on the one thing you know, and never consider that there are other components to someone getting healthier. The fact that YOU don’t have any other coping mechanisms for struggles in your arsenal is NOT an excuse to guilt trip someone else with constant talk of God. Seriously. It’s exhausting. Give it a rest already.

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J12- What Christmas Feels Like

 christmas_tree1

i think i almost lulled myself to sleep while writing this assignment about Christmas. *sleepy yawn* *sleepy smile*  ;]

The bejeweled tree glistens comfortingly nearby as I curl up on the couch under a fuzzy blanket. I can smell the aroma of pine and the lingering scent of cinnamon from cookies baked earlier that day. A kindly-faced porcelain angel graces the top of the tree, reminding me of a similar dark and starry night more than two millennia ago—a night that changed the history of the world.

All the lights in the house are off, except for the tiny colored ones on the tree; my sisters and mom are in bed; my dad is on his way home. My loyal German Shepherd Dog slumbers beside me, his steady breathing lulling me to sleep. As I nod off, I know that this is what I love about Christmas. Actually this is what I love about life; the small moments where I can take a breath, smile, close my eyes, and thank God for the blessings He’s given me. This is what Christmas feels like.


J4- A Bag Packed in Faith

  Heritage Ministries International (we just call it HMI) has played a huge part in my life for the last several years, even though it only takes place for one month out of the year. i’ve wept, laughed, worshiped, prayed, grown (spiritually and physically), and gone on adventures with these people. i luv y’all.

Every year, my family and several of my friends’ families host Japanese high school students for the month of August. It’s always the highlight of my year! My friends and I have made so many memories and new friendships through this program.

This particular year, 2011, I had been told that I could join the group going to the airport to pick the students up. Oh, joy! That meant spending the night at a friend’s house after church and waking up at 5:30 A.M. on Monday morning for the two hour trip to Los Angeles International Airport; it meant greeting the students as they entered the airport; it meant spending the day talking with and getting to know the students. Well, in the midst of my excitement, I got a phone call saying that there was no seat for me after all.

Bummer. But I was more than sad. Something inside me would not rest; something tugged and pulled at me saying that I was supposed to go to the airport. The incessant feeling grieved me, and I poured my heart out to God. As I prayed, I felt a great calm and peace come over me. Then, something popped into my head and concreted itself there. I found myself unable to erase the thought, “Pack your bag anyway. I will make a way for you to go.” In that moment, I put my trust wholly in Him; supreme joy filled my heart as I realized that I would go, because, by golly, God Himself had said that I would!

On Saturday, I ecstatically packed my bag to spend the following night at my friend’s house and then put it in the car. On the way to church the next morning, I began to ponder who I could talk to about finding a ride. And then it hit me: I wasn’t supposed to do anything to find a way. That was God’s job; that was the whole point! Well, at that moment, I started to feel a little insecure, but I figured that if I had trusted Him this far, I sure better go all the way. Later on, during social time after church, I got a little nervous and felt the urge to ‘negotiate’ with someone for seat. But I held strong, and I trusted that God would yet show the way without my help.

Suddenly, my friend Linnea walked up to me and—having no idea of my predicament – she began to explain, “I’ve decided I won’t carpool since both of my sisters want to go. I’ll just take my own car. We’ll have several extra seats that way.”

I stared at her dumbly before screaming and excitedly telling her that she had just unknowingly answered my prayer. When she heard my story, she almost started to cry.

The following day turned out to be a huge blessing. I started friendships on that day that I still cherish. Most importantly, however, this experience impressed upon my heart and mind the fact that God’s faithfulness will always exceed my own.


CW2- My Hope is in You

A funny thing happened while i wrote the following acrostic poem. i was working on the last few lines of it, sitting on a bench, at 7:00 at night, behind our church building, in the cold and the wind, waiting for my parents’ class to be done. In my ingenuousness, i had not even thought about bringing my jacket. Believe me, it was cold (don’t worry, i eventually moved inside. not that you actually worried). Trying to block myself from the wind, i hunched down over my legs for  a minute. from that position, i saw something shiny on the ground. i picked up what turned out to be a pendant, or charm. i turned it around and read the single word etched on it: “Trust”. i stared at it, then glanced from the pendant to my poem, and back again. i grinned.  Whoa.

Every hope I give to You, O Lord;

Expectations, both big and small, may You mold to Your will.

Let no earthly disappointment cloud my trust in You;

Love from You remedies my confidence after heartbreaks.

In my darkest hour You know the desires of my heart;

If I cry out in distress, I know that you will restore my faith in time.

Zephyrs whirl around me as I trust in Your plans for me.

Zenith above me, ground below me; I believe this is so, just as I believe Your love will always surround me.

All you who are lost put your hope in the Lord, and He will give you peace;

As the disbelief closes in, call out and He will answer.

But do not wait until hope is discouraged!

Beg for His closeness even when life is pleasant, so that your faith is strong at all times.

Even when I despair, O Lord, You will never leave me.

Eagles soar high, never distrusting the wind beneath their wings;

That is how trusting I should be-

To never doubt that Your faithfulness will sustain me.

Here on earth are many trials to crush my faith;

Help me to remember that You are the source of my true hope.

____

Coming from You alone, O Lord, are my aspirations.

Courage is what I have when I place my trust wholly in You.

All other desires pale in comparison to You!

A song of hope I lift up to the God of heaven.

My heart longs to believe in the Lord;

May I always put my faith in God Almighty.

Please show me Your faithfulness, O God!

Put my disbelief to the side;

Bring me hope in the night.

Blessed are they who rely on Your promises;

Each of them will be fulfilled.

Every day I surrender my heart to You;

Like a close friend You give me reassurance when I need it.

Longing pierces my heart

Like a sharp knife, but You quiet the nervous anticipation in my soul.

Life, strength, and hope are in You, Lord.