Friday, October 22, 2010

Here’s the Long of It

[First birthday; I suppose it was happy]

This is a new strange for me. I will be having something in place of my birthday about a month and a half after my actual birthday.

Let’s see, my non-annual non-birthday birthday gatherings and other nonsensities have gone like this:

My 18th birthday was spent away from home. Mom’s cousin and her family, whom I hadn’t known until a month earlier, learned that it was my birthday and being away from home, they were very sweet in surprising me with dinner and presents.

[The card from the studio guys; this kine stuff is really all I need]

My 19th birthday, also away from home, the studio guys and a few other people got me cards.

My 21st, I planned dinner at Waimalu, one of my family’s favorite places to eat. My birthday was on a Tues, but dinner was on the Sunday after. It was great because about 20 people came. My 21 co-workers, whom I had started working with a couple months before, brought me a bottle of 99 Bananas, which took years to be rid of after. Some people at church had been invited somewhat last minute and several came anyway which was wonderful, even stopping somewhere to get me gifts. It sucked because that was a turning point in Hatchet becoming my ex-friend [a label I take very seriously; I should have said that she chose to become my ex-friend].

My 22nd was with Wrestler. I watched his soccer game, they lost :( . Then he presented me with one of those gigantic paper roses and took me out to dinner- Italian! :)
____________________________

My 24th is the infamous birthday that started the official non-birthday gatherings. I had considered it my 24K Gold birthday, but turned out it was made of pyrite instead.

The actual day was a weekend and the UH Warriors had a football game- great! We planned for going to the game and to the club after.

Before the game, we got a call from Apple, saying that she was driving home from the windward side and too tired to go to the game. So I drove from home on the west side, all the way to town by the U where Apple lived, and brought her to the game in the middle. The boys weren’t into football, not even for me, not even for my birthday [not since Handsome have I been able to get the guys to go to a game with me; I miss Handsome]. So Apple, Crusty, Joyful and I enjoyed ourselves at the game- I believe we won.

Then we went to Apple’s for the rest interval. I got a call from Oreo. He wanted to join us to the club but didn’t want to show up by himself but didn’t think his girlfriend would come because she thought that we didn’t like her no matter how much I told him that wasn’t the case and to bring her…. It went back and forth like that for several minutes and I just ran out of patience for that kind of stuff quickly. Apple said she didn’t want to drive to pick him up. I said that it was my birthday, I’d done enough driving earlier, I wasn’t going to backtrack again to pick him up by the h.s. and then go to Waikiki. I told him he could meet us there with or without his gf or don’t come at all, goodbye. And I hung up.

I don’t usually hang up on people but I’d had enough. I know, I’m cruel and worse yet when the other person is as sensitive as Oreo can be. *sigh. And certain people wanted us to date. … For me at times, it’s cruelty by honesty rather than cruelty by false niceties. And, we had always been friendly with his gf; she was the possessive one that didn’t want him hanging out with us.

While I had been on the phone with Oreo, Apple got a call from Sexy. I hung up with Oreo and we waited for Sexy to call back again. When she did, it was bad news: Sexy had just seen her aunty cheating on her uncle. Sexy was distraught and crying, but decided to be tough. I told her she didn’t have to come out that night but she said it was my birthday [thank you, Sexy! Finally someone recognizing this!] and she said she was coming out so she’s coming.

We went to the club, but I don’t remember much about that. We moved on to a less crowded bar. I drove with Apple. Sexy met us with Wee. We had a good time at the bar, even though we were there for only half an hour.

We got to the parking lot in time to see Sexy’s car being hitched up for a tow. It didn’t seem to me like she had parked in a towaway. Sexy and Wee pleaded with the guy and ended up paying to get unhitched. Sexy gave me a present of Russian water and went home. I felt terrible.


[From the redo]

A month later, we did a redo, which also ended up sucking on the point that Apple and Sexy couldn’t make it to dinner. It was still better than the original night because Handsome came! Oh, and the boys, and some friends from church, and Brien from studio.

And that is the birthday gone horribly wrong that scarred me.
____________________________
To continue…

My 25th, the Quarter of a Century birthday, was very quiet and small. Apple was going to take Sexy to dinner for her birthday [which is a few days before mine] on my actual birthday, so we combined. It was Apple, Sexy, MadScientist and I at Big City. So it was the actual day, but technically we went to celebrate Sexy, so I still don’t really count that as one of my own. I was still in recovery from the previous year I suppose.

My 26th, I was away from home again. On the actual day, I had a pleasant lunch with an old friend, but I hadn’t told him it was my birthday so I don’t really count it. My roommate found out a little late [in me being shy and reluctant to tell] but gave me a gc to Victoria’s Secret. Who doesn’t love getting spoiled? I think he found out because of the suspicious look of the cards I was getting in the mail.

Then nothing except family dinners for #27-29.

[Happy present from Apple this year]

I celebrated my 30th [celebrating three decades of life on the outside] about a week early to coincide with Trace visiting and before Apple leaving. I invited anyone I could. Crusty had hers the same day, so I went to hers first and some people also came to mine later. An event that had been on hold was rescheduled for the same night, after I had sent out my invitations, [with other points] leading to my disappointment in some. However, most of the main people were there and it was a good night.
____________________________
[Early present from Chemist this year]

And then nothing, not even family dinner until this year, which is, I repeat, 6 weeks after the actual day. I was in a mood. I wanted to spend it happy with someone whom I knew to care, but I didn’t call him and crapped out with another friend because I knew he would choose something else, though to be fair, I didn't say what it was for or why, and then I didn't want to.... Few days before the actual, I expressed to some people what I wanted and why, trying to have a good attitude and do something on the actual, yet they chose the something else also, so that dampened my good attitude. I wanted to go climbing but was stressed out then lazy about planning it. Two key people I wanted to include were/are going on trips. All that adds up to a very late gathering.

I still don’t want to have dinner at all but have long learned that even though it’s my birthday, the dinner is less about me and more about those who care about me, thanking them for another year with me.

[I look good for thirty-cough, right?]

Yet, I am very apprehensive this year because of affections. I thought writing this, I'd remember a really good birthday and be more hopeful. I think I probably won’t do anything next year, despite what I’ve learned in the past. It hardly seems worth it anymore. Or maybe I’m worn. The last two birthdays were “good” on one point that I no longer have. Yes, I’m whining, though some things would mean so much to me and I’m all for celebrating others then when it’s me, I’m simply tired of expecting. I'm tired of being let down and clearly I have reason for it. Usually, I can adjust to something going wrong, but not anymore for something like this. If this, even though late, dinner doesn't go well, .... Tell me that I cannot cancel this year’s dinner!

To think that my last entirely happy birthday with nothing gone wrong [except for my spiritual state] and only good was with Wrestler... makes me sad. I made no fuss about my birthday, he made all the arrangements and was like a good bf. That was a long, long time ago. I want this sadness to change.


Anyways, on that note, I’m posting my birthday list since it has already passed and I barely care anymore either way:
Jewelry organizer: more so for my necklaces and bracelets
Elfquest Graphic Novel 6: The Secret of Two-Edge
Elfquest Graphic Novel 7: The Cry From Beyond
Elfquest Graphic Novel 8: Kings of the Broken Wheel
Gift certificates from: Nordstrom, Lowe’s,
....Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Best Buy, Express,
....iTunes, Ala Moana/ Ward Centers,
....Victoria’s Secret, Charlotte Russe,
....Arden B., Legos, Showers of Blessings Bookstore,
....Bella Beads
TWLOHA shirt
A hat
Glow stars [mega galaxy box from Spencer’s]
Lemon drops
Nikon D90 [though I’d settle for a D60]
Hiking shoes
Vapur bottles
White Jasmine tea
Books
A Fossil Watch
Trip to Hilo
Season tickets to UH Volleyball
Swim time
Tabora print
A globe
Orchids
Owls
Bettas
Shoes designed by Carlos Santana
Bus pass
Trip to see Chulo
A new comfortable bike seat [it’s way overdue]
Goodies from Big Island Candies
A guava cake from Liliha
Wet Okole seat covers
A small backpack [maybe from T&C] for hiking


$10 donations to East Bay Habitat for Humanity, Hawaiian Humane Society, Hawaii Foodbank, or Focus on the Family.


And that was definitely the long of it. The end.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Untitled [10.20.2010]

No matter what, some stuff just suck.

Like voided friendships.

Like making a promise to someone and then having it not matter to them whether I break it or not.

Like letting people know by words and deeds how much they mean to me and having them erase me from their life. Or worse yet, having them keep me as their FB friend for appearances, in order to not raise any suspicions. It’s worse than having someone be honest in rejecting my friend request.

Like being able to walk away and have friends not care enough to stop me.

Like missing my sisters being here.

Like dishonesty or lacking the ability to be honest.

Like people thinking they’re a genius when this makes them an idiot instead.

Like misunderstandings and stubbornness.

Like people not recognizing their own faults and weaknesses, then getting upset when I bring one to their attention. It doesn’t matter how much I did or didn’t wrap it in love.

Like spoiled people pretending to have unspoiled airs.

Like being blamed for something I didn’t do, or being blamed because of what someone else did.

Like not being able to depend on those I should be able to depend upon.

Like people thinking that gossip is true.

Like people believing the worst about me.

Like people unable to see the best in me.

Like people not caring.

Like being expendable.

Like this post.

Updates on Recent Nudges [10.20.2010]

Equip & Inspire 2010 People Meeting:
So on the last day of the conference, during the morning session, I had an empty seat next to me. Between me and the aisle was one empty seat. I thought, who’s going to sit there, by themselves, next to me, a stranger?

Then this young lady asked if the seat was open. She sat down.

For the first half of the session, I was my shy introverted self. I thought, or the HS nudged me, I should talk to the young lady next to me. I did welcome her during the greeting portion. I keep thinking that if I just start talking to a stranger, I’m gonna creep them out. I’ve said before that I suck at small talk. I was at a Christian conference; what was I so afraid of?

Anyways, the HS kept nudging. When halftime came up, I made the effort. I asked if she was there alone and then progressed a little more in conversation.

For the record, in case I come across her again: Erica, PC c/o 2000 [?], GBC @LCC. At the second session, she brought her friend, Twinkle. I hope I see them again. Maybe I’ll visit GBC; I’ve been hearing some good stuff about them and I’ve been to their youth camp when I was younger.

I also had the thought that I have my camara with me, like always. I should have our pictures taken, so I can remember a face with the name and stuff. I wasn’t sure if that would push me over the creepy line, but the HS nudged… and I didn’t do it. Next time. Hey, I’m a work in progress. I’m making strides. Before, I never would have began the conversation with Erica at all.


Honolulu Habitat for Humanity stint:
Honolulu Habitat for Humanity
NKBA Aloha Chapter
Carolyn Pace Design

This past Sunday, I got to volunteer with HHH! It wasn’t a build, the part I really want to do again, but it was still investing in the organization. When I got the confirmation of my assignment [by email], I was so excited! And one of the coordinators called me to reconfirm by phone; I thought that’s a good sign.

The HHs can be organized differently. The one in East Bay, where I previously volunteered, was very well organized. I wasn’t sure how the Honolulu HH would be like, given past attempts to contact them in order to volunteer coming to no reply back at all, but it’s been a few years so things are looking better now!

Sunday was the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s Tour. This year, 12 homes/ designers/ contractors participated to show recent remodeling work. The tickets purchased allowed people to visit any of the 12 homes and talk to the designers/ contractors for ideas, etc. Proceeds went to HHH.

In my opinion, this was a step up from going to a showroom or seeing small mock ups in a Home Depot or something. One can see what someone actually did to their kitchen or bathroom. It makes the possibilities more real.

All I had to do was show up, help a little with the setup, and then greet people at the doors. I checked tickets or sold tickets. It was thoroughly enjoyable.

The owners were there for the setup. Turns out, they’re the parents of a classmate of mine. When KK, the classmate, walked in, at first my spirit crept into its shell again, but the HS nudged. HS said I wasn’t a horrible person in high school; I have nothing to fear in approaching people from that time. So, I greeted her. She said I looked familiar but when I said my name, then she knew. And her parents are just lovely people.

The house also happened to be the neighbor to my friend’s [another classmate] mother’s house. The mother came by and so I was able to say hi. I don’t know why I was surprised to see people I knew; I was in my old neighborhood.

The designer Carolyn Pace was very cool too. I listened a little to what she was saying to the visitors about how she went about the design of the K’s kitchen. She knew her stuff. It’s a beautifully functional kitchen. And her son, with his girlfriend, was very friendly also. They brought us [me and another volunteer] lunch from Andy’s in Manoa- yum! Mushroom Turkey sandwich! The son, Gary [?] works at Nordstrom’s; he talked about that a bit with the other volunteer [they were the talkers, the men. G’s girlfriend and I, not so much the talkers].

The organizer, Bianca stopped by to make sure we had what we needed on the HHH side. She walked up and greeted us, then said she had to meet the real [my name]. She was cool!

So all-in-all it was a good time.


Recent… something…:
I met with a mentor on Monday. I’m still growing and a lot refreshed by the conference. I got some stuff to think about, as always.

In relation to my ministry work plans, I decided I would lift someone specific up by going to BS. I saw some good stuff starting to take place. It’s just difficult sitting there, hearing the teacher say stuff that I know he’s said before, and stuff I’ve learned elsewhere along my journey, and stuff that I told the group also. It is confirmation that I’m not just talking out of my behind, but that I’m trying to pass on the stuff that I’ve learned and that I’ve found to be either true and/ or helpful to spiritual growth. The difficulty is that… nevermind. I have to keep focused on my ministry work I am currently on. At least I continue to find encouragement that I DO have things to pass on and that they are things of worth. And I have people to pass it on to. And the thing that I didn’t say is that… nevermind. This isn’t the place to say it I guess.

I’m still so saddened when… nevermind. *sigh*

Anyways, Alpha was there. In the end, Broke invited me to pray with him and Alpha. I had them pray over my ministry work and all the ideas coming to me, to see that something happens. We prayed and then talked a bit more. I think I’ll write a separate entry for this.


Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child assist:
Operation Christmas Child

Pastor Cousin got the desire to help with OCC this year. He offered me a position in his work in this, but for awhile I wasn’t sure. Actually, he offered that I lead it so that I could possibly unify the different YA groups in it, and I wasn’t sure about doing that or that it would work. I dunno, maybe I crapped out on this.

Or maybe not, because I got a clear, heavy HS nudge that I must be a part of seeing Pastor Cousin’s project be as successful as it can be. [It also fits in with my ministry plan.]

So I let Cousin know that I will help in any way that he needs. I will be working with his assistant in this project, especially while Cousin will be away on a mission trip. I’m so excited about this now! The thing is that I only got truly excited the moment I told Cousin I’d help, so I know I must do this. [Remember Jenn, this still doesn’t guarantee easiness but it will prove fulfilling!]


And…

That is all. For now.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Review: The Pilgrim’s Progress

I only started hearing about John Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress” a few years ago when I began listening to podcasts by Christians and they would mention the book. Then I went to a coffee/ sandwich shop run by Christians. The shop had a bookstore section. I saw “The Pilgrim’s Progress” and I picked up a copy. God built in me a desire for the classics, if only to try to understand what people are/ have been already talking about. However, due to getting bogged down with books I had to read for thesis, “Pilgrim” sat on my shelf for a couple years. Well, okay, a very small part of it was that “Pilgrim” was 400+ pages long and I didn’t think I would be able to finish it within a reasonable time, meaning before I began to forget the part I’ve already read.

This past September, I tackled “Pilgrim” and now I see that I should have read it sooner. I had difficulty putting it down. It’s a masterful way of giving glimpses of the Christian journey with variations along the theme [variations as to how people walk it]. In this way, I think that it could speak to any person who reads it. I kept thinking, “Am I like this character? I must be at this point in the journey,” and so on.

“Pilgrim” also reveals certain truths about the Christian faith through its story as well as through illustrations found within its story. “Chapter 5: The Pilgrim Meets the Interpreter” is full of such illustrations, like what it means when the Psalmist of the Bible asked God to “create in me a pure heart” [Psalms 51:10] and what it looks like when God grants it.

Each chapter is followed by dozens of notes, almost all of them being a reference to a passage in the Bible. I find this fascinating, as I had come to believe [in my recent read through of the whole Bible] that the whole of the Bible is one story, in one accord, lending to its trustworthiness, in my thinking. Also, that “Pilgrim” refers back to the Bible reminds me that it is no substitute for the Bible itself in terms of spiritual truth and understanding. “Pilgrim” is merely a helper to the Bible.
____________________________

I would recommend anyone read “The Pilgrim’s Progress.” For the Christian, one should find its story to be full of encouragement, wisdom, and a good measure of warning for the journey. For the non-Christian, one should find an illustration for what the Christian life ought to be like and hopefully more understanding as to why the Christian believes in the God of the Bible.

The back cover of the version I read says this:
“The Pilgrim’s Progress” has been called “the greatest allegory ever written.” Its appeal sweeps across the scopes of age, intellect and education. Children read it for the excitement of the story; eager believers are challenged and trained by its invaluable teaching; Bible students and scholars alike read it for its depth of doctrine.

Just as relevant today as it was when John Bunyan wrote it from his cell in prison, “The Pilgrim’s Progress” is the story of every Christian--- from the first stirrings of the Holy Spirit beckoning us to follow Christ to our final arrival in the Celestial City of God.
[ISBN: 0882707574]

To Help the Weak

Acts 20: 32-38

[25] “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. [26] Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. [27] For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. [28] Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. [29] I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. [30] Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. [31] So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

[32] “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. [33] I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. [34] You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions.
[35] In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

[36] When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. [37] They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. [38] What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.


[Emphasis mine].

I am no Paul. I do not aspire to be Paul. I do aspire to do God’s work as fervently and obediently as Paul did, but I’m not quite there yet; I’m on my way.
Previous entry, I praised Hope Chapel West O‘ahu for its spirit of obedience to God which was manifest in its excellent and unified production of the Equip & Inspire 2010 Conference. I gave many reasons why I would love to attend HC WO.

And here are the reasons why I won’t be attending HC WO: because it does not need my help.

My home church of KUC, the church in which I “grew up,” is unhealthy throughout. I cannot know for sure but from what I can observe, there are few healthy parts in the church. I love my home church because it has been a home for me, but that is not why I stay. I am staying with KUC because I want to be there when God does his amazing healing work through her. When that happens, I want to be able to fully celebrate with the Body of Christ because I did my part. In Matthew 9:12, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” My church is sick.

Years ago, I got a deep cut on my leg. It was bleeding so much that it took awhile to clean it enough to put the gauze over it, then it bled through the gauze for several days. When the bleeding slowed and I peeked under the gauze, I could see the layer of meat under the skin. The doctor said that if I had gone to the ER when the cut happened, they could have stitched it up so that it would heal with a less obvious scar. The thing is, all the ER could have done was stitch up the cut; they couldn’t heal the cut. The healing came from the body doing its thing. As a Christian, I believe that God designed me; my body got its healing program and equipment from God.

Now, my body will heal itself whether I believe in Christ or not. Christ is the doctor in the ER. He can give us the best possible chance of healing well. There will still be a scar as a reminder of the healing, but it will be a less obvious scar to people looking in from the outside.

I am a part of the Body at my church. I believe that I am a healthy part of the body, because healthiness comes from the state of my personal relationship with God, which I believe is healthy at the moment. The sick part of the Body will not heal if its healthy parts are cut off or detach themselves.

Back to the passage from Acts. Paul was saying a farewell to the elders of the church at Ephesus. It was in part encouragement to carry on in the work of the Lord in verses 25-27 [and 22-24 leading in], as Paul shows them his resolve for how he will be continuing in the Lord’s work no matter what hardships are coming his way. In verses 28 to 31, Paul is telling them how they ought to carry on, by keeping watch over themselves and the flock, being on their guard, and keeping to the truth. Verses 32 to 34 is about commissioning them to do God’s work and a reminder of how God will provide for them to do the work, as God has provided for Paul to do the work. Verse 35 is a reminder of what work to do and why. At least, this is how I read the passage.

Verse 35 really sums up why I am staying with KUC through the tough process of healing. I believe that my part is simply to help the weak build or strengthen their faith; and then as that happens, we’ll go out together to give to others, passing it on. HC WO is hundreds strong; KUC is, from what I can discern, maybe not quite yet at its first hundred.

Verses 36 to 38 is the picture of how a healthy church lets go of someone who’s been a leader for it but has been called on to somewhere else. To be honest, KUC is not very good at this. This is how I would like to leave a church or ministry: having it cry in missing me but letting me go in peace, rather than crying in relief and kicking me out the door or crying in utter grief and letting me go because they despair. This is my thinking anyway.
____________________________

That is the main reason I’m staying with KUC, that God is calling me to be about the work of healing at KUC.

Location or distance doesn’t matter to me because wherever God calls me to is the right location. Yes, my mom is at KUC but she only cares that I go to a church; she doesn’t care if it is KUC or not [and I am not in the habit of doing what my mom wants me to… ;) ]. I don’t care if family or friends are there or not because I will find friends wherever I go; God has proven faithful in this area. I will have no shortage of opportunities to serve Christ at KUC; there is a lot to be done.

In terms of God’s calling, I belong at KUC, but otherwise, church attendance for me isn’t about belonging but of making others feel like they belong. God has given me an interesting gift of constant discomfort that allows me to take a step outside of my very small comfort zone and gives me a desire to see to the discomfort of others rather than focus on my own [I mean, I have my moments, then the Holy Spirit nudges me into action]. My friends left years ago and I returned to KUC, I am still with KUC. I've visited other churches, sometimes there for a month or two, some very appealing to me, and they weren't where I needed to be; I needed to be with KUC.

As to growth, God has also given me an explorer’s nature. I’m looking for the next step. I seek out what I want to know and since I desire to grow spiritually, I seek it out. If I can’t find help through the church [which has generally been my case with KUC; I’m not saying that KUC lacks helpful resources for anyone], I read books, look up stuff on the internet, visit with other groups, listen or watch out for what others are doing, listen to podcasts, etc.- whatever it takes. I seek out the advice of those who seem to have the walk down. I am deliberate with my faith; I ought to know about my faith.

And as to ease… I am not fooled into thinking that the Christian life ought to be easy. That’s a lie. The Christian life is difficult. If one wants to grow in Christ, one ought to expect uneasiness; growth comes no other way. It is at times to go lonely or to go unrecognized. I’m fairly certain that no one in the Bible said, “Farewell! I’m off to go party and rejoice with more fellow Christians!” Paul said that hardships were waiting for him in the Lord’s work [Acts 20:23]. James gives encouragement for the promise of blessings through trials and temptations [James 1: 2-12]. If the Christian life was easy, the Bible wouldn’t be so full of warnings and encouragements. Because people do not understand me now does not mean that they never will understand me; I must keep moving forward with my eyes on the Lord.

So, to sum up, I am at KUC because God has called me to be there. It’s not about anyone else. It’s not about me. It’s not about any excuses I can come up with. It’s not about seeking a church that conforms to what I want or what I need.

It’s about what God wants and he will provide what I need.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Portrait of Excellence from Unity


Ephesians 4: 1-5, 11-16
Unity in the Body of Christ

[1]As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. [2]Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. [3]Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.[4]There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— [5]one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

[11]It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, [12]to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up [13]until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

[14]Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.[15]Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. [16]From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. [NIV]



This is the vision in my mind of a good church, with each person doing their part towards the advancing of God’s kingdom. A body united in moving forward, going wherever it is that the Holy Spirit leads them. This is one component of the vision I have for a ministry.

And I saw it in action the other week.

Hope Chapel West O‘ahu hosted the Equip & Inspire 2010 “No Limits” Conference. The conference was AMAZING. It was large. It was organized. It was moving. I could have stayed there for a whole month. I was truly equipped and inspired and I hope to share some of that in coming posts. If not, I have ordered the DVDs because I thought it was that amazing and I could not take notes fast enough! One can borrow the DVDs if one would like to view what happened.

Here, I’d like to focus on the HC WO church itself. I witnessed this church being the Body of Christ and moving as the Body of Christ.

The conference included 3 days of 4 main sessions, 12 breakout sessions, and 2 youth nights. People were volunteer working on teams for greeters, registration, vendors & convention coordination, several worship teams, dance & drama teams, A/V teams, ushers, refreshments, graphics, promotions, facilities coordination, and more. They got the adults involved, the youth involved, all kinds of people involved. No one was too busy to say a quick hello and small talk, even the supervising directors.

The worship sessions were awesome. I know some stuff about the worship leader- I trust that he’s a good Christian, that God is moving through him, that his focus is on God. At any one time, there were about 3 guitar players, a drummer, a keyboard player, about 6 singers, plus more. I mean that there were several variations of the worship team. They had male and female, old and young, different ethnicities. At times, this person’s voice led and then that person had a solo and somewhere in the middle another voice rang out, almost like it was coordinated but not rigid, or like it was being coordinated by the Holy Spirit, truly. They had hula dancers and sign language people mixed in a few times, right along with the worship, not as separate entities but as one united whole. Some of the worship members were involved in some of the drama intro videos also.

I’m not saying that the conference was perfect; I can’t know that everything ran smoothly and as it was supposed to. Yet, from an audience member’s perspective, it was thoroughly enjoyable. From where I sat and where I walked and what I observed, it was a perfectly run conference. Things were on time, ended on time, in good supply, etc. I have nothing to complain about. Nothing.

It’s possible that among the HC WO people, including volunteers and leaders, it’s possible that some were just going through the motions, just doing what they think is good without thought to glorifying God. It’s possible.

What is not possible is to have the majority of their congregation just going through the motions and produce the conference that they did.

I saw excellence from unity. They did what they promised; they equipped and inspired me and I know that others were affected as well. They gave all the credit to their main guy, the senior pastor, and his wife. The pastor and wife gave all the credit back to their workers. Credit was even given to their church members, whether they volunteered time or not because they hosted. The whole thing was amazing.
____________________________

I can list a number of reasons why I want to attend HC WO. I desire to be a part of that kind of unity and that kind of excellence that follows the unity. The church is closer to my home. My friend attends this church. I know that if I go there, I will grow, I will be loved, I will have no shortage of opportunities to serve Christ. I would BELONG there. At HC WO, I wouldn’t be invisible to the group that God calls me to; I wouldn’t be invisible to the church at large. At the moment, it would be easier to start off fresh at this church than to continue where I am.

Of all the churches I have ever visited, I would LOVE to be at HC WO. Next time, I will tell you why I’m not going to be attending HC WO any time soon.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Preferred Character: What You Got In The Tank?

I’ve been pre-writing some entries for a series for this blog that at this moment will be called “Preferred Character.” It began as stories about the qualities I’m attracted to by reflecting on past romantic relationships; you’ll read it in later posts.

At times, I’ve been attracted to someone as a potential friend. I’m writing this entry in dedication to someone for whom I’m finding difficulties in showing that one the love that I have. We’re just clashing and having difficulty relating and to be honest, I’ve felt very disrespected and alienated by this person. God has kept this person on my heart though and I’m glad for it. I’m still not sure what to do, but I’d like to highlight his good qualities and his potential here.



I’ve known about Tank for years but didn’t have any personal interactions with him until about 3 years ago. I started volunteering with the youth at church when it was still organized under the youth pastor. Tank is one of several young people whom have become loyal to Pastor.

My first solid memory of Tank was on a youth event night [“solid memory” means when I took note of something or someone]. During clean up, I saw some tables that needed moving. Some guys were hanging around- goofing around really, not working. I had to ask that they help move some large tables back to where they belong.

Then it came to this smaller but heavier square table that was outside but belonged inside the gym. Well, those guys sat back down and began goofing off again. I started dragging the table to the door. I got it to the door but had about 10 more feet to go.

Tank was already carrying something but saw that I needed help. He picked up one side of the table and helped me move it. Then he carried on with his previous task. That is an attractive quality, taking a detour to help someone else, not being too busy to lend a hand.

I didn’t really know Tank that well but prior to the event, I had invited him and others of his friends to a Fourth of July get-together being put on by my friends, a few of whom Tank also knew. While he helped carry the table, he asked more about the get-together. I was surprised but impressed [having not known each other much] when he said that he would try to stop by and bring some of the guys. He was to be deployed soon and it would be the last 4th at home for him in awhile. They didn’t come, but he was the first [possibly only ‘cuz I don’t remember anyone else talking to me about it] of that group to reply to the invitation.

I thought that was a classy move. I must be part optimist because I thought, this is a guy I can kick it with, eventually. I’ve heard and observed that he’s rather gruff and kind of a rascal but I’m okay with that.

Anyways, Tank was deployed. My friendships progressed with his friends. Still having a generally good opinion of him and in spending time with his friends, I found myself excited for his return as it approached. Then the excitement calmed when I realized that basically, I wasn’t anyone he’d be greatly looking forward to seeing.

Then I tried to get something going with the young people. At the meeting, Tank was kinda teasing and playful towards me, which I was okay with. I’m used to being around guys and whatnot.

After that, things quickly soured between us. Several factors contributed to that. My regard for Tank hasn’t disappeared. I think it’s just in hibernation, sleeping in a cave of not-so-winsome characteristics and my own sensitivities. [I know, it sounds weird to say that I, “The Cold-hearted,” am sensitive. Deal with it.]



Here are other things I’ve observed of Tank:

Tank is a leader. He’s a leader in personality, a leader in certain experiences, I think I hear that he’s a leader in his unit. He has administrative abilities. He gets things done. He’ll do grunt work. These can be great qualities.

I sense that Tank’s acting language of love is “acts of service.” This is how he demonstrates his love. He likes to keep busy, look for something he can do for someone. He gives out of his finances. He can be protective.

I also sense that Tank’s receiving language of love might be “quality time” with a helping of “words of affirmation.” If I think about it, that kinda works together, that he should seek those who will spend time with him and in reciprocation, he will act in service towards them.



I don’t know but I think that Tank is seeking more with God though kind of blindly and/ or timidly. I say blindly because I’m not sure he believes that he can have more. I say timidly because it looks like he’s not sure of going too much outside of his comfort zone. And I understand; I’ve been there where I didn’t know that there was so much more with God than believing. For me, God seems to have orchestrated things so that I am never anywhere or with anyone long enough to get comfortable in the zone and I think maybe I can influence people to take more chances outside their zones, because God is in control.

And the thing is [again, I don’t know for sure], when Tank opens himself up more and more, when he allows God to grab hold of his all [ his heart, mind, soul, and strength], I see God using Tank MIGHTILY. I see God taking those leadership and service qualities in Tank and “moving mountains” through Tank. I really do. Tank’s not there yet and I get that. I just wonder what Tank would do if he could see what I see in him. I just wonder.

So I’ve been thinking about ways to better things between Tank and I and it doesn’t seem like ones I’ve attempted have come to anything good or any progress so far. Maybe we’re too alike in certain respects. It’s hard, too, when I have been hurt and I can’t discern any care from him regarding that. I don’t know. Time will tell, right?

I'm gonna take a break and then come back to continue trying. It'll be worth it, right?

What Good Is Love?

What good is love?

How strong is your love? What is the size of your love?

I’m bothered by something. To be honest, it’s bothered me for years, maybe even a decade, maybe more.

Are we supposed to love someone as they are? For who they are? What does that look like? What does that even mean?

[Mt. 5: 43-48; John 13: 34-35; I Cor. 13; Gal 5:13-26; 6:1-10; Eph. 2; 4:14-32; I John 3 & 4]

I read what the Bible says love is and I think I see the bigger picture. Then I am confronted with the desires of people to be loved just as they are. It’s in movies, it’s in songs. Perfect love is such a mystery and yet we forever pine for it.

I recently told Friend that it’s not okay that people, especially Christians, alienate each other. It’s not okay that people are not at peace with each other, especially those who claim Christ. And I know, I’m a part of that mess.

Then it got more personal. Understand that I don’t remember exactly how I said it, what words I used and I have no idea how [F]riend took it. What I was trying to say is that if F wants F’s group to be able to allow people in, then something’s got to change within the group. Say, if F wants me to be “in” the group, and I’m not getting along with [Y] or [L] or whomever in the group, they’re saying I’m not in, what is F going to do about it? F said that F loves Y as Y is; she’s not going to change Y. And I asked why not?

Understand that I'm not asking to be in the group. I'm not saying F has to "fix it." I'm pointing out that F's said F wants me "in" and that all this junk is ridiculous, yet what is F going to do about it? A part of me is waiting for someone to tell me how I'm being a jerk about it as well, but F won't say that, or at least F hasn't said so to me. I don't know that I am being a jerk; I know that I can be a jerk and that I don't mean to be a jerk. I know that I've tried things and that my attempts haven't worked much.

I tried to correct myself, it’s not that F should change Y or L or anyone, but that the Holy Spirit is the one who changes people. Y should be encouraged by friends towards the Holy Spirit promptings [or something like that; I try to explain myself simply and clear yet it hardly happens I think. I’m working on it]. Maybe the Holy Spirit could work through F towards Y’s betterment.

Hold it: Friend and I have talked about this stuff before. I hope F remembers those talks because F’s recognized before that I don’t mean Y or anyone else harm. I’m not saying that Y is a bad person. I liked Y when I first met Y. I’ve said good things about Y and I’ve said that I see great potential in Y. I see great potential in everyone in F’s group. And I don’t blame Y for being a certain way because the group allows Y to continue in that way; in fact, they affirm Y in Y’s ways, the good and the not so good. They affirm each other in their ways, each one in that group. Understand this: I do care very much for Y. It bothers me that our personalities seem to be clashing and I think it’s more that our behaviors and attitudes that need to change. I know that I want to be different. I know I can be different.

We're always going to have deficiencies in this life. Wouldn't you like to have less deficiencies today than you did five years ago?

You know, I get it, I really do. Love people for who they are, as they are. It can be offensive for anyone to say I have to change. But isn’t it true that they were expecting me to change?

Isn’t it true that I must change [not necessarily in the way that others want me to]? If I want to win people, I must change towards that end. If I want to be Christ to people, I can’t stay the way that I am. Christ didn’t come to love people so that they could keep on sinning, so that they could stay the way that they are. He came to empower, to embolden, to influence, to impact, to transform.

I ask, what good is love if it does not better the individuals? What good is love to me if I don’t have to change a thing?

Also, it’s highly improbable that one will change if one doesn’t know they ought to. It would help if one had a friend(s) who would let one know how one might improve, IN LOVE.

Here’s what I think that I think: we ought to meet people as they are and love them when we meet them. As the love grows, we ought to be made better by that love. I believe that people can change. No, it’s not immediate and yes, it will take time. But I don’t know how love can be love if it doesn’t change something. What is love if it does not invest? What is an investment if it does not contribute to improvement/ development? And when investing in people, I hope that they find something in/ about me that is worth investing back. I’m not saying “YOU CHANGE NOW.” I know that I ought to change also. I’m saying, you make me better and I want to urge you to be better.

…………. Okay, let’s try this. Here’s something I ask people: if you say you love someone and that someone is generally known as a jerk, do you let that someone continue being a jerk?

I would hope that people would have a problem with me being a jerk and that they would confront me with my jerkiness. It’s happened in the past. Sometimes it’s just their perception or a misunderstanding, and then there were times that it truly convicted me and I’ve become more aware. I think I take criticism much better than people think I do; it’s because I’ve developed and disciplined myself with the help of others who’ve pointed out things I might not have become aware of otherwise. I don’t always get it right away. I’m hearing it and I’m reflecting on it; “Were they right in any way?” I ask myself. I want to be better, constantly, so I keep a look out for things that help.

And I get it, it’s difficult to believe that one can change. I wonder almost every day if I’ve changed. Especially as a Christian, it can be difficult to believe because the Bible says that “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” [II Cor. 5:17] Then why do I feel unchanged? Why do I still do the evil things I’ve done before? If I don’t think I’ve changed, how are others supposed to see it?


Yet I know people can change. I’ve heard testimonies of how people have come out of drug addiction or come out of unrestrained anger and abusing others.

My Cousin T, he’s different today. He’s gone through some real hard times. His parents are divorced. He’s divorced. He used to live on another island with his ex-wife’s family and away from his. He has two kids that he has to share. His stepfather is on drugs; the stepfather abuses his mom, my aunty. There’s all kinds of crazy things going on around him.

I don’t know how to explain how T used to be. I think bitterness was a part of it. I’ll tell you that today, he’s joyful. He’s a Christian today and he talks about God to our family. He invites people to church with him.

Crusty is not who she used to be. She’s still Crusty, but she’s not the same old Crusty I met ~ 15 years ago. She’s still got an amazingly warm personality, sometimes wild notions, but now it’s all for God. She’s more mature, she’s growing. I am amazed. I see her and I remember how she used to be and she’s still my great friend and she’s a better Crusty than she’s ever been. And I believe it happened the moment she made a decision of obedience to Christ. She was a Christian when I met her, but now she’s an obedient Christian. And she’s just flourishing. I thank God that I was allowed to witness such a wonderful transition.

And along the way, Crusty has stepped into my life. She’s told me the things I need to hear. I’ve been made better by Crusty’s love. I can’t think of a time that she’s told me what I wanted to hear. I think we’re both kind of similar in this way of saying more of what needs to be said rather than what people want. If you ask for my opinion [and sometimes if you don’t ask, I admit] you will get my opinion. It’s too much work for me to guess about what you want to hear. Sometimes I don’t even recognize that you’re fishing for something specific, it doesn’t register. And yes, I’ve offended people with what I've said.

The same thing with Rascal. He’s still crazy and creative and impulsive as he always has been. But he’s a better Rascal than he was before. I think part of that is his group of friends he regularly meets with, that they challenge and encourage each other to change, to be better, to do better.

I really wanted to go about this more elegantly. I’m going to keep working on this so for now, these are just exploration notes for later refining. It’s difficult when it’s something I am struggling with. I’m only struggling with this because I understand people’s desire that they be accepted just as they are, yet I think that after being accepted as they are, they should want to be better. I think it’s selfish to think that one doesn’t need to change.

It’s like that saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” “Everyone thinks of changing the world but no one thinks of changing oneself.” So why should anyone think that they can remain how they are and make a difference? [I guess I’m saying that if you don’t want to make a difference, you don’t have to change. I think that’s true also. If you don’t care that people think you’re a jerk, if you don’t care about having good relationships with people, if you’re all right with being polarizing and alienating, go on being a jerk.]

I’m not saying you can’t be yourself. I’m saying be a better you. Don’t you expect more from yourself?




So I ask the question: what good is love?

Ask and You Might Find Out

I was talking to someone one day. Here’s what happened after the “business” talk finished:


Guy: So how’s the love life? You got something going on?

Me: Huh? Me?

Guy: Yeah, I saw you sitting with some guy by the church. I never come by ‘cuz looked like something was going on and I didn’t wanna interrupt.

Me: Oh, no, that was Minister. We get together every so often to pray; pray for the church, pray for our friends…. We don’t meet regularly but next time you see us, come join us.

Guy: Oh, okay. Yeah, I’ll come by next time. See, I didn’t know so I wanted to ask and now I know. I know I can join you guys.

Me: Definitely join us. And I truly appreciate someone asking me directly.



I really do appreciate people asking me directly questions which pertain to me. I had Trumpet in high school ask me if two of my friends were lesbians. For some reason, the answer out of my mouth was, “I don’t know. If you really wanna know, why don’t you ask them?” I don’t know where that answer came from, I hadn’t thought about it prior to speaking, but I remember that every so often to keep me from much gossip. The answer was also true; I did not know the sexual preferences of my friends and I didn’t care because it didn’t change how much I loved my friends.

A few years after high school, I found out from a gossip that those friends were lesbians. Once words are out, it’s difficult to say to someone that they shouldn’t gossip, isn’t it? But it can be so important that we do, especially if reports are wrong and/ or lacking information.


On the other side of the equation, if I want to know something, I tend to ask the person directly involved.

I have a friend who likes to mention sex quite often. She doesn’t describe sex or anything but things like how one will say “This is better than sex!” when eating a delicious chocolaty dessert. She’s married now and she’s also talked about various times that she and her husband had broken up when they were dating. I don’t know why, because it didn’t really matter to me and I don’t usually ask such questions, but I asked her if her husband is the only guy she’s had sex with. She answered my question, and then asked why I asked. I just wanted to ask so I told her that if I want to know something, I’d rather ask the person myself and that I didn’t want to simply assume what the answer might be.

Regarding myself, I’ve had friends consider me “too pure” that they wouldn’t talk about their boyfriends in front of me. I’ve had another group of friends ask and be surprised by the answer. Someone else thought that I was so pretty that I couldn’t possibly be “pure.” I thought that was odd so he said that it was because I must have had plenty opportunities to become impure.


Perceptions can be misleading. I try to be mindful that what people say about someone else might not be completely true or true at all. So even when I have an opinion of someone, I keep a door unlocked for firsthand personal experiences that allow me to see the true soul of a person.

In my junior year of high school, I met a freshman who was the younger brother of a friend. Due to being in MB together, I saw him a lot. Stinky got on a lot of people’s nerves, and surprisingly, mine too [he wasn’t stinky but I don’t remember how we came to nickname him that]. After some time, I just couldn’t stand to be in the same room as him. It’s rare that I would go out of my way to avoid someone.

Later in the year, Stinky got into some kind of tangle with some of the varsity baseball players, some of them I was friends with. They came looking for Stinky after school. When I saw him next, I remember the fear in Stinky’s eyes.

I don’t remember much after that on the day. I don’t think the varsity did anything to Stinky, that I know of. When you see someone in need, how can you not feel compassion for them? How can you not reach out to them?

Well, I couldn’t let things remain as they were between Stinky and I. My heart softened towards him. We became friends. He changed. We never talked about what happened. To this day, I can’t really speak about why it was that I couldn’t stand him before because he’s not that person anymore. When I was desperate for a prom date, Stinky was there for me. He gave me a hard time first, but he showed up in a tux, his parents’ luxury car, and we had a great time! He even danced with me.

We’re still good friends today.

I know that doesn't have much to do with asking questions, but it is about finding out stuff.


Tenor’s first impression of me was that I was stuck up. He thought I was uptight and probably boring. Then he started talking to me directly and found out that I wasn’t what he had thought at all. I give him a lot of respect for getting to know me personally. Well, I suppose he had motive to, but still….

I know some of the things that people say about me. Not all of it is true and I’d like to believe that if they took the chance to get to know me, they’d find that they’ve gained a good friend.


We can’t know what goodness is in another person. Too often we magnify the worst we think we see in others; it’s easier to do than to have grace with them. If you want enough to know about a person, spend time with them, talk directly with them.

Appearances are not everything. Sometimes things can change in an instant. Many times do we just misunderstand another person. We wonder, but what do we do about it?

Or even, we think we already know someone, even our closest friend and they can surprise us. I like waiting for the good surprises.

If you want to know something, ask.

I Can’t Because

am old
am introverted
don’t dance
am easily discouraged
am aggressive
am poor
am impassionate
think too much
am young
know too much
don't know enough
believe too much
am ambitious
am emotional
am intuitive
am fat
am not athletic
am unchanging
am a weak liar
am slow
am sick
am uninteresting
don’t swear
don’t do drugs
have never smoked
have never broken curfew
am unstable
am lazy
am confused
am afraid
cannot relate
am friendless
am careless
am passionate
am unwise
am unfriendly
am stubborn
am impatient
am antisocial
am not funny
am not a good singer
am not a good writer
am unimaginative
am not pretty
am not charming
want more
am dying
am too direct
take risks
take initiative
am bold
am passive
am offensive
am not talented
am apathetic
am cruel
am impure
am brokenhearted
am direct
am ice cold
am not a follower
am timid
am intimidating
am unemotional
am short
am neurotic
have crossed wires in my mind
make mistakes
am unforgiving
am stingy
am proud
am undisciplined
am a lousy communicator
am misunderstood
am unheard
am alone
want more
am judged
am suspected
am untrustworthy
cannot meet expectations
am disappointing
am doubtful
am disrespected
am not creative
like cats
care too much
hope too much
desire too much
am careless
am deep
am shallow
am too logical
am non-sensical
don’t want drama
don’t want to lose friends
don’t want to make friends
am unforgiven
am me


can because I serve almighty GOD!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Untitled [10.10.2010]

Our heavenly Father,

How can you be so patient with me? How can you know me perfectly and continue to love me? Everything is yours and you share it with me without my deserving. Every day you have awaken me from sleep. Every day you have provided more than enough for me.

Yet I am a complainer. I am weak. I am full of fear. I am afraid because I know that I am not enough.

You are more than enough. How is it that you meet me where I am? How is it that you should guide me towards who you have meant me to be, in unceasingly patient and generous ways?

I know you want more from me. I am full of fear. Is that what you want, my fear? All of it? My weakness too?

Thank you for what you have provided. Thank you for the refreshment and encouragement you have sent me. Thank you for the vision of hope and faith that you allowed me to see. Thank you for showing me that there are things to hope for, like a church united under your spirit.

And thank you, that though I have experienced such a church and that I have a desire to go there, you have given me purpose in a church that is fractured. It’s struggling to heal. The generations are losing faith and understanding. Thank you that it happens to be the church that I love, the church that has provided for me in the past. Thank you for opportunities to serve you in a church that is in need. I don’t know what I can do, but I have seen what you can do.

Thank you that in my fearfulness, you have allowed me boldness to carry on. Thank you for showing me that I don’t have to be fearful. I don’t have to be weak. I don’t have to feel hopeless. I don’t have to be the person I was. Thank you for allowing me moments of becoming one manifestation of your Son to others who are weak.

Please soften the hearts of others so that they might become more for you. Please open their eyes so that it will be a great struggle for them to turn away from you. Please rescue them from themselves as you have rescued me from myself.

Love,
Jennifer

Monday, October 4, 2010

Arise

Later this week, I will be attending a conference designed to equip and inspire the saints. I think this will be my first time at a big Christian conference thing. I’m rather excited for this one.

Previously, I’ve gone to architecture conferences and lectures, and a small but growing Christian apologetics conference.

Anyways, the church that is hosting the upcoming conference hosted a women’s service last month. It… was… an… experience. A good one, so I thought I would share some things. I think the overall message is good across the genders, but it was just delivered for a female audience.

I’ll share what happened as a gearing up for my going to the conference later.

First of all, the parking lot was pretty full. The front entrance was manned by men in tuxedos. They guided us inside where there were ropes and a red carpet! A few ladies dressed in gown and cocktail dresses were ready to make nametags as women poured inside. In the dining area was a chocolate fountain, with stations of treats for the dipping: pineapples, strawberries, sponge cake, cookies, etc.

Some women were dressed up and some were more casual. LeeLee and I were somewhere in between. Besides the gentlemen at the front door, the only other men were working A/V or in the worship band.

Otherwise, there were about 500 WOMEN. I have never been among something like that before. It was pretty cool to see! The only thing that I was kinda uncomfortable was that I felt a little out of place, like I didn’t know… what to do. All my life I’ve been used to being the or one of the only females among guys, so this service was a huge leap from being in a women’s small group with 4 other members last year!

The worship was awesome! The music was too loud for my taste; I like concerts, but for worship I like hearing the people sing out loud. The music was still wonderful. Ladies were dancing and waving their arms and just full out worshiping. I love seeing that!


The senior pastor’s wife gave the message. She started with a testimony, her testimony, of becoming a Christian and how the vision for this women’s service got its beginning. Awesome.

[Please forgive me if I butcher this message; it spoke to me and I tried taking good notes but I don’t always translate things well and don’t always get to noting everything. Also, when I take notes, I like to write as if the speaker was talking directly to me; you’ll see.]

She based the message on Isaiah 52:1-2 –
Awake, awake, O Zion,
clothe yourself with strength.
Put on your garments of splendor,
O Jerusalem, the holy city.
The uncircumcised and defiled
will not enter you again.
[2] Shake off your dust;
Rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem.
Free yourself from the chains on your neck,
O captive Daughter of Zion.


The overall message was about a generation awaiting their release.

Point 1: God has released us [me] to arise to worship him.

She mentioned an upcoming release by Lisa Bevere that talks about a lioness. Another quote she referenced [I didn’t catch the name, it might have been Bevere but not sure] about “If ever the church needed to be dangerous and fully awake, it is now.”

She talked about worship as an area of release, being released to worship with our total being. To illustrate, she described how we’ll go [or have gone] out to a club and danced… to impress the guys. So, why not worship, don’t hold back, like we’re impressing God? She mentioned wearing deodorant, proper supportive undergarments and attire, anything that would promote full out worship like the group was doing earlier in the night. And just worship in dance and song and spirit for the Lord.

Point 2: Put on strength.

Strength that moves mountains. I can tap into this strength by tapping into the Holy Spirit, our source of strength. The flesh is weak. God is strong.

She posed the question to the audience of how come we don’t trust God? She used the idea of the traffic light. When we have a red light, we stop; a green light and we go. We trust that the system of the lights and people obeying them will keep us safe. Why don’t we trust God like that?

Then I wrote down something about “needing to believe before you read the Bible” and “Proverbs 31.” I admit, I don’t remember what this was regarding.

She said that her notes were kinda goofy because she has a point 2a and a 2b, which I was totally okay with because it worked together well. She said that [2b] we’re gonna put on the garment of salvation, but before we do that, [2a] we’re gonna take something else off. When we dress, in order to put something on, we have to take something off.

So, [2a] I’m gonna take off the things that is on me. I’m gonna take off oppression, self-doubt, selfishness, intimidation, fear. [Luke 9:1] Intimidation holds me back; boldness lunges forward [perhaps as a lioness would]. I’m gonna take off the junk so that I might release the Lion[ess] of Judah in me.

Now, [2b] I’m gonna put on the garment of salvation. [Is 61:10] I’m gonna put on righteousness, self-control, all the fruits of the spirit.

She talked about how what I wear can change my outlook, it can affect my attitude.

There’s also a [2c]: the enemy is not allowed to come back. I am among the redeemed [Is. 43: 18-19].

Point 3: Moving forward and letting go.

Stop mourning over who I was. Get over it. Shake off the dust.

I am the daughter of the King.

She talked about how they have a dog and she was worried about taking the dog off of its leash. Then someone told her that the dog has been trained to wear the leash; it will not run off. So she took off the leash, and her dog didn’t run off, as if it still had the leash on.

I’ve heard this concept in several different ways before. I remember someone talking about the gorilla in a cage at the zoo. The guy was told that the only reason that the gorilla is not attacking people is because it doesn’t know that the bars of the cage can’t hold him. In other words, the gorilla was strong enough to break out of the cage but didn’t because he’s gotten used to thinking that the bars keep him in.

The women’s speaker concluded with this: I have been set apart, redeemed, released.

She described a dream she had. She was riding on an eagle, but she kept looking back, and looking back, and looking back behind her. Then she realized that every time that she turned to look back, she was slowing the eagle down. [Psalms 142:7]

She said that she was afraid and worried about being the speaker that night, but each time she speaks, it’s going to get better.
____________________________

I don’t know what she meant about dancing in the club… kidding. Confession: I have been to clubs, somewhere in my former life, but I didn’t really dance. I’m not much of a dancer. I like that the speaker said what she did about full out worshiping; I’m just not much of a mover. I really enjoy hearing and watching others get into the music and dance, that brings me joy. Maybe someday I’ll get into it more but I won’t guarantee it.

So, I got stuff out of this speech ‘cuz I don’t usually take this many notes! AND remember this much. As to what I’m going to do with what I heard, I’ll leave that for another time. Time will eventually tell.

Imposing One’s Lie

I hate lying for someone else, mainly for someone younger than me, especially for a minor. It’s not that I haven’t done it in the past, but I hate it.

I’m not experienced in lying to my parents about where I’m going, who I’m going with, by what time they should expect me home, or who I’m dating. I’m not experienced in lying to my former boyfriend about the same stuff. I’m not that experienced in lying to friends [like if one wasn’t invited to something, I wouldn’t lie about going to the something they weren’t invited to]. Therefore, I am not very good at this kind of lying for myself so one should not expect me to be better at it for someone else.

I’ve lied to my parents about other things that is usually because I just don’t want to talk at all, but not about those things. I haven’t had much reason to. I’ve thought about it, but then I imagine something going horribly wrong leading to a sort of dark comedy of hopelessly trying to cover up a lie with another lie and so on and so on, like in a family show from the old days only I would be the one learning the tough life lesson or two or five. I get it, not everyone has a good relationship with their parents as I do and aside from cases like in abuse or something, lying to someone else’s parents is not my problem.

I like that my parents ask the when/where/who questions, because it shows that they love me and I want to honor that as best as I can. Also, if something did happen, and they couldn’t find me, they would have some information to work off of. That thought comforts me and is worth more than lying to them.

It’s tough enough that I deal with the guilt of times that I have lied; I do not need to deal with guilt from lying for someone else’s doings. If I unknowingly mention something later that gets someone caught in a lie, I’m not going to backtrack to cover something up for someone else. It’s not my business to cover up for someone else. I am not good at it.

I want to be a good influence on others. I want to be worthy of trust. My parents might ask me questions but they don’t interrogate me and they take my word on a lot of things because we don’t have a history of me lying to them. I could get away with so much more than I do but I don’t because I’d rather maintain that kind of trust and limit the things I would want to lie about. I’ve had other parents ask me questions to check against what their child told them because their relationship has a different kind of history. I’ve had a friend get a break from a grounding because her parents trusted me with her.

I can easily do sarcastic misdirection/ ambiguity responses. I can lie to avoid drama [Did you finish your homework? Is my pie better than hers? Sure]. I can lie if it’s for something like a surprise party, but I’m not very good at this either, so I’ll mostly just not answer any questions at all.

So I’m not saying that I cannot tell a lie; I’m a weak liar. It’s too much work. Rascal wrote a worship song, played it for a few of us and asked our opinions on it. I said it was good. Rascal said “Really?” “Yes, I like it. I would tell you if it sucked.” “Yeah, I know you would!” He knew that because I’ve been honest with him over the years, even when it hurt, and that is mostly because it’s too difficult and too much work for me to come up with a bad lie [and he knows I care about him].

I even try to be careful about the secrets, my secrets that I tell my confidantes because I wouldn’t want them to have to lie for me. It’s not fair to them. I trust them and sometimes it’s very difficult for me to carry something on my own, when I’m deeply struggling, but it’s not fair to them. I’m working towards being wiser about such things. If someone tells me to keep their secret and I’m directly asked about it by someone else, I’ll most likely use silence, “no comment” or distraction rather than lying.

But once more, if it’s a harmful or willfully deceitful rebellion kind of secret [like cutting oneself or lying to a parent, or, might I add, cheating on a partner], I will not guarantee complete secrecy; at the most I might be able to do discretion, as much as it is in my control. I can keep secrets, I just don't like lying.

It’s not that I’ll run right out to expose the lie; I simply won’t guarantee to keep the lie. So far, I’ve been able to keep my word.
____________________________

And, I don’t like someone’s lie imposing on my good time.

Which happened to me recently and is the main reason for this post.

First, I was supposed to spend time with Friend, to catch up with each other and tell Friend some serious stuff that I need Friend to know. Friend showed up with others. Later on, I find out that among the others brought was a Minor who lied about where Minor would be. So near the end of the night, I took some pictures. Minor was in one of them, so immediately I was bombarded with more than one “Don’t post that one on FB!!”

And though I should finish this post… this is all I’m going to say on the matter: I was not happy.

The end.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Scattered Love, Fragile Hope

I had asked Friend if it’s possible for someone’s community to be one of individuals. Friend said yes, they thought so.

I seem to be one who’s easiest with individuals. I have many good friends, they’re just in different places and/ or came from different groups, areas, times of my life. Basically, they mostly don't know each other at all. As with most anything, there’s give and take, positives and negatives, advantages and disadvantages to having such a thin network of good friends.

And it’s really pulling me apart these days. I guess I always thought that I would get better or things would get better, eventually. These days I feel like it’s getting worse. Or I’m more sensitive to this thing. I don’t know if… it’s…. I just see the community that other people have and I don’t have that. I’ve always known this. Only now, I hate it being so. I don’t have a community. Some of it is life, someone moves or has a family. But mostly it seems to be simply… me. My relationships seem to have an expiration date.

I feel powerless. Having at times hoped and then being… s--------… a----… l---… I don’t know what to do. A part of me thought I was keeping myself safe from heartache and then to try stuff and face the heartache… makes me…, you know? Ha, I was reminded today that our church recently went through the Peacemakers Study, but I can’t seem to… I mean.... I’m not at peace and I…. Steamrollers. I am flat.

It sounds weird to say but I know I’ve grown from who I used to be and it’s…. What I’m trying to say is that… I see how spoiled I’ve been in the past, in mostly good ways. … I don’t want to talk about this right now.

My Core group is scattered. One in WA, another in CO, and one in EB. WA and CO keep in touch with me most, but all 3 have their lives to manage. I don’t really tell any of them how I’m truly doing. WA is the most aware and sometimes just knowing her love, because she’s built and maintained for so long, I get some strength from it, some hope. But it’s not like we all network to take care of each other. If I can hide so easily from this group, it doesn’t matter who else I have.

I have individual support in L.A. [2], FL, OR, IL. I’m not gonna talk about here at “home.”


Today, I witnessed a piece of what I want.

While waiting for the guys to come, I talked a little with Ki. He seemed okay. During class, he sat kinda apart from us. After class, he just got up and left. So MT was saying that’s how Ki is, he could tell something was bothering Ki, that it was kinda ----------, Ki just holds stuff in. All that time, MT and the guys were looking to where Ki had gone to, looking out for him, wanting their friend with them. MT wasn’t saying anything out of… I could tell that MT was only speaking out of love for his friend, not gossip.

Then they went to look for Ki. They didn’t find him so they went to service anyway.

They didn’t push Ki into talking or anything, but they sought after him. They knew they couldn’t do much but they were going to do the little they could do. They talked about their concern and acted on their concern.

It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s life. I later saw Ki come back with a friend, so maybe Ki had been concerned that his friend hadn’t been at class, I don’t know.

That’s a picture of a community.

And I don’t have that. It’s good that I had the privilege of my Core when we were all together, so I know what it is that I want. I just don’t know that I can have it again.

Which Way To

I came upon two roads. I had heard that they lead to cities of similar comforts that could keep me well for the rest of this life. I would like a city....


The one road was packed dirt with some pebbles appearing here and there. It was lined with things lush and green. I could hear the beautiful singing of birds. In the air was no hint of foulness. Indeed, I smelled morning flowers and dew.

I touched the ground with my toe and then dragged a line from right to left. The path was sturdy yet soft enough to go barefoot if I liked.

I saw a strange fruit within my reach so I took it and bit into it. To tell the truth, I ate the whole thing, all but the seed. The flesh was sweet; the texture appeasing. I saw another fruit and tasted it also. It wasn’t as sweet as the first but it was just as satisfying. I thought I saw more fruit ahead.

Farther on up the road, the way went up a short hill and then dropped off. Beyond the hill, mountains stood as strong, silent guards. Between two mountains was a sparkling phenomenon. I couldn’t tell if it was a body of water or the lights of the city or …well, or what exactly. Could anything shining that lively be terrible?

I didn't know why I should suspect the light but I thought I might.


The other road seemed very sparse and neat. About a mile down, I saw what looked like food, though of what kind I couldn’t make out. The sound was of a gentle breeze and yes, I could feel its coolness as well. There was a swirling up ahead of oddities. The wind must be stronger there, for when I focused better I could see it dance and glide, over and around the path; I thought it might be moving in a pattern, but I couldn’t be sure.

I touched the surface of the road with my toe, making another sweep with my foot as I had before. It was oddly cold. I thought I might not like this way if the whole way was this cool, or perhaps my steps would be warm enough if I kept a brisk pace. The path was smooth to a high polish; my foot coverings would probably make the going slower. I should go by bare feet. Then I thought what if the smoothness of the path and the strength of the wind frighten me from movement.

And was I thinking too much?

I looked as far ahead as I could, though I couldn’t tell much. It was either rainclouds or more wind at play that I was seeing, I figured. I didn’t see much by way of hills or valleys. I saw a sparkling to the side, not as bright as that from the first view, and this one was of another color, but it was just as intriguing. I felt that it was pulsing, vibrating. Yes, I could feel it, very strange.

The sparkling had a glowing companion a little ways from it. The glowing moved more like a flickering flame maybe. I wondered if it was warming like fire or untamed and burning. My intuition said it's most likely the former.


I stood at the head of the paths, not knowing which way to go. One looked easy but possibly deceiving; the other would be tricky but possibly promising. It seemed that by the time I had walked far enough to be sure of the way, I would be a long way gone; I shouldn’t like to go down one and change my mind.

Or I could always turn back now. Or I could make my own way through the rough. Or I could set up camp here.

I think I’ve made my mind. I straightened my posture, took a breath, lifted my foot, and…

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Goodness, Send Me!

Wow, even volunteering isn’t as easy as it seems.

But I’m not giving up on this direction.

I suppose I’m thinking of Matthew 25:31-46, the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. I have ideas about what [who] the sheep and the goats represent, but whatever is true, it seems clear that the sheep are more desirable or have the more desirable characteristics.

Well, okay, here are some of my thoughts quickly. Sheep are obedient. They hear the Shepherd’s call and follow. They don’t bleat in complaint that it is the Shepherd that takes care of them, leading them to pasture and water, protecting them from danger, or that they are unable to do these things well of their own.

I am not a good sheep.

Anyways, back to the parable and where I’m going with it, volunteer work!

Whatever happens with official/ non-official ministry, I want to be more than talking, I want to be doing. I can’t make others do anything but I can be responsible for myself. And if/ when the opportunity arises, bring others along.

The parable also makes mention of the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned. All of these people have needs, basic needs that I have been provided already and that I could help see that others are provided: food, drink, shelter, clothing, comfort, and companionship [maybe… to come to know God’s grace through his gracious people?].

At first I was thinking about James 1:27- “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Orphans and widows are specific target audiences, sure. And my heart goes out to them, but my heart goes out to everyone at this moment. The target audience my Heart wants me to reach out to [“Heart” as by the SHAPE profile] is currently partly rejecting me, in a way. Or maybe I’m just afraid of helping orphans and widows because… I don’t know that I have anything that would help them. I have ideas for helping them, lots of ideas; I don’t know that I’m the one to implement those ideas, at least, not by myself.

Anyways, I do want to build more with people. I mean that I want to put more interaction with the people into how I serve.

It’s something that I loved about working with HFH. We worked with the families who would be getting the houses we were helping them build. I heard some of their stories. I saw the joy in their faces. I saw the appreciation they had for us being there but it kinda seemed backward; I appreciated them being there and working towards something that is difficult for them, reaching for more. They fed my hope.

I want to do more of that.

I suppose I am taking a page out of a good friend’s guide about “preaching and healing.” It’s no longer satisfactory that I merely hand out a piece of bread, for instance. Anyone can hand out a piece of bread. The difference is that I am to be an ambassador of Christ [II Cor. 5:20], and as such, I need to interact with the receiver of the bread, talk to them, share God’s love for them by word and by deed, however momentary or longer. What if Jesus had fed the five thousand but kept to himself who he was? What good would that have been to his disciples or the general public?

So, after thinking about the widows and orphans and thinking that other people might be better suited for the typical routes of… um… Big Brothers, Big Sisters and stuff, I then thought about the passage about the sheep and goats and the basic needs mentioned earlier in this post.

What can I do with that? So came the idea of trying [again] for HFH [shelter, companionship] here at home. Which, by the way, I’ve gotten my first call to do something with them. It’s not what I really want to do, building, but it’s something. I’m not saying anything more on this until I get the confirmation that I’m scheduled. But I’m excited!

When HFH seemed stalled, I decided that food would be the next thing to check out. I am filling out the volunteer form for the Food Bank. I’m a little… concerned because they have a lot of things to fill out on their form. They even ask about conditions which would limit activity. …

I’m kinda scared.

At least I’m looking for what I can do for God’s glory. This is my personal plan for the time being. *sigh.

You can do this, Jennifer, you can do this. You can help someone else. You’re a… charming person…? People will like you…? Ugh, just GO. You can do this.

Anyone wanna volunteer with me…?

The Coming Attractions

Just as I am trying to put relationship talk out of my mind, Friend brings up the topic [as it related to a situation for Friend which I shall keep private]. Something in the conversation led me to think of Mo, I don’t remember what it was exactly.
____________________________

I was out one night with a coworker friend, Teeth. Teeth introduced me to all of his friends.

The introduction to Mo was brief. It seemed like he was distracted with looking for someone else. I think he barely looked at me, which wasn’t the goal of the night, for me to meet someone. I didn’t think of him after that until….

About a week later, that intro moment would come back to me. Cat and I, by chance, met up with Teeth and Mo at AM. What a difference. Mo definitely took notice of me this time; he stayed close to me and responded to things I said. I think he was even… nervous or something. When we parted, to be honest, I didn’t think much of him. I thought he was goofy.

However, Mo’s impression on me improved [slowly] with each meeting until one night, he boldly asked for my number. I was surprised and very impressed! It was then that I decided that I would give him a chance if he asked me out. I was still just thinking we’d end up as friends and nothing more though, but the fact that he asked me for my number rather than the easy route of asking Teeth- major points! How he did it was also quite interesting, to me anyway.

What really turned me towards Mo kind of… embarrasses me to talk about it. You’ll see why…

Mo took me to the beach. This was maybe our third or fourth date. I was still undecided about him. It was a beautiful day, we were having a good time, played with his dog. We set up our towel near shade and sat down for a little.

Then Mo stood up, took off his shirt and started for the water. He paused to look back at me. “Are you coming?” and then he was off to the water again.

I sat there for a second, just… I don’t know. This is the embarrassing part because of how it sounds, but when Mo took off his shirt and I saw his muscles, his form, him, my eyes opened [doesn’t that sound like something… nevermind]. I guess I just didn’t… expect him to… look like he could protect me in a fight. That’s when I became attracted to Mo.

Seriously, I was stunned for a moment. Like in a movie, I had to shake myself out of it and go join him for a swim.
____________________________

I told you. It sounds horrible, doesn’t it? You can think I’m shallow or whatever you want, I don’t care. I can’t even…. I mean, I am attracted to/by other things as well…. Nevermind.

Or maybe not nevermind. Maybe I’ll write about more attraction moments I’ve experienced, I don’t know.

Anyways, who knows how or why we become attracted to certain people? I’m a rather picky person in certain respects and I don’t like to string a guy along. And apparently guys in high school kinda sensed or knew this because I turned down this guy and that guy and then some others became intimidated by me. Until he recently got married, I had a friend continually ask me what I would have said if he had had the guts to ask me out back then. Some friends called me “coldhearted” because I didn’t give someone a chance. Hmmm… that’ll be a story for another time.

The truth is, if Mo had asked me out during that run-in at AM, I most likely would have turned him down. Looking back, he didn’t have the confidence then and he had acted as if I was too good for him, with which I tend to be uncomfortable. So, when he did ask me out and had confidence, that started to level things out between us, and then the shirtless part made us even, in a way. Ugh, I don’t know.

I’m glad that things worked out between Mo and I, for the most part. I mean, we did break up, but we had such good moments together so I can’t complain.

And for you, maybe give someone a chance. I don’t mean just anyone though, only that… if someone has enough going for you that there could be something there and you’re not sure, the situation might just need a little more time to develop. Be cautious, don’t wait around forever and end up feeling stuck, but consider being a little slower to say “no” to the beginning of a possible opportunity.

At least, this is what I learned from the experience with Mo.

Mahalo for reading.

However Brief an Encounter

I’m beginning to pay close attention to “for some reason” stories.

For some reason, I decided to take the bus one day.

A friend had made a request for people who could help him move some stuff. He wanted to start early with a 9:00 am meet time.

I decided that I would plan to show up. The night before, I started planning. I knew Mom would be taking the car that day and to the same meet place. She said that 9 am was too early a target time for her to be there. So I decided that I would take the bus. I was actually looking forward to it.

On the morning of the move, I woke up early, got ready, and headed out to the bus. Since I don’t have a bus pass this season, I walked 20 minutes to the bus stop on the main road [instead of the one on my street which would have added a transfer].

As I approached the bus stop, there was a young woman standing and smoking a cigarette. She was in a white Vampire Knight shirt and jeans. Her hair was blonde, long and straight, with bands of blue hair at the bottom of the back and bangs. Her lips were blue. Her nails were blue.

She gave me a little smile. “I like your shirt,” she said.

I was wearing a pink To Write Love on Her Arms shirt. “Thank you,” I replied.

She went on to say that the singer of her favorite band supported the TWLOHA cause. We talked just a little more, mostly about the org. I learned more about her favorite band and the singer.

That was about it. The bus came in about 2 minutes.


I’m not very good at coming up with small talk stuff but I don’t really know how to draw strangers into real conversation. I want to be better at it though.

The potential for this kind of encounter is one of the reasons why I like riding the bus every so often. There’s a chance that I’ll meet someone and we’ll talk. It’s a chance to make connections with people outside of my comfort zone [well, I’m usually not very comfortable in what should be my comfort zone anyway]. I wanna meet people. I wanna know their story. And should someone have a need that they share, I wanna see how I could possibly help. I still think about Brother George [He Woke Me Up This Morning]. I hope he’s doing well.

I don’t know. But I think stuff like this is why I had started to wear the pink shirt more often, waiting around for someone to say something about it. Then the blue blonde girl says something and I… I don’t know. I’m sitting here thinking, “Why didn’t I at least ask her name?” Maybe something more could have happened. Maybe I’ll see her again. I could use another friend.

Little steps, Jennifer. Next time, you’ll do better, you’re getting there.

God, I hope so.


[I'm getting a couple songs from the band she mentioned. They sound good.]