Thursday, April 26, 2007


this is my goal in life.

I took this picture at my dad's suggestion, of the beautifully stubborn flower persisting to live out of the side of a thick STONE fortress wall in spain. Its gentle presense is not to be ignored becuase it is surrounded by the bland color of stone; its bright color cannot be hidden nor does it want to. It doesnt call attention to itself but valiantly keeps swaying with the breezes. Not surrendering to its vertical position, it lifts up its head to the sun and flourishes under the light of it.

I was reminded of this picture, buried in my bottomless stash of photos on my computer, when I was reading the book "Beautiful in God's Eyes" by Elizabeth George. Its a book i would definately recommend to all women at is gleans from the example of the Proverbs 31 woman; how we are to be rare, precious and beautiful in God's eyes, a spring in the desert. I wont go into detail of all the insightful things i've learned (if you want to know, read the book yourself!)

I came across (yet another!) example of a Godly woman as i was reading through 2 Kings today. This woman doesnt have a name but is described by her status and her generous proverbs-31-woman-like-heart.

2 Kings 4:8 : " now there came a day when elisha passed over to Shunem, where there was a PROMINENT woman and she persuaded him to eat food. and so it was, as often as he passed by, he turned to eat food.
9) she said to her husband, "behold now, i perceive that this is a holy man of God passing by us continually.
10) please, let us make a little walled upper chamber and let us set a bed for him there and a table and a chair and a lampstand; and it shall be, when he comes to us, that he can turn in there"

There are quite a few things to be learned from these 3 short verses. I put the word 'prominent' in all caps because this woman like the proverbs 31 is apparently weathly, which could be just from the riches of her husband, but i'd like to also think, that based on her character, and hard work, that she contributed her family prospering and God blessed her materially. Not to say that being poor is a result of sin, but what God gives us He comands us to do the best we can with it and mulitiply it for His glory. So this woman has been blessed by God and she in turn gives blessing to others with a generous heart, like she does for the homeless prophet elisha, whom she 'percieves is a holy man of God'. She is an observant woman! and does the right thing in coming to her husband with a plan to give Elisha a room, and a nice homey place to stay even with a lampstand. No a lampstand may sound like normal courtesy, but we learn how generous that is, since in the previous chapter and even in the beginning of this same chapter that the whole land is going through a famine! and what precious little oil there is in the land is being used to make bread to feed hungry mouths!

Now this isnt the whole of her story, and its almost a comfort to know that later on in the chapter and several years down the road she too, like the rest of us struggles with her faith.

But back to my inspiration from this picture..... Right now im in a 'feild of beautiful flowers' where im surrounded by people eager to learn and grow in Christ, and im being constantly fed and watered spiritually. But as i start in august at the University of Indianapolis, I pray that i God will grant me the strenght to be like the bright flower in the picture. That i will not only withstand the change of surroundings and influences, but also that i will grow and flourish and be an example of a woman beautiful in God's eyes!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Such is the Sovereignty of God

One night at dinner Pastor Stanley noted that for him one of the saddest parts in the bible is when Jonathan (King Saul's son) dies. I have been reading through the Old Testament for one of my seminary classes and i was reading 1 Samuel today and the story of the incredible friendship between David and Jonathon brought tears to my eyes. what an incredible example of what a Godly friendship should be!!

1 Samuel 20: 17 says, in my own words: ..and he cared for David as he did for himself. and because of this he hides the truth about his friends whereabouts to his murderous father. ....and we're talking REALLy murderous here: in chapter 22 King Saul kills/has his men kill 85 priests! who were completely innocent but helped out David.

and then in chapter 23:17 Jonathan goes on to say the following: (keep in mind HE is the son of the king, HE should rightfully be next in line for the throne)...: Dont be afraid, that my father with catch you. YOU WILL BE KING OF ISREAL. and I will be SECOND. and my father knows it.

wow! talk about defining love! Jonathan recognized that David was God's annointed and not only was that okay with him, but he was happy and supportive of his friend! how often have I gotten jealous when one of my close friends excells where i fail, or gets recognized and i dont. Jonathan is such an example of self-lessness! He even put his own life in danger of his father's wrath on several occasions to protect his friend. If it came down to it would i really die in the place of a friend? i hope i would... and then there's this buisness about loving David as he loved himself. Too often we use that kind of phrase freely, but the bible doesnt exaggerate. He really loved and cared about his friend as he would for his own body.

8 short chapters later.... 31:2 says that the Philistines went following Saul to kill him and they killed his sons Jonathan, and the others... and they later kill Saul in verse 4. .......and just like that Davids best friend dies, with his worthless father (who's life story is an equal tragedy!) and his brothers, of whom we hear nothing good about. Such is the soverignty of God. "the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh, blessed be the name of the Lord" -Job. i hope David was thinking along those lines when he heard the tragic news.....

another wall-of-fame-er from 1 Samuel that i took time to admire today was Abigail. How i wish the Bible included more details on this woman's life! I read her two word description in 25: 3 "Beautiful and Intelligent" and im just dying to know more!! I presume it was through an arranged marriage that she ended up with such a horrible husband Nabal who in contrast is described as "lazy and of bad conduct". She must have been a woman of incredible faith to live with that; so when she hears how he insulted David, and how David is gonna come and kill him (I personally would be thinking: HORRAY!) what does she do? she gathers together food enough to feed them all and goes out and bows herself down all the way on the ground before him and says 25:24: "my lord, its MY FAULT." and asks him to forgive the sins of this slothful, wicked husband of hers. !! Wowie!! What character! what forgiveness, what love, what a God we have!! and God allows that her husband die of a heart attack soon following and she gets proposed to from servant (im not crazy about this guy's proposing tactics..... but maybe he got better with more practice..?.... haha) and thats really the last we hear about her character. I want to know more! did she continue to be a blessing to her husband and king? how did she deal with all those other wives? did she love David? how did she feel about and deal with Bathsheba? ....i guess that will have to wait for heaven...

It is the same God who allowed Jonathan to die, that allowed Nabal to die and the same God who will allow me to die if He doesnt come and take me home first. Such is the sovereignty of God.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I could go on and on about all the things that God has been teaching me in my time here in Peru. many valuable lessons about coming to christ about EVERYTHING in prayer, and the importance in spending each and every moment i can thinking about him, praising him and pondering life in the light of His presence. but anyways one lesson that i have been learning recently is no doubt a long overdue one on my pride....

Normally Evelyn Stilwell, mother of Pastor David with who's family i am living, plays the piano at church. And with the recent death of her father, as well as their upcoming furlough, she and her husband returned to the states on Friday. And i was asked to play the piano for church for the remainder of my stay.....unless someone else soon joins the church who can play the piano!! I took piano lessons for quite a few years growing up, and it has never really been my favorite, as i am always so lazy in sight-reading the music. Plus, it has always been my sister Keilah's forte to excel in all things musical, which i do not begrudge her in the slightest! I have always prefered listening to her play the flute diligently and I still prefer to dance to music then to play it. Something about playing the piano is absolutely terrifying to me. I can sing, or dance in front of people and feel only the thrill of performance, but from my first piano recital.... sitting on the pew nervously arranging my dress clutching my sweaty fingers, dying of axiety for my turn to come next when i would somehow find myself in front of rows of gleaming smiles of anxious parents. about then my heart would collapse inside of me, i would sit on the polished black stool, and speed my way recklessly through my piece, missing notes left and right and not stopping to breathe until long after my parents had hugged me anyways, even though i'd done a misreable job as i did the previous year, and would no doubt do the next.
All that to say, piano isnt my strong point..... the same with volleyball! All the churches in Trujillo are having volleyball tournaments for different age groups on all the saturdays in April. and the 'jovenes' play this saturday. it isnt that i dont know how to play volley ball or that i especially despise it. (albiet standing around only to dash and hit a ball isnt my ideal idea of a fun sport....). its just that i lack the hand-eye coordination, and the focus to play this game. im standing there wishing that the ball will hopefully land no where remotely near me in the meanwhile my mind is wishing for a good old fashioned thunderstorm, thinking about the book im currently reading, praying fervently that i wont embarrass myself too much in playing the piano at church tonight etc.. but nevertheless my pride is irked when i realize that im not playing to my 'potential' and others realize it too.....
with both of these, i am self-proclaimedly lacking! and i have every reason to be completely humble about them!! and yet i allow my pride to make me nervous! i was pondering this all while playing the piano for church this morning.... haha yeh, and i wonder why i muddle my way through many of the songs..... but anyways I realized/decided that I need to be doing this for the purpose of glorifying God. this is so that He is pleased with my efforts, not other people. and while i want so badly to play well and not disappoint the Stilwells, and church members, i wont begin to lose the nervous self-absorbed feeling until i give my efforts up to God. and surely enough i was much more relaxed this evening. granted i was still far from perfect! i have been practicing alot this week and will continue to do so for the remainder of my stay! but I hope that im pleasing God in my efforts, and everyone else can just think whatever they want.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

i heart peru!

so im randomly in the writting moode. funny how it hits you, like a caffiene charge or a sugar craving....the need to blog! so im loving peru, but i miss somethings. so for your amusement i will record what things i miss the most about home and what things im gonna miss when i leave hear!

things i miss......
1. pop tarts
2. skim milk
3. american cereals!
4. driving
5. randomly going for walks
6. public restrooms having mirrors, tp and being clean!!
7. being able to drink tap water
8. all my friends and family....but i miss poptarts more. jk!!!

things im gonna miss!!
1. the stilwell family! all of them! Kandie and Pastor David are so kind and generous, and such a Godly example of a christian family, and they care so much about the peruvian people. and i love all the stilwell kids! so funny, so kind and im gonna miss them a ton!
2. Pastor Stanley. he's the guy who's house we live in, but he occupies the third floor. Hes one of those spiritual giants that i look up to so much. his favorite thing to talk about is God, and he finds God in everything, and is always encouraging me!
3. all the peruvian and american friends i've made here!!
4. pollo a la brasa
5. ceviche
6. aji!!!! (peruvian pepper sause that they put on everything...mmm)
7. speaking in spanish