“He loves us no matter what…”

“Authentic communication is a sign that our relationship with [God] is genuine and close. God wants us to be real with him, not hide our feelings or dress them up in sparkly talk. When we show God our wounds, we show him we feel our wounds are safe in his presence. They become the bridge to an even closer relationship. When we quit hiding them, we discover he loves us not in spite of our messy feelings but because of them. He loves us no matter what, and our relationship is strengthened by honest communication.” – Kristen Strong, Girl Meets Change

 

Currently, situations in my life are reminding me again — roughly and bluntly — of what my weaknesses are. These difficult things have been thrown over my shoulders like a heavy quilt, dragging along the floor and pulling me back and off-center.

To my shame, I’m realizing that with these old and new challenges, I’ve fallen back into my default coping habits: 1) trying to rely on myself to figure it out and endure it, or 2) looking toward friends or family for validation, empathy, and understanding. As well-intentioned as both strategies are, there’s an inherent flaw to both of them. Neither is fully satisfying or complete; neither fills my soul or helps me feel understood; neither can give peace to my restlessness. And oh, do I go through cycles of restlessness, aimed at my inabilities and failings.

Maybe you’re like me and find yourself struggling internally. Maybe you’re an over-thinker like I am. Maybe you’re finding your life circumstances a little overwhelming right now. Maybe you’re like me and try not to burden others with your problems. Maybe when you do finally open up to friends and family, you hope they’ll say something inspiring to help the weight feel lighter. I know I do. Yet as much as I want them to understand — inevitably, they won’t. And it’s not their fault; those expectations do not belong to them.

I implore you — instead, look to the One who perfectly understands those wounds, understands those longings, and understands that fluctuating emptiness. Instead of wrestling to hide your struggles and keep them out of sight, lay them bare to the One who sees them for all that they are and all that we ourselves cannot perceive. Cry out to the only One worthy of being called out to — and stop trying to use your family and friends a substitutes.

This week, I’m trying not to hide. This week, I’m seeking my Heavenly Father.

I’m grateful He’s using this restlessness to pull me closer to Him. I know I don’t deserve any kind of close relationship with Him, and I know I would not come to Him on my own if He wasn’t prompting me. It’s all His doing, and I’ll praise Him for His undeserved love for me.

Authentic communication, established and maintained by God. What a true blessing this is!

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Long-distance on Mother’s Day

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” –Washington Irving


Words can’t fully express how much I miss this beautiful woman.

God has blessed me with and an incredible mother and one of my dearest friends. Lord knows I wouldn’t be able to live abroad in Japan and doing all that I am without her continual love and support. Continue reading

“Go outside. Don’t tell anyone…”

“Go outside. Don’t tell anyone and don’t bring your phone. Start walking and keep walking until you no longer know the road like the palm of your hand, because we walk the same roads day in and day out, to the bus and back home and we cease to see. We walk in our sleep and teach our muscles to work without thinking and I dare you to walk where you have not yet walked and I dare you to notice. Don’t try to get anything out of it, because you won’t. Don’t try to make use of it, because you can’t. And that’s the point. Just walk, see, sit down if you like. And be. Just be, whatever you are with whatever you have, and realise that that is enough to be happy. There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window. You’d be a fool to miss it.” ― Charlotte Eriksson

We are here. We exist. Isn’t that enough?

Existence is not easy. Our lives have joy, pain, laughter, crying, moments of listlessness and glimpses of apathy.

Yet, I’m not suffering in affliction. I don’t have   Continue reading

The Reading List – 2015

“A book may be compared to your neighbor: fi it be good, it cannot last too long; if bad, you cannot get rid of it too early.” –Rupert Brooke

I had so much fun putting together “The Reading List – 2014” last year that I’ve been compiling my list for 2015 ever since then. Who knew 2015 would fly by so fast!

Fear not! Even with 2016 knocking at the door, I have a fantastic group of books I want to share with you that have really inspired me this year. Continue reading

Toyohashi, Here I Am! Thanksgiving, Here We Are!

“There are moments in life that are bigger than we know it at the time. When you look back, you say, that was one of those life-changing, fork-in-the-road moments and I didn’t even see it coming.”Jenny Han

Happy Thanksgiving, America! To my family, to old and new friends, and to the many people I’ve been privileged to meet and get to know around this world… thank you.
Continue reading

Oh, Chester, Have You Heard About HOBY?

“Ohhh, Chester, have you heard about HOBY? Just got back from HOBY. I hear they know how to wear their tags. Hip-hip, Hooray! for HOBY!”

It might be striking to you at first when you see a bunch of high school students tromping around a university campus in different brightly colored t-shirts.

The singing and chanting might remind you of a cheerleading camp, though you’ll wonder why on earth teenagers would sing about burritos, baby sharks, or pterodactyls.

If you observe long enough, you might even pause to wonder what “Boom-chicka-boom” could actually mean, why every single person knows how to spell “outstanding”, or what they could possibly be summoning when all 100+ students holler “Waaay-a-loo-waaay-a-loo-waaay-a-loo-way-yah!!”  Continue reading