Updates!

I don’t even know where to begin. It seems like I haven’t been here in ages 😦 Just hope to get more time before the year ends! It’s all for good cause though. It’s been busy and exciting and nerve-wrecking to say the least… So this will be short but I hope not the last you’ll hear from me!

First and most important: Officially started working as the leader of the children’s discipleship ministry at my church. I am so excited to see all the wonderful things our team will do! So you can see why I have been going crazy with the planning and barely have time even for the mindless scrolling I used to do on social media (Facebook!). I think this is where God has been teaching me self-control and discipline. Not only here but in lots of other areas of my life.

Second: Leaving to Mexico on Monday! It’s a short trip but I haven’t been back in so many years and I finally get to see my grandmother! I can’t even explain the mix of emotions. Only God knows and only he could have opened those doors and I am beyond grateful.

Anyway, there are a lot of other things going on this summer and ecstatic is not even the word! Will try to update as much as possible for whoever wishes to know or follows me…

 

Fight For Me Again

Since I briefly touched on the theme of “returning home” on the last post, I just wanted to follow-up with this one. We can all relate to the story of The Prodigal Son (or The Lost Son) in Luke Chapter 15. In short, it is a story that Jesus used to illustrate the return of a person who has gone astray. This son is young and he wants to experience life away from his father and be free to spend his inheritance. So he makes his request and leaves to a distant land to splurge it all carelessly. Once he is found alone and poor, he starts thinking of his father and how even being a servant at his dad’s house would be better than eating with pigs as is his present state. So he decides to come home but in the middle of it, he starts rehearsing a speech he will deliver when he sees his father. It goes like this:

“Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

The part that always gets me is that the father sees him a long way off (as if he’d been expecting and hoping TODAY his son would come home). So he runs to embrace his lost son. As the son starts to utter the lines that he had prepared, the father doesn’t even let him finish! He says:

‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

Just like that…

There’s so much happening here that it would take days to break down. We can stop to imagine that if this is the love within a good earthly father, how much greater is the love of The Heavenly Father? Not only does He embrace us back, but there is a party in heaven! This happens when a lost person returns home (Luke 15:7), whether it is a person who never knew Christ or a person who walked away.  That is just amazing in itself!

However, I want to focus on the journey. What goes on in the human mind before the returning actually happens? This is very important because God begins working in us even before we choose to follow… to return home. I can definitely see how this passage would be more appealing to a person who backslid or walked away from God. Having tasted of God’s riches we begin to think that there is something better out there, that perhaps our aspirations and dreams conflict with our faith and so we believe the lies that in order to pursue those things, God cannot be in the picture. Perhaps we compromised so much with the world and feel so distant from God that we resigned to the idea that this is the way life is going to be (lies!). And though we miss God, we just have to live like this (lies again!).

But, in God’s mercy, He breaks down through all those walls and He comes to us. The only reason I know this is true is because I have been there. I had resolved in my mind that all I could be and would be in my own strength I would not need God for. I thought I could overcome on my own. It only took a short time to realize how wrong I was. When I found myself as the Lost Son, far away from my Father’s House, broken and alone, I knew I had no other option but to come back. It took some time but I am more than grateful that God did not leave me in that state. I am thankful that He used the things He used to grab my attention back. It was events, people, His very Word, and even music.

I remember listening to music to appease my mind. Two songs that had an impact were “One Man Army” and “I Will Wait.” These are the first and last songs in the album Phoenix, by The Classic Crime. The only reason I mention these in particular is because they are associated to the coming home theme. These are the lyrics (you can hear both songs in the video below):

I’ve been unalive
Been sleeping for days in this comatose state
I’ve been unalive
Prone to hide from the messes that I’ve made
I’ve been unalive

I used to let you fight the battles before me
But now I stand alone to prove you right
Just a one man army
I used to let you fight the giants before me
But now I stand alone by a fire where I burn my plans to warm me
I’ve been unalive…


 

I will wait
I used to let you fight
(Fight for me again)
But now I stand alone
(Will you fight for me again?)
I will wait
Will you fight for me again?
Will you fight for me?
(again)
Will you fight for me?
(again)
I will wait for you
I will wait

You can see how it is about someone thinking they can win at life without God and then later realizing that it’s just impossible. At first I thought, “this is literally how I feel,” followed by a sort of longing for my Father’s House and helplessness. The second song was then hopeful, because although it still carries a heavy tone of helplessness it is also liberating. It begins in the background (fight for me again) as if afraid to even ask. But, then it shouts out: “Will you fight for me again?!”

I can say it was the beginning of a coming back. All this just to say that we have to be aware that God uses so many different ways to get our attention and we cannot afford to ignore the signs. We just have to remember that although He continues to call, if we let ourselves not to listen to His voice, eventually we will not hear Him at all. That is so scary to me now. Looking back, I don’t even want to imagine how life would be without God. It’s like an antenna that has been broken; the signals are still being sent, but the antenna just can’t receive them. I know this has been a bit long, but if you hear His voice today, do not harden your heart (Hebrews 3:15). Come home… He WILL fight for you again. Stop doing life on your own…


 

 

Every Life is Beautiful

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Photo Credits: Tracey McCauley.  Castle of the Templars, Ponferrada, Castilla and Leon

We have heard it countless of times: Every life matters…

For the record, this is not a post about color or race, just the simple fact that every human being is precious. This is about the importance of seeing every person as God sees them. In the broken world that we live in it is very easy to dismiss people just because they have denied, ignored or walked away from Christ. The truth is that even though a life may be broken and far away from God, it does not mean that they stop to matter or that there is no worth within them.

I heard a long time ago that even though castles may be just ruins, the majesty they once possessed is still seen in the wreck they have become with time. There is history and beauty within them. Yes, to many that is just rubble. There is not one room that can be occupied and sustain a good living because there is no room within it capable of accommodating as a home would. When looked at it this way, it is sad of course. It is sad to see something which had been inhabited by many people, thriving with life, it’s halls traversed by through generations now become lost in history. Just part of someone’s memory. However, the beauty and essence remains as long as it is still standing.

When we encounter a life in a state of ruin, instead of looking in disgust, we can be able to empathize and see that there is hope. For castles maybe there isn’t any. They remain standing for a thousand years more and become dust. But humans, we live a lifetime and then when our physical bodies die our souls still live on. That is the essence of beauty that we all possess. We were made in God’s image and that is why human life is precious.

The signature of our maker is engraved in every part of our physical beings as well. Our DNA, the blood that flows through our veins, our finger prints, the iris of our eyes, are just a few examples that cannot be recreated no matter how hard science ever tries to. Even all of the wonderful things that we can ever accomplish are only possible because of the magnificent brains that God has given us. We can get caught up in debates about the origin of the universe, the existence of God, which race is superior and whether or not abortion is a woman’s rights, but at the end of the day, when it is time to take our last breath, I really wonder if any of our opinions will matter. At the end of our days I hope that we realize that this life was indeed borrowed and that we give the maker of our souls, hearts and minds our all.

My heart’s prayer lately has been that we may we surrender it all now. Not wait until our dying hour to come to Jesus. If we have walked astray may we return. If we see a life that is lost may we pray for them sincerely and stop trying to debate them. May we have compassion for the lost and those that willingly chose to walk away. Why? Because the storms of life will continue to come regardless of our standing with Christ. Only those who find refuge in Christ will overcome. And when those troubles come to those that have walked away or perhaps never came, may they know there is a home waiting for them. That there is a place where they are always welcome with arms wide open as they come to repentance. EVERY life is beautiful.

Psalm 139:13-16 NKJV

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

I’ll leave you with this. If you are the person who feels like the broken, torn and abandoned castle, you are not alone. Most importantly, you are not a mistake. There is purpose and a mighty zeal for living inside of you. Don’t give up hope even when everything seems to have gone downhill. Know that the One who made you is strong enough to sustain you. Your decisions may have failed you, but that does not mean YOU are a failure. Get up, keep on fighting. Look to Jesus and follow Jesus. His love is so awesome and capable of carrying you through the hardest times. Be encouraged and know that He is enough for you. If you need prayer feel free to contact me. I will be more than honored to pray for you.

 

…Listen to Your Father’s Heart today…

 

Where We Meet

I have to say it feels odd. Odd not being in Abba’s house on a Sunday morning. Doesn’t feel right. Granted we’ve been snowed-in hard. Harder than I’ve ever seen in my 20 years in New York City. Being confined in your little house for the past (almost) 30 hours does give you time to think and meditate on a few things though. I am generally the specimen who lives in their brain the majority of the time so that is not very new (ha!). But, I guess lately I have been more in the run-around of things and that can put my mind on pause for a bit. Not the past few hours! Mind has been pretty much on. Thinking about life, but mostly, God. Been asking what His heart desires are. He is always faithful in showing me what’s been safely tucked away in my heart. Nothing escapes Him, this God of ours. While I do miss my time with my church family, I am enjoying that I get to spend a day with Jesus all to myself. No day is wasted when it is God-appointed. Journaling and listening to His heart for His people and myself is not something you trade for the fun of other things. It is humbling and at the same time empowering–like a breath of fresh air.

Today I have been meditating on the way God communicates certain truths to us as individuals. I’m pretty sure He speaks to people differently according to temperament, personality, gender and so on. He brought me back to a few years ago when I asked Him for a garden. I just wanted a beautiful garden of wild flowers. He showed me through different ways that He was indeed creating one just for me. He even took me to an actual little garden by my old job, where I could spend time during lunch break and it was a nice reminder of this garden I asked Him for. Please don’t get me wrong. It is not because I am more special than anybody. He is just that RICH! You can just ask! He only gave it because I asked and He knows I love flowers. I remember that when I first asked it was the time of beginning. When He saved me and gently brought me back up from a life of emptiness, guilt and pain. So I wrote this reminder in the first page of my journal: “The Old has passed away: the New has come,” accompanied by Isaiah 43, verses 18 and 19:

“But forget all that
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

(All that, being the things that hurt, the sin, the past, the wasted time—the old).

So returning to the theme of a garden. He did give me that garden, but in the middle of the journey as it can happen to anyone, we can forget the purpose of things. We forget why God showed us that in the first place. Through this I have also learned that God will not answer every single question in “one sitting” as we say. Sometimes it’s that progressive revelation. It keeps your relationship with God fresh and flowing. He always has something to make you fall in awe in love over and over again. A relationship with God is never boring!

And so, gathering all my thoughts from today, God spoke softly as to the whole purpose of this garden. It doesn’t mean that He created it for me and tends to it Himself and I just go there and enjoy the beauty of it and do nothing else. It means I AM THE KEEPER of this garden. I have to be the one to tend to the flowers. To water them daily and make sure the weeds are taken out and prevent them from drowning the life of the precious flowers—in short, my job is to keep the flowers alive. God in turn just comes to spend time with me there and it is there that we meet and enjoy each others’ presence. So that garden is basically the heart, mind and soul. The part of our being most precious and where God’s Spirit has communion with our spirit.

I am reminded never to keep tending and nurturing, but to spend time here more often. That He longs for that. So tending to this garden I go! But, first I have to ask to whoever reads this: what’s your relationship with God like? Have you asked Him to reveal to you what exactly is His heart for you? How does He choose to relate His heart to you? Where do you and God meet? I am sure there are many other ways. This is not exclusive to me or that there is only one way God relates to people all the time. He is just that awesome!! Be blessed and go the that place more often; you won’t be the same after. Promise.

Shortly after I asked God for a garden, I came across this song and I come back to it often, especially today.

May it be refreshing and renews your hope and trust in His mighty love for you.

Love,

Yen

To the Core of Your Being

Everyone has a calling…

Most people want to make it loud and fancy and glamorous. But most of the time it is not. It is not in the spotlight or even in leadership. It’s in the quiet and the serving. I have learned that anything I’m allowed to do is really not because of anything I have ever done to deserve it. I used to feel unworthy and as if God would change His mind about me. I used to say to Him that if He found someone “better” He should totally go for it. That’s until I really learned what the calling really implies. That it’s not for me or for my benefit, but for God’s glory and the benefit of His people. I learned that serving and choosing to say ‘yes’ to His calling IS in fact my gift back to God for all His love and mercy. For all His goodness and grace.

So this means I will only do my best so that He is always glorified. That He doesn’t have to find anybody else. I want to give Him my all. Doesn’t matter what the calling is because I know that in the core of my being, I will not find fulfillment in doing anything else. He has equipped each and every one of us with different characteristics and personalities to be able to handle the tasks ahead. Just like a potter makes different pots for different uses, God made us with different purposes. How best to glorify Him than by doing that for which He has molded us and purposed us to do?

Have you said ‘yes?’ Saying ‘yes’ to Jesus for salvation is the start. But, saying ‘yes’ to His calling is an entirely different matter. A person can be saved and remain seated at a pew for decades and not know the purpose for which he/she was created. To worship Him, yes. But there are different ways of worship. Find His purpose for you, pray. Seek and you WILL find.

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” –Matthew 7:7