Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Photos

I spent a good 30 minutes just clicking through pictures on this website. Thank you, StumbleUpon...
I want to go there.

Lessons in Love

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries. Avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.
But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken, it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
To love is to be vulnerable.”
—C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves

My mom wrote this in my awesome journal recently (she made it before I left and had my friends and family write in it--something from someone for every day--Sept. 8th through April 29th!). When I came across it on the day she wrote it, I fully understood what C.S. Lewis meant and why my mom wrote it in my journal. This quote was so fitting for this entire year, especially from South Africa on.
I have met some truly amazing people this year, and I'm going to list all of them (mainly for my sake, so bear with me): Angelica, Carlos, Nayely, Andy, Shaxi host parents, Alek, Amit, Mohit, Marie, Sindiswa, Mandy, Dee, Katie, Shaneen, Angone, Shuerea, Lushea, Amonique, Ashelita, Angelique, Kattou, Susie, Francisca, Shanise, Lauren, Emily, Celeste, Deacon, Dino, Ryan, Eugene, Macwin, Nazim, Ricardo, Axhamile, Lucipo, Whitney, Anaschka, Imo, Analo, Yollo, Inga, Luciano, Victor, Abel, Aunt Letty, the sweet "thumbs-up" lady, Asenathe, Michael......not to mention my incredible TBB family--Alex, Mckinley, Kasha, Jon, Rayn, Connor, Mary, Rachel, Eirann, Lauren, Faith, Luisa, Maddie, Jessie, Lorena, Scott, Andrea, Robin....I think that's everyone but geez the list could go on!
I will have you know that I love, and I truly mean I love each person I listed. They are from all different countries and walks of life.
I'm having trouble articulating what I learned and what I want people to realize...
I think Lewis summed it up so well: love, and you'll likely be hurt. Your heart will be ripped, crushed, everything short of being destroyed.
I know this. We all do. It is becoming ever so clear to me this year, as I experience one heartbreak after another.
But at the same time, I've honestly realized that the most significant lesson I've learned over this year (I apologize if you think this sounds cheesy) is love.
To love is the most important calling I have in life.
What else could bring more glory to God than loving Christ above all and loving each and every human I encounter? What else could be more rewarding than sharing my heart, than giving to people? And what else could have more of an impact on me and those around me?
This is our calling. It's fairly explicit in the Scriptures that love is the highest command (Matt. 22:34-40). And Lewis' quote is not an original idea--Paul says as much in 1 Corinthians 13. And the gospel is love. In its purest form. And what a beautiful thing it is! Oh that we had a little more of that in the world!
And something I have been challenged with as a believer this year is having genuine love for people and allowing that true, deep, and Christ-given love to motivate my actions.
I believe that Christians often share the gospel out of obligation.
I know. I said it. It sounds awful. But stick with me here: I find myself thinking frequently that I should share the gospel with so-and-so. That I should be living a life of love toward people.
And that's true; I'm not wrong in thinking that. But I really don't think should  is good enough. Because when I should be doing something....well it becomes a matter of DOING something, and that is not the gospel.
I'm not entirely sure how clear this is turning out, but in the end I am trying to say to myself and to you, whoever you are:
Love. It will be difficult and exhausting. And your heart will be wounded; people will disappoint, betray, and hurt. But Christians and non-Christians alike--there is nothing more important, nor anything more beautiful than pouring out your life in love and service to those around you. That is the picture of the gospel. That is possibly more effective than any sermon, bible study, worship service, or mission trip.
Love. I can only pray that God will continue to give grace for my heart to be vulnerable, torn, beaten, and stripped bare. I would rather endure that pain (as Christ did out of his endless love for me) than anything else in the world because love is the greatest gift anyone could ever receive. And I can joyfully give thanks to God that I received the truest gift of love in Christ.
Praise the Lord.

Myths About Introverts

I found this on my dear friend Kristin's blog, but it's actually from my other dear friend Emma's blog. Anyway, they both have really fun blogs, and I love seeing what they post. This, however, I could really relate to as an introvert.
I found that it's all 100% true for me......eerily so.
Sooo yeah enjoy! :)

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Love

“Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.” ~Louis de Bernieres (Captain Corelli's Mandolin)