Monday, October 17, 2011

Mistaking Seasons.

8th Official Blog Post in AU. 17 October 2011.
Moments ago, I was sitting outside. It is a slightly cloudy, spring day here in the southern hemisphere and I had planted myself on a low brick wall near a small fountain. Moments of warm sun came through as the clouds passed by overhead. Brief gusts of wind combed its cold fingers through my hair.
At one moment, I looked down to kick something away from my feet. There at my heels were a small bunch of dried up leaves.
Fall! I moaned in my thoughts, It is supposed to be fall right now, not spring time... look, there are even dried leaves on the ground. Where are the pumpkin spice lattes? What about all the leaves changing color and dying...?
Sarah, I felt the Holy Spirit say, you have repositioned your life before Me. Why are you expecting old patterns to remain the same? You have misunderstood: I have not called you to come and die or be be buried away. Indeed, your season is spring! Flourish, my dear. I have called you here to expand and bloom.
In the confusion of a new season, sometimes it would be nice to burrow deep into soft, warm, darkness underground. However, it is not fall, but spring. The rain keeps falling, sun is shining, and the wind is blowing. The surrounding elements are coaxing me to strengthen my roots, push out from the dirt, expand these leaves and finally bloom.
“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven...He has made everything appropriate in its time... I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.”
–Ecclesiastes 3:1,11,14 (NASB)

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Confessions of an International Student.

7th Official Blog Post in AU. 6 October 2011
At the start of the semester I recall hearing someone talk about how international students tend to have a lot of emotional ups and downs during their time at university. Honestly, I did not really believe them. Call me naïve, proud, stubborn, or all of the above, but I have been determined to be as strong and steady as possible... or, at the very least, maintain the appearance of it.
It is amazing how many challenges arise once a person has determined to be strong.
Blogosphere, it is about time I come clean and confess that I am not as strong as I try to be. Truth be told, I am that student who goes through the ups and downs when (hopefully) nobody is looking. My loved ones have never felt so far away as they have in the last few days; especially now that I am face-to-face with the final stretch of the semester. The few friends here that I have felt some sense of camaraderie with will be going back to the familiarity of their homelands while I remain here, try to stay focused, and figure out what in the world God wants me to do with this life I have been given- at least in regard to my near future.
“What do I do here in the waiting?
What do I do with my unsatisfied heart?”
(Laura Hackett)
I feel really vulnerable to be posting on this subject, but if you have kept up with my blogs at all, you know my aim is not to be popular, but quite transparent. I just need a space to write with the hope that you can relate and/or be inspired by these posts.
Sigh... loneliness.
What do you do with loneliness? How do you cope?
I feel caught in this corner because, even though I long for my community at home or for a more established one here, I have this deep conviction that I cannot go back to where I came from and I cannot stay here. My only good option is to keep moving forward and press on to the end of this degree so I can experience whatever this mysterious future is that I will be living in this time next year. That does not mean I have no interest in the people here, I definitely want and need to grow deeper with some people around me at present. It is simply getting past the subconscious understanding that your presence amongst each other is temporary.
“The past is so tangible, I know it by heart.
Familiar things are never easy to discard.
I was dying for some freedom but now I hesitate to go.
I am caught between the promise and the things I know... 
the future feels so hard and I want to go back,
but the places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I’ve learned...”
(Sara Groves)
Through it all, there is only one presence that remains constant from before I was born to the end of my life and onward. All I know to do in my loneliness is cry out to God because He has always been my Constant Sustainer and the One to satisfy every area of lack in each season. In the end, I come out of these struggles with thanksgiving because nothing else creates opportunity to exercise living by faith quite like painful circumstances.
I have never felt so clueless and disconnected before. So many days pass by where I feel like I am in over my head; like I am inadequate and have no sense of belonging in this place. Sometimes it feels like I have only brought a part of myself to this city while the rest of my spirit and personality remains at home with my friends and family.
Yet God is with me and He has gone ahead of me so there is no reason to fear or worry as I set my gaze on Him. He is the Author and Perfecter of my faith- He knows exactly how to write my days for the sake of deepening my trust in His great character. If this is how I have to learn to trust Him more, then let it be. I am determined to see crisis as opportunity leading to the best things. My life is in the hands of the God who loves me even more than I could ever even love myself, so I will let Him have His way in me. Trying to control it all is too exhausting anyway! Let it be, dear Lord, let it be... Your plan is not to harm me, but to give me a hope and a future. You make all things work out for the good of those who love you and are called according to Your purpose. I am more than a conqueror through You, the One who loves me; this I know full well. You did not even spare Your own Son, but instead gave Him up for my sake and the sake of all people so how will you not also, along with Christ, graciously give us all things? Nothing can separate us from Your deep, abundant, everlasting love. I am in the most capable hands.
I started writing this post feeling empty; now I am filled again. Thank You, Lord...