Hola, Néih hóu, Bula, Bonjour, Aloha, Konnichi wa, Mogethin, Kia Ora, Hi

-Hola, Néih hóu, Bula, Bonjour, Aloha, Konnichi wa, Mogethin, Kia Ora, Hi-
No matter what your language, cadence, or creed, I'm glad you're here =)

"She's tired of flat lands and cornfields, Seashells traced in snow. She wants more bugs on her windshield, She don't want to go alone...She talks about her waterfall fountain, And her house out on the bay. She's in love with broken glass mountains, Fireplace cafes."

Translation, please!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Relaxing in the Glory

I'm sitting here at my good friend Nicole's apartment. I have a paper to write...that's probably all that needs to be said about that.

When I turn around, I can see right out her living room windows and into the fluffy world of whiteness. That's right, snow in Salem, in November. (hahaha she just said from her bedroom, for like the 5th time, "It's snowing!!! =P)

I never really grasped the glee of snow as a kid, I knew I was missing something because everyone else was SO excited whenever it snowed. And I'd go out and sled and build things and throw things and make snow angels just like every other kid, but I never quite had it figured out. Getting up early and frolicking in the cold and the wet were never quite fun for me. I never quite understood why a few moments of adrenaline were worth destroying the beauty. The slow serenity that shows itself so little here, ravaged in a matter of moments.

As I got older, I went out in the snow less and less. I still got up early (which is saying something to those of you that know me) but my snowy morning routine altered some. I liked to sit with my apple cider (no cloves thank you very much) and watch the stillness. I loved to watch the evolution.

The back yard started so still.And then you might see a bird or two, usually a black crow at my house then. Or maybe the birds had already come and gone, and all that was left was the small prints that were left behind, cold and alone.If you could catch them at the right time, you'd see an adult wake before everyone else and go for a stroll through the new bliss. I could watch them making their way, crunching along, and soon enough they were gone. Once again, leaving only their footprints. That one set of footprints is one of the most lonely, and somehow peaceful things I've ever seen.

And then slowly, so very slowly at first, the neighborhood would awake. It started with lights flicking on and heads poking out from windows and door ways, then darting back in to spread the news. "Snow! It Snowed!" And of course the ever present "No School!" (I don't ever remember saying that one, although I'm sure I did at some point, I loved school)

And then there is an explosion. Of sound, of gear being thrown on, and sleds being hauled out from their storage places, anxious for a shot at proving themselves the best. Each toboggan eager to do what it was created for.

I understand the wonder in snow. I haven't grasped why it gives us that feeling, but I understand that it does. I am very content right now, sitting inside where it is warm and dry, with my cocoa (thanks Nicole) and watching the beauty swirl and begin to settle. I get it. But I wonder is there something in us humans that we are wired for snow? I think that sounds a bit far fetched. Maybe we are wired for wonder. We are wired for awe. And snow, it its purity is just one thing that sets that off for us.

Even with my paper nagging the back of my mind, trying to bore its way to the front (I know, I thought that was all I had to say, but apparently my subconscious really thinks I should get this thing done) it is relatively easy to put that aside and to just enjoy the peace and the lovelyness of it.

Side note: it's 11:11 right now, make a wish.

Side note 2.0: 11 is my favorite number.

It makes me think of people who are in cold like this, or worse, and don't have the resources to keep warm, to survive. People like the Pakistanis that Mr Andy Yaxley has been talking with us about in youth group. Flooding drove them into homelessness and now winter is approaching and a good chunk of them are not going to make it without help. Organizations like Pure Hope Pakistan are collecting donations just to try and get water filters to Pakistan to provide them with uncontaminated water. I am so very fortunate, I don't really have words to fill the feeling.

I don't really know where I'm going with this, maybe I just really don't feel like writing this paper (infraction #2. My apologies). Anyhow, my advice is to watch the snow before it's trampled on, and THEN head outside to play - if you're one of those weirdos that is...Or, if you're like me, you'll say that you love snow- from the inside. And that walking in it is about the best it gets on the outside. Either way, I want to ask everyone (certainly not excluding myself) to do something selfless, give a blanket or a coat to someone who needs it. Enjoy the bliss Salem, drive safe, stay warm.

Kua Ni Re Re

In February of 2008, I did a DTS through YWAM (http://www.ywam.org/) in New Zealand. It was one of the best things I have ever experienced. I am in no way saying that a DTS is a cure-all to life and its problems, but it was a decision I could never regret. For me, it was incredible. God used this experience in my life to free me from so many things. Among the list, and perhaps highest on it, is freedom from fear. Which is where this Blog title and my URL comes from. I know it looks like gibberish right now, but bear with me. (On a side note, my computer just spell checked 'gibberish' apparently spelling it with one 'b' is incorrect. Who knew?).

My outreach during my DTS was primarily in Fiji, which is also something I would do all over again. I adored it there. The people, the culture, and the language. I really enjoy different languages. (I guess I didn't have much of a chance with that one though, growing up around missionaries from all around the world and all.) So I took every chance I got to learn new words and phrases, I have pages and pages written down in a journal I kept while I was there.

As a music and worship focused DTS, we had a lot of music worked into our outreach (revolutionary, I know). There was one song we sang quite often, called "Kua Ni Re Re" which means "do not be afraid" in Fijian. It's a beautiful song, and we even carried it back to us during our remaining outreach time in NZ. The basic message is taken from Joshua 1:9.

As we come in to Joshua 1, Moses has died and Joshua has been chosen as the new leader of the Israelites."...As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you"(verse 5) The Lord is commanding Joshua to go and claim the land that has been promised to them. God warns Joshua to follow his orders "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go"(verse 7). In other words, "I am all you need, the land is yours for the taking as long as you claim it as such and follow my directions."

God is really giving Joshua the go ahead here, encouraging him, empowering him. We get to verse nine and see a verse that is quoted often in Sunday schools everywhere. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." This verse was actually first introduced to me in a song (thanks to a Mr. Fred Allen who happened to run my Sunday school when I was just a wee lass) and stuck with me throughout my life and my struggles with fear.

This is where I'm stopping Joshua's story, and continuing on with mine, but I encourage you to finish it. Joshua is one of my favorite people =) So fear has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. I would have horrible nightmares as a young girl, and then not talk about them because I was afraid that would make them more real. I have been killed by demons in my dreams more times than I can count. For a while, around middle school, I kept them out - or God kept them out - somehow they were just gone for a while. But then I hit high school and they started to come back and they always took place in a certain class with a teacher that I knew was a believer. (Side note again, this class was Honors Geometry so I suppose it's possible that these dreams came back right at this time simply because it was a math class and math is evil. But that's just an idea...)

Anyhow, these dreams always took place in my freshman math class. Maybe I was doing spiritual warfare and didn't realize it, maybe Satan was just trying to have a field day and wreak havoc on my psyche.

Then the dreams went away again for the most part. They'd still pop up every once in a while and I'd wake up in a cold sweat, shaking, and not wanting to move in case that made me even less safe. One week during my DTS Jono Turner was speaking with us for a week, and he had been talking about demons and the spiritual world. Later on, one of my class mates, a lovely Canadian named Nick, came up to me and told me that he felt like God had directed his sight towards me when Jono was speaking. He said he saw me shudder at something Jono said about demons and so Nick started asking me about any experience I'd had in that area.

So I told him about the dreams and such and I mostly felt very freaked out. I was trying to act all nonchalant because that's easier than dealing with reality sometimes. I hadn't realized I shuddered. I hadn't realized Nick was watching me.And I definitely didn't want to be remembering these dreams that I had worked so hard to keep away. So Nick prayed with me and I went along my freaked out way. I had managed to distract my self enough by the time that bed time rolled around that I was able to fall asleep.

But that night I had a nightmare. Another demon infested dream where evil dragged me down and devoured me whole and there was nothing left of me. It was terrifying.

Again, I tried to brush it away. Wanting to forget about it, about all of them, wanting to lock them away somewhere they couldn't escape so they could never surface again and I might have a shot at being able to function for the rest of the day.

That day in class, I asked Jono to pray for me for an entirely different issue. So Jonno is praying for me, and it kind of feels like he's wrapping up, but then he gets going again and I start to shake and shake and shake. He says, "and I rebuke the spirit of fear, in Jesus name. You have no place here, I rebuke you." It wasn't loud, it wasn't dramatic. But I felt it. It felt like a huge weight rising from my feet and going through my body and out my shoulders, and then nothing. Gone. Free.

I still have dreams of a similar nature from time to time. BUT there are some vital differences. It's a battle now, as opposed to the slaughter it had always been previously. And I don't die.  I don't die. That is monumental for me! And how incredible is it that with the power of Christ, I live? "Oh Praise the one who paid my debt, and lifts this life up from the dead!" That's how I feel! Like Jesus has plucked me from death and empowered me to fight and to conquer and to LIVE.

So Joshua 1:9 - actually pretty much any verse that has to do with fear- has been a very personal verse for me through my life. And to have a song that was taught to me that I might share it to others who struggle with the same things is just so amazing to me. For this verse to come up in a foreign country, in a language of an altogether different country, is something so extraordinary.

For this first Blog (ha, it could be the last too for all I know. I'm playing it by ear) I wanted to explain the meaning behind a seemingly meaningless few words.  And to offer an encouraging story, and to remind myself that I need not fear. I have the King of the world in my side, as do we all.

Kua Ni Re Re, my friends.