January 28, 2013

weakness and perfection

It has been so refreshing to reconnect with the blogging world now that our internet is working (well kind of) again.

Over the past month or so there has been a myriad of things that I have been thinking through. I would love to be able to sort it all out and make sense of it in one tidy little post but I am not sure that is possible. Many things that I have been musing on are much too raw yet for all of the internet to be able to peer into. I am sure with more time I will have perspective enough to sort things out better, but each day has to be lived, hour and minute spent to gain this time and perspective.

The little that I do understand is that I am quite a mess. I don't like to admit this or let anyone see this. I know many of my weaknesses and I have gotten good at hiding them, but sometimes God allows things to happen to expose your weaknesses. It is dangerous to ask God to teach you about humility, cause He usually answers you with a “Yes, I already had some lessons in mind. If you are ready let's get started.” It is a good thing to desire your pride to be rooted out, but oh my it can be painful.

I am quite a perfectionist. Not in the typical, perfectly-clean-house, alphabetized-spice-rack, immaculate-closets sort of perfection, but in a I-want-to-seem-like-a-Godly-sweet-Christian-girl-with-all-the-answers sort of perfection. Growing up going to all of the youth group events, helping Mom run VBS, reading the entire bible through before I was out of high school, going on countless mission trips, and pretty much having all the right “church” answers has left me with a unique little construct for forge my “perfection” on. Somehow I thought I knew all the answers and therefore I could easily guess what God wanted for me life. DANGER! Even when God speaks to us we should NEVER assume that we know exactly what He means. Usually when God speaks He usually leaves some details blank for us to trust Him with. Don't fill in those blanks yourself, even if you are a “good-Christian-girl” who knows all the right answers to the bible quiz. I tried filling in those blanks myself once and got my heart broken. I tried again and broke someone else's heart. And again, as it has before, my “perfection” has come crashing down and this time exposing my weaknesses to the world (at least that is how I feel).
Isaiah 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

As I start over, I want to try and rebuild my perfection not on my faulty understanding, but on the Lord's perfection. It says in Matthew 5:48 “...be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.” and it goes on in chapter 6 saying “beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them”. Perfection is not a bad thing to desire, but this perfection we are called to is not one judged by others. It is judged only by the Lord. It is a perfection of the heart. It is a perfection we are gifted by the blood of Jesus and the grace that flows from the cross, not a perfection that we can earn by knowing the all the right answers or by making people like us.

The more days I live the more I realize I do not know anything. I have realized that I will never know all the answers to life, and that I will only begin to know some of them by living life, making messes, and running to the arms of Jesus. Sarah Young says it beautifully in her devotional, Jesus Calling, “Instead of seeking perfection in this fallen world, pour your energy in to seeking Me: the Perfect One.” (January 26th).

All I know is that I am a people-pleasing mess. All I know is that I need more Jesus.

January 23, 2013


Thinking over the past year there have been so many wonderful things that the Lord has done!

First of all the Lord has been so faithful to provide for all of my needs through so many different ways. It has been so amazing to see his faithfulness over and over again.

A little over a year ago I came back from spending two months at Asha House and jumped into working with Back To The Roots. I got to see Asha House move to a new location last December, which I got to see with my own eyes when I came to visit in September. They have SO much more room inside and a huge yard to play in!
New Asha House
Over the past year three babies (Leah, Ashish, and Akash) were born, and three new children (Harsh, Milent, and Rekha) joined the Asha Family. Also just a few months ago we found out that Simini, who has not been able to get pregnant for the past eight years, is now expecting!!!!
Baby Ashish - his name means "blessing"
New sewing machines and a generator were purchased because of the generosity of amazing people. The sewing machines enable the older girls to learn tailoring, which is a trade they can work in after the finish school. The generator ensures that Asha House can get power when there are power outages. This is particularly important during the summer to keep the fans working to keep the babies from overheating.
New Sewing Machine
This year Jyoti was able to go to school for the first time. Her medical condition has gotten much better, but there is still scarring in her brain. Keep praying for her healing.
Jyoti is going to school and loosing teeth 

During the spring and summer I got to nanny for Christy and her son Gui-Gui. Christy brought Gui-Gui home from China after adopting him when he was 18mths old. Now he is a precocious 5 year old who is still learning Chinese, likes to ride his bike, and hunt for dragons and insects. My days with this little guy were filled with so much light and fun.

I also got to visit with my friend Jessica Paulraj, her husband Raja, and their sweet son Adam this summer. They were in NC from India to facilitate surgeries for baby Adam who was born with many birth defects. Jessica and Adam adopted Adam soon after he was born and abandoned. His precocious life is such a testimony of grace, hope, and love. Visit Jessica's Blog to learn more about Adam's story.

In September I got to bring five ladies (Tiffany, Chrissy, Phadrea, Julia, and Lauren) with me to see my Asha Family. We also got to go up to Uttarkashi and work at a school there with Jules and Arpan Mani. This was quite an experience to be able to facilitate all of us six ladies getting around India. Each one of these ladies had such a precious heart to serve the people of India. It was such an honor to travel and serve with them.
The ladies and I at the HIM head office in Mussorie
Fun Time at Asha House
Little Mathematicians in the Making 
Now since October I have been in Kalimpong. I am teaching Manju and Jeewan Loy in the mornings (btw Jeewan Loy is now reading!) and taking Nepali lessons in the afternoons. I have been so blessed with so many friends and good people around me. There are quite a number of foreign families living near by with whom we share life with and who enrich the everyday. 
Learning Nepali Alphabet
 "ka" "kah" "ga" "gah" "unga"
Manju at her desk
Jeewan Loy telling me about the picture he drew of baby Jesus

Reminiscing on the good things the Lord has brought to my life this year I have noticed the theme of adoption. So many children who have been adopted, chosen into their families, have touched my life over this past year. It gets me thinking about how God has chosen and adopted me. It is so humbling and wonderful to remember that I was just a hopeless mess before God chose me. God picked me up out of my mess and choose to make me something beautiful. He know exactly who He made me to be and is teaching me like a father to listen to Him, trust Him, and believe that He truly is working things together for my good. I am excited to see what God has for this year ahead, and how God might continue to weave this thread of adoption through my journey here on earth. 
Mountains and Sunlight

January 14, 2013

Christmas in Kalimpong

Sorry I haven't updated in a while. Our internet has been not working properly since before Christmas. It will come on for 5 or 10 minutes at a time. Sometimes it will come back in a few minutes and other times it will be gone for the rest of the day. So frustrating, but this is just one of those things you have to deal with when living in India. Because of the internet issues I haven't been able to update in quite a while. So I am going to start back in December...

Christmas was a wonderful time of celebration. The typical India Christian family celebrates Christmas by going to church on Christmas day, where you will probably watch some skits and songs from the children, hear a message, and share a meal with the church family. Most families' decorations don't go beyond some colored lights and a paper star. Christmas is basically one day of celebration. Up here in the hills all the schools are on a two month winter break, but in most of the rest of the country school is still in session having holiday only on Christmas day.

We (Manju, Jeewan Loy, and I) took about a week off of school, beginning with a surprise interruption in our school day. December 20th is my birthday, and we planned to have school as usual and begin the holiday on the following day with a day of Christmas cookie baking and gingerbread house making. But surprise! In the middle of a math test I was giving to Manju, I hear footsteps on the stairs. I thought maybe some of the girls from downstairs were sneaking up to spy on us. Instead it was everyone from downstairs, the whole German family who lives up the street, and Lindy carrying a birthday cake complete with candles. After I blew out the candles we all went out on the terrace and shared tea and cake. Well that made quite a happy end to our school day and beginning to our holiday.
Gingerbread House (from a kit brought from America)
Here in Kalimpong the week before Christmas youth groups, choirs, and Sunday-schools roam around caroling in the evenings. They do this usually do this as a fundraiser for their group. When a group of carolers arrives at your house you are expected to welcome them in for tea and biscuits(cookies) and send them away with a small donation. Sometimes they send a card a few days before to warn you of their coming, but some just arrive unannounced. They usually begin caroling just after the sun goes down (which is around 4:30pm) and can keep going until 1 or 2am. One night we had three different groups come one of them came at 1am but we were asleep in our warm beds so we just cracked a window waved and went back to bed. Even when carolers don't come to your house you can still here them in the neighborhood as the houses are close together and the windows not very well insulated. It is such a magical thing to fall asleep to the echos of people singing and worshiping Jesus all over the hills.
Happy Birthday Jesus! Yummy Chocolate!
Christmas Eve we spent with Harry and Vroni, the German family, their four kids and Vroni's friend who was visiting from Germany. We had a bonfire with popcorn, apple cider, cookies, and pigs-in-a-blanket, and sang songs in both English and German. That night Lindy, the kids and I slept by the Christmas tree. Jeewan Loy had been counting down the days until Christmas so he was incredibly excited to open his presents and stocking in the morning. I made biscuits(southern style) and gravy, and we had a “Happy Birthday Jesus” cake for breakfast. Then we all got dressed and walked to church. We had a yummy Indian lunch there and had a wonderful time with all of our friends.
Silent Night 
That evening was spent with Mari and Juha, the Finnish family downstairs. They had visitors come for Christmas, two Finnish girls who have been staying in Siliguri working at a rescue home for girls from the redlight district. It was so wonderful to get to know these girls and share our stories. The bonds of the Kingdom are so amazing, it was like meeting sisters. Manju and her friend Siiri had written a Christmas song together and performed it as we shared American and Finnish holiday goodies by candle light. Such a perfect end to a glorious day!
Christmas Eve Dinner