Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Truth in Grace

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." II Corinthians 4:9

"But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift." Ephesians 4:7

Last night, as I laid in bed waiting for sleep to come, I caught myself thinking about grace.  It's hard to grasp the reality of this concept.  It's a gift that we don't deserve.  We are not entitled to it.  But yet, we are "justified by his grace, as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.." (Romans 3:23). 

When I mess up, I want to fix it.  I want to punish myself for screwing up.  I know I can't actually do anything to correct things gone wrong...and I think I've realized this concept a whole lot more in these last few months than I ever have before.

I've never been Catholic and I've never actually been to a Catholic church, but I found myself thinking about confession and trying to atone for sins through actions.  Paul speaks clearly to Timothy: "[God] who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began" (II Timothy 1:9).  So I was saved for his purpose by his grace... 

This past summer, while in China, I was able to understand a little glimpse of what all of these verses really mean.  During a hard conversation with a team leader after I had crossed leader/follower boundary lines, I admitted to him that I've always been really hard on myself - I have been since high school.  At that point in my life, I strived for perfection.  I didn't want to disappoint anyone, nothing excluded.  It was in college when I realized exactly how unrealistic that expectation seemed.  But sometimes, I still manage to strive for perfection.  In my leader's wisdom, he started referring back to a time in his own life when he did the same thing.  Since he had become a Christian, God had showed him that in being hard on ourselves, we are saying the atonement Christ is not good enough to cover all of our sins. 

While I wrestled with this thought, the truth in it stuck with me.  Over the next few days, I struggled to conceive how to accept grace.  How does this conception happen?  Is it supposed to be immediate?  Is it a process?  It's a hard concept for me to grasp becuase I've been in a pattern of sin with my own atonement for many many years.  Jesus, how do I go about this sanctification process and truly accept what you have already offered?

Thinking about grace is quite humbling.  It increases my awareness of just how big God is and how small and insignificant I am - but yet Christ died for me, for my sins, for my atonement. 

I can't say that I've done well grasping the concept of grace...I'm expecting the Lord to grow me in this area even more.  I don't have a conclustion for this lesson; it may not be completed for many years to come.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Yesterday, I was challenged to take a look at my life and evaluate the relationships in my life.  In all honesty, this challenge to re-evaluate couldn't possibly have happened at a worse time in my life. 

However, it's not really MY timing that matters.  It's not about me and my own selfish, petty desires at all...it's about learning how to serve God with my life through my thoughts, actions, and attitudes.  So it's all about God.  It's always been about God...and it always will be.  My life's purpose is to glorify Him.  This is where relationships and community make it or break it.

I want to share some verses that I've meditated on about community:

"And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.  Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love." Ephesians 4: 11-16

In these verses, it says that we are supposed to build up the body until each part works properly.  I'm not working properly, and I recognize the importance of being teachable.  As part of this life-long challenge, I am going to be stretched in learning how to be taught. 

I am asking for help in refinement.  I can't do this alone - I will need guidance and I need to know that when I'm wrong in my words, actions, and attitudes...I can depend on the body, my community, and my closest relationships to correct it. 

This is just the beginning of the process. 

Saturday, December 12, 2009

homey-ized office

here's my office.  now, mind you, i didn't actually take pictures of the bookshelves or all of the file cabinets.  they are just too boring. enjoy!

top: view from my computer
middle: view of my wall next to the computer
bottom: view of the door/hallway from the desk

Friday, December 11, 2009


working in an office 8 hours a day is definitely something i never really considered.  i was going to be a veterinarian.  i was going to be talking to people all day about their pets.  then i was going to be a pharmacist.  again, i would be potentially talking to people all day about their medicine.  then i was going to be a doctor.  i would be talking to patients about themselves. 

basically, none of the above options involve sitting a room by myself with only a computer to connect to the outside world.  now, mind you...i've come to like my little office.  i've got it decorated (pictures to come in a later post), i have it "homey-ized".  i know it's not a word - just go with it.  but here's the thing.  i like community.  i like talking to people.  i like interacting with them.  the only interaction i get at work is if 1 of 2 ladies comes in...my boss, or the department coordinator person (at least i think that's what she is). 

monday was my boss' birthday - so we had a luncheon at another lady's house.  i still really don't know anyone in the office.  i have a few acquaintances, but i don't really see them on a daily basis.  so we're enjoying some appetizers...and i'm standing awkwardly amongst some acquaintances.  now, mind you - most of these ladies are from the office, so we work "together" and might see each other every day.  the conversation turns to a cookie exchange party one of the ladies whose office is down the hall from mine is having in a few weeks.  this might sound petty to some.  who would want to go hang out with a bunch of ladies and talk about work on the weekend?  hmmm.  do i have to think about this?!  ME!!! 

sadly, i have not received an invitation to said cookie exchange.  i do not plan on receiving one either.  the hostess of that party did the awkward "i'm not going to look at you because i didn't invite you" look as she answered.  well, i definitely feel like i'm a part of the in-crowd at the office!  actually, i still feel like people look at me like i'm a student worker.  okay, granted i'm still that "age"...but if i was married, would that make me more mature?  would that make it more acceptable to invite me because i would have a spouse to bring?! 

this lady is supposed to unite our department - and my boss is invited (who is still single, mind you)...so i'm pretty sure i was just told (in a round-a-bout way) that i'm not important and i don't belong here.  i'm like the students who work less than 20 hours a week.  FALSE. 

i have been overlooked.