Category Archives: Thoughts on Life

Sunday is Coming

I was 9 years old. It was Good Friday, and part of the day’s required activities included periodical Bible readings from the crucifixion story. I had heard the story dozens of times but it had never truly permeated my soul. I remember tears running down my face as my mom read the narrative of Christ’s gruesome crucifixion. Why did he have to die? Why did they kill him? New life had been brought to this story of old. I felt for the first time as if I were there. The intensity of the moment of Jesus’ death penetrated my heart. Even though I knew the end of the story, I was suddenly able to comprehend the emotion felt on that dreadful day. I sobbed. I grieved. An intense hunger for Sunday stirred within me. Please let it be true. Please, let him come back to life! But I would have to wait. Today is only Friday.

I can imagine how the disciples felt on Saturday. They awoke to life that had been shattered to pieces. Hope for salvation had died. Yesterday they shamelessly left everything to follow a man that was to save their people. Today that man was dead. People had accused them of craziness for their life of complete surrender, and it dawned on them that perhaps people were right. They hid in fear for their lives while grieving the loss of their leader. Life was chaotic and confusing. Questions. Doubts. Darkness. Hopelessness. This was not what they had signed up for. Jesus was supposed to lead them to new life, justice and victory. Now all that remained was loneliness and desolation.

Perhaps you have lived in this darkness. Perhaps you have experienced the pain of loss, the grief of separation, the blur of confusion, the vivid sting of hopelessness. Is today Saturday? Are you wandering in a desert of loneliness and hopelessness? Do you find yourself questioning what you desperately want to believe because circumstances don’t reconcile with the message of hope you have left everything to follow?

I wait with anticipation each year for celebratory Easter Sunday. I have great memories of waking early on Easter morning, dressing into my flowery blue and white dress with my favorite lacy socks and tiptoeing down the kitchen to indulge in my mom’s famous Ukrainian Easter Bread. Oh how I love Easter Sunday. Sunday’s joy is birthed in the wake of Saturday’s grief.

Today is Saturday. Grief and despair. But there is hope, Sunday is coming.

“…weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

I Cannot Do This Alone

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Germany/1906–1945)

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray And to concentrate my thoughts on you;
I cannot do this alone.

In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the way for me. . . .

Restore me to liberty,
And enable me to live now
That I may answer before you and before men.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised. Amen.

House, Tyndale (2009-12-17). Devotions for Lent (Kindle Locations 275-299). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Is this Blessing?

I looked around at the 9 new teachers we have in town for our training this month. Many come from harsh living circumstances. Some had never been on an airplane before today. A few are no longer able to live with their families. Away from their lives and everything known for a month, they crowded into this tiny house together. Is this blessing?

I peered into the eyes of my tired, worn out students. Exhaustion seemed to consume their faces as they confronted the reality of final exams coming next week. With tests, papers and projects looming over their heads, they looked like they were ready to cave. Is this blessing?

I joined the huddle of my tired, sweaty, high school girls basketball team. I dug deep within myself to find one more encouraging speech to give after a series of losses at a tournament in our home gym. With tears running down their faces and exhaustion consuming their bodies I looked at them as I struggled to find the words to say. Is this blessing?

I saw it in slow motion. The precious 3 year old girl stumbled backwards, slamming her head on the concrete. An ocean of tears exploded out of her face as she made a mad dash for her mother. Is this blessing?

I comforted a friend as tears dampen her eyes as she details her broken relationship with her family. They are of the majority religion and have rejected her because of her claim to faith. Is this blessing?

The harsh sounds of machinery once again reverberated through my classroom as I attempted to teach my students. My fading voice was no competition against the hammering of nails and the buzzing of chainsaws. Is this blessing?

“…Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

It’s not that being poor in spirit just brings blessing. No, being poor in spirit is the blessing.

Teachers being trained to transform their communities. Students exhausted because of the incredible education they are being given. Basketball players learning the meaning of perseverance and character (they turned out winning the tournament, by the way). A little girl with the loving arms of a mother eager to embrace her. The testimony of a woman completely committed to following Jesus. The sounds of construction reverberating through my classroom as a reminder that a new teacher training center is being built on our campus. Is this blessing? Yes. This is blessing.


Rainy season has come.

I was riding my motorbike in the rain the other day. It’s quite a spectacle–as soon as the drops begin to fall all of the motorbikes pull over and take out these brightly colored ponchos. I was in my bright blue poncho being pelted with raindrops on my way home. In front of me was a man on a bike, seemingly doing the same. However, I looked carefully again and noticed two little feet in pink crocs sticking out the sides of his poncho. His little girl was sitting behind him under the back of his poncho clinging to him as they raced home through waterfall coming from the sky.

(here’s a photo of a similar situation, but with TWO pairs of little feet!)

This brought a huge smile on my face. Here was this little girl completely trusting her father in every way. She could not see where they were going or what was happening around her. She was faced with two choices–she could either ride with full awareness and understanding of where they were and where they were going, but be pelted with rain and mud along the way; or she could rest safely under the protection of her father, but this would mean clinging to him and placing complete trust in him.

Sometimes this is how I feel life is here. Either I am clinging tightly to God and allowing him to direct my every move, or I’m just being pelted. There’s no in between. Unfortunately, all too many times I find I want to grab hold of the steering wheel and drive myself.

God has been teaching me patience. I so badly want to have this culture and language under my belt already so I can move on to some of the things I am hoping to do here, but as I slowly grow and learn about the language and culture, I am finding He is growing me in other ways as well.