Tag Archive | trust

New Year, New Existence

“It is vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.”

– Charlotte Brontë, from Jane Eyre


My dear friends,

It is the new year. It is officially 2018. It has been for eleven days now.

I cannot explain to you in language capable of understanding the change that I have undergone these twelve months past. I know without doubt, inspection, or clarification that I am not the same young lady who stepped into the 2017.

It is a new year. A new year it certainly has been. I seem to be slipping away from my old self more and more. The funny thing is that it does not feel bad. I have never felt so free to shed my old clothes. To wrestle out of my old skin, squirming and wrestling my way into new life. A new year has made a new me.

I will not bore you with a post of many words or an obnoxious sob story about how much I accomplished last year.

Quite on the contrary.

A new year calls for new things. Already, before my very eyes, I have begun to shed old habits and develop new interests, thoughts, and opinions.

A new year calls for new theology.

I have begun to understand the truth about and depths of God’s eternal love for me. As a young Christian growing up in America, I have always known of God’s great power, Divine nature, and unspeakable authority; I have never truly studied His never-ending love. Directly, I see a change in the way I live. I walk with a new faith in a God who loves unconditionally. A God who is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness. A God named Jesus who loves me above all others. He goes before me, and I do not fear, for He will never leave me nor forsake me. He said before leaving this earth, “Lo, I am with you always.”

A new year calls for new heroes.

In this short time, I have found new mentors, confidantes, and friends who are beginning to shape me into someone I did not even know I could become. I have engrossing and delightful conversations with Jane Eyre on rainy days. Dietrich Bonhoeffer sits with me in my bedroom, and we discuss theology and discipleship for hours. Elizabeth Bennet comes to tea, and her courtship with a certain Mr. Darcy is always our favorite topic. I have begun to make the acquaintance of Mr. Sydney Carton, and although he is quite the alcoholic, his troubled yet sweet, pleasing soul is the thing I best love about him. All these friends have gathered around me, and with them I am becoming quite the lover of stories, universal truths, and moral genius.

A new year calls for new adventures.

Before my very eyes life-changing quests and heists are being laid in front of me. I have just been told that this very summer I shall be at Oxford University studying literature and creative writing for two whole weeks in the Oxford Summer Program. How excited I am for this I cannot express to you; only my Father in Heaven can truly understand how ecstatic I am to step onto the cobble-stone streets of a university that is perhaps over nine hundred years old and one that I only thought lived in my dreams. May is the month of my high-school graduation. I have already begun working toward my Associates degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.

A new year calls for new interests.

I have begun to fall in love with art, literature, and writing. Riding horses is taking a new turn, as well. As of yesterday, I am riding a horse named Harry who is such a sweetheart: willing to please, amiable, bold, and everything a horse ought to be. He’s practically an angel, and my instructor says I will learn much from him. I cannot wait. Claude Monet is a favorite with me now, and I hope I may get to visit an art museum in the coming year. Austen, Brontë (Charlotte, of course), and Dickens are my new favorite authors, and reading their books is like diving headfirst into another world. I am currently reading A Tale of Two Cities.

A new year calls for new resolutions.

Now, I come to you, my dear readers. Meine lieben Freunden (that is German for, “my dear friends”)! I know I have ceased to blog consistently, yet that is something I wish to change in the coming year. I am seeing in myself someone new. I know that this blog must also become new and change alongside myself. Therefore—I will not promise anything—but my goal is to write a post every two weeks and end the year with twenty-four (give or take) posts. As for my German, that is another matter entirely, yet it is on my resolution. I do intend to learn to speak fluent German. If it is good enough for Dietrich, it is good enough for me.

My friends, I know with every fiber of my being that this year is going to be one of the best I have ever had. No, the best year for all of us. Every year is a good year. I feel like everyone seems to look back when they enter a new year. They always contemplate and spend hours in reverie over the past twelve months. I know because that’s what I did last year, the year before that, the year before that, and—gee, come to think of it—the year before that. Obviously, I’ve always looked back. By no means am I saying that to look back is unscrupulous. Nay, on the contrary. It is looking back that gives us the courage to move forward. However, this year, I have seemed to put more emphasis on going forward. I am becoming a new person, a young lady blossoming into a young woman (heavens, not yet), and an encourage-er looking for kindred spirits to encourage.

Let us not become exhausted and worn over looking at our blunders, flaws, and mistakes from last year, but let us look ahead. It is the dawn of a new day, the rise of a new era. We have begun something new. Let us face it eye to eye, shoulder to shoulder. We will not cower or turn away.

To encourage you all, I have found a lovely little poem written by that good friend of mine Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which he wrote only a little while before he was executed by the Nazis. It was composed in January of 1945 while he was in prison in Berlin:

New Year 1945

With every power for good to stay and guide me, 

Comforted and inspired beyond all fear, 

I’ll live these days with you in thought beside me, 

And pass, with you, into the coming year

 

    The old year still torments our hearts, unhastening;

The long days of sorrow still endure;

Father, grant to the souls thou hast been chastening

That thou hast promised, the healing and the cure.

 

  Should it be ours to drain the cup of grieving

Even to the dregs of pain, at thy command,

We will not falter, thankfully receiving

All that is given by thy loving hand.

 

But should it be thy will once more to release us

To life’s enjoyment and its good sunshine,

That which we’ve learned from sorrow shall increase us, 

And all our life be dedicate to thine.

 

  Today, let candles shed their radiant greetings;

Lo, on our darkness are they not thy light

 Leading us, haply, to our longed-for meeting?

Thou canst illumine even our darkest night.

 

When now the silence deepens for our hearkening,

Grant we may hear thy children’s voices raise

From all the unseen world around us darkening

Their universal paean, in thy praise.

 

While all the powers of good aid and attend us,

Boldly, we’ll face the future, come what may.

At even and at morn God will befriend us,

And oh, most surely on each newborn day!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Be encouraged, my dear friends! God is always with us and goes before us. Whatever we are walking into, let us take heart. God is with us and will always hold our hands in His.

One thing I am planning on doing this year is taking you all on my adventures with me. Hold on tight, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Auf Wiedersehen,

Emily 🙂

P.S. I did create my cosplay for Star Wars, and wore it on opening night. Best. Moments. Ever. I’ll share with you all in the next post; I’m off to bed! 🙂

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All God’s Children

Dear Friends,

Since May 18th, 2017, I have been absent from this blog. I have constantly reminded myself to “get around to blogging.” I could just never seem to have the time to sit down and write like I had so longed for.

However, three days ago, I received an email from my Gospel for Asia blog team with a new blogging assignment, and this morning the Lord came a-knocking on my heart. He reminded me of all of you readers, of the countless precious souls of Asia, and the length of my hiatus. Basically and simply, He told me I could not get away with it this time. The hounding was hard – the disobedience would be transgression. Thus, today, at 10:25 p.m., I have come to tell you a story. A true story. Frankly, I think true stories are the best. It is the story of a drunkard, a widow and her son, and the peace they found.


The man cackled and nearly collapsed in drunken stupor. His mother watched him helplessly. She knew it was her doing. She had often encouraged drinking and enjoyed a few drinks with her son, Sahdev, but she, Vahini, never imagined consequences this horrendous. The old woman pitied her alcoholic son, who spent all he had on the poisonous liquid.

Vahini knew she was obligated to put an end to Sahdev’s alcoholic rages, drunken shame, and endless addiction. When an idea finally lit up her mind like fire crackers on a moonlight night, she set right to work seeing it through: her son must have a wife. Surely a wife would force him to put aside his useless and ridiculous past time! Yes, a wife must be the answer. Maliciously concealing her Sahdev’s treacherous addiction, Vahini found a young woman named Tanu who, blind to the truth, married Sahdev.

However, much to Vahini’s horror, Sahdev became a violent man, abused his new wife, and his drinking did not cease as hoped. Instead of defending the helpless bride, Vahini sided with her son and watched in silence as he beat her daily. In the midst of this desolation, Tanu became pregnant. When Tanu gave birth to a son, Aakar, her husband died of alcohol poisoning two months later.

Free of her chains, Tanu hoped to live in precious peace, but no peace came. Vahini became the villain of our story and mercilessly blamed Tanu for the death of her son. Tanu, afraid for her child and her life, resisted and begged to remain in Vahini’s home, yet in response to her helpless plea, she was beaten for simply asking for help. Fleeing desperately, Tanu returned to her mother and father’s home: in the slums (pictured left – photo credit: http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com). Graciously welcoming their daughter and grandson, Tanu’s parents brought a smile to Tanu’s weary face.

Due to India’s cruel and unfair “caste system,” Tanu and her family were classified as “dalit” or “untouchables.” Essentially cursed by their fellow man, it was difficult for Tanu to find a job to help support her family. Acting as any kind-hearted father would towards his little girl, Tanu’s father, Chandrakiran worked as a daily wage laborer, a job someone of his social caste is confined to.

When Aakar became old enough to go to school, Tanu and her parents simply could not pull enough money together to give the child a proper education. Even when enrolling Aakar into free public school, the cost of the supplies crippled their finances. Heartbroken for her little boy, Tanu was desperate.

Seeing one of her neighbors sending her children to school one day, Tanu demanded to know how they managed the costs. The neighbor explained that her children attend Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope Sponsorship program. Feeling a wave of relief for the first time in many days, Tanu enrolled Aakar in the program in June, 2013. For the first time, Aakar received a birthday gift, school supplies, and an education of which many children his age of dreamed (from my resource I learned only forty percent of all people in India can read). Tanu and Aakar (pictured right – photo credit: Gospel for Asia Blog Team) continually receive God’s love, compassion, and redemption everyday from the Bridge of Hope Program. Tanu says that she has the biggest hopes in the world for her son. She believes he will grow to be a kind man who loves others more than himself and will choose a different path than his father, Sadhev. “I can see that my child is improving in his studies and learning good habits through the Bridge of Hope center. I only wish that my child will grow up [to be] a good companion and never ever become addicted to alcohol or any kind of bad habits,” said Tanu after she enrolled her precious son. 

The courage of a mother determined to fight for her son and for her life, the acceptance and love of grandparents who had a heart to give the willingness of sponsor in a different land who brought joy into the life of this beautiful child, and the love and care of our Lord Jesus who never lets go, gave this story a happy ending.  


“But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

– Luke 18:16


I look at the world around me. It chills my bones. It breaks my heart. It makes the hair on the back of my neck prick up.

Then I look at a child. I see the little girl: ribbons in her hair, pigtails flying, and her cheeky grin making her eyes disappear beneath the ear to ear glee. I see the little boy: laughing at a joke that was not even funny, climbing to the top of the playground, and yelling for all to hear. I see the infant giggle for the first time. The gloom in my heart scatters. I see the little girl beg me to come to her tea party. The despair fades. I see the little boy ramming his truck into your shin. The depressing reverie turns to abundant laughter.

When Jesus told the world that the kingdom of God belongs to the children, He told us that the kingdom of God is full of laughter, light, innocence, joy. It is seething with belief, trust, and dependence.

The kingdom of God does not belong to the adolescent or the adult. The kingdom of God is not full of worry, concern, depression, cynicism and independence.

It belongs to the children.

Children like Aakar who need the love and care God designed them to receive.

 I believe that God created children to be bundles of joy that would even out the worry and concern of two grown people.

The children of the world, the beautiful children of the world need us.

Joshie

The little smiles of the world need us.

John John

The minds who believe they can do anything need us.

Tanu and Aakar as a young child

The ones who make us smile and forget everything during tragedy need us.

I love you, Baby D!

The ones who laugh at the simplest things need us.

And from the arguments I just raised, I would say that we need them just as much.

Maybe even more so.

To all the children of the world,

Emily 🙂 – signing off

P.S. You can help a little one in need by sponsoring a child, donating to crisis funds, or whatever means you may feel God is calling you to give via one of the following organizations (these are ones I know of) and many more around the world:

Compassion International

Holt International

Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope

Samaritan’s Purse

P.P.S. I promise that by the end of this week I will hopefully have a post regarding my absence since the beginning of May and the lessons I’ve learned. I hate leaving everyone hanging for two months. I will talk to you soon! Sending you much love 🙂