My Rock

I am so hungry for affirmation.

What’s wrong with me? I want to be so comfortable in my own skin. Inside and out.

But dang, you know what’s worse? What’s worse is when I actually receive affirmation and it doesn’t do anything for me.

What then? I drive myself nuts.

And that’s why. Why I MUST look to Him. MY ROCK, MY SALVATION. He is solid and secure and unmoving. And He saves me from myself.

Because believe you me, I need rescuing. And He does it over and over again.

And I’m grateful.

Thank you, Jesus.

The LORD lives, and blessed be MY ROCK, and exalted be the God of MY SALVATION— Psalm 18:46

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Humbled M.E.

I wanted to be a doctor because I had this amazing uncle who was a general surgeon. And not only was he highly gifted in his trade, he was a man of integrity and incredibly charismatic. And generous. So generous. I wanted to impact people in my professional and personal life as he did. I wanted to give like he gave.

((Enter my cultural background))

I’m so often asked, “Where are you from?”

I reply, “Ohio.”

They ask again, “No, where are you from?”

I smugly (yes, I confess) reply, “Well, my parents are from the Philippines.”

That said, I have AMAZING parents. They sacrificed so much for me. They set out to start and raise a family in the United States… the land of opportunity.

They had high hopes for me. And true to our culture, I wanted to be able to provide for them financially at this point in my life.

But, that’s just not the case. And the shame around that is surfacing as I move forward… as a missionary.

Oh my. I said it. I’ve put it to paper. I am about to embark on a journey that will require me to fully depend on God for everything like never before, and this includes my finances.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKS.

It’s hard enough for me to ask for a ride to the airport… what more of money???

I’ve been dragging my feet on raising support, which was was never part of my plan.

I planned to use the severance pay I was blessed with a few months back to cover my tuition and the rest of my expenses would come from my savings…

Because depleting my savings is far better than asking for help on this journey… right?!?

WRONG. I’m sooooo wrong and so very humbled in recognizing my need. I cannot do this alone. I just can’t… nor am I supposed to. That’s not His desire for me.

And I have this reminder in my Bible of His provision. This $20 bill was given to me by a woman named Rosie who I met while attending a church during a visit to Salmon, Idaho back in December. From our conversation I don’t believe she had much to give, but she handed this to me and said, “Merry Christmas!” And I haven’t spoke with her since, but am grateful for the tangible reminder of God’s faithfulness through her.

And in His faithfulness He blew me away through my folks… who I felt did not receive my plans for missions school so well at first… and I just revealed the shame I’m working through… and I owe them so much money… so I would have NEVER considered asking them for financial support…

And I didn’t have to, they offered. My heart had received the blessing it longed for from them and I was floored by a financial blessing that came with it.

And then, a couple I’ve never met but who are close to one of my dear friends in Japan wanted to give to me. And this, turned into a huge blessing.

I just love how my Heavenly Father is so gentle with me. He knows my fear. He knows my shame… I give it all to Him. He takes it and in exchange I receive greater grace. sigh.

James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

Jesus, please keep on humbling me.

Decisions, Decisions…

Seven years ago, I stepped out in faith leaving an incredibly lucrative position in pharmaceutical sales to pursue my desire to become a physician. And in doing so, I lost EVERYTHING. I’m telling you everything… my wonderful home, my 401k (which was looking pretty nice), my great credit… not to mention, I was so focused on this goal that I’m not sure I made time and space available in my life to “meet someone.” And may I also note that I had zero debt prior to this pursuit, and now I’m carrying around a good chunk of it in student loans and to my folks.

At the beginning of this year, I finally let go of all aspirations of a career in the medical field and I stepped out in faith with an open heart fully surrendered to whatever God had for me…

And He has blown me away.

The last seven years included rejection after rejection… and just when I thought it was over, came another… but in just five months He has blown my mind with acceptance after acceptance… and just when I think it’s too good to be true, another…

And the cry of my heart has been stability. In a relationship, in a home, in a career… something… anything.

And on the same note, I’ve felt the burden to restore all that I’ve lost and eradicate my financial debt… after all, that is the responsible thing to do, right? And I believe I am an incredibly responsible person…

But when the opportunity for stability and responsibility presented itself just a few weeks ago working as a Graduate Admissions Manager for the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver, I begrudgingly accepted.

Because there is another cry of my heart that has been buried deep but has been surfacing… one of adventure and risk…

And literally within 24 hours of my grumbling turning to joy, God blew me away with an acceptance to the Harvest School of Missions. I was floored and though I had wanted this so bad, the confusion with my recent change of heart and having let go of the possibility stifled my excitement and joy.

I had two wonderful opportunities to choose from and am grateful for friends who believed and prayed that both would work out in my favor. But it came down to one and I wish I was sharing this with sheer joy and excitement that I am headed to Mozambique, Africa in October to attend the Harvest School of Missions… I so want to be bursting forth with joy…

But the part of me that desperately wants comfort and stability and security… to do the most responsible thing… to do what makes sense… is screaming loud and clear…

Not to mention that with the decision I’ve made comes a new level of faith that I’m learning is so much easier said than done… and part of that includes standing firm in it in spite of the lack of support from some of those dearest to me…

And I confess that the decision I’ve made doesn’t make sense in my head… but my heart knows, it knows…

I KNOW I am following my heart, which only means one thing… I am following HIM.

And while it doesn’t make sense, I know that the one thing in my life that makes the most sense is Jesus and His unending, unconditional love for me.

So the decision to follow Him and fall deeper into His love is the right one… Every. Single. Time.

The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.  –Blaise Pascal

This was on my place setting one evening for dinner while visiting my bestfriend Leah and her family. Sweet Kate, her six-year old daughter, drew a picture for each of us. But what was super special for me… I was the only to receive a heart next to my name. ;)
From my journal on 7-6-11.
Habakkuk 2
The Message
1 What’s God going to say to my questions? I’m braced for the worst. I’ll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon.
I’ll wait to see what God says,
how he’ll answer my complaint.
2-3And then God answered: “Write this.
Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters
so that it can be read on the run.
This vision-message is a witness
pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
It’s on its way. It will come right on time.

 

What is He saying?

So much to write, not sure where to begin… I’m chuckling inside thinking about how the seemingly important things in life are just not what I feel most compelled to share. That is, the update on work, where I’ll live, etc. Actually, I am going to share a little but it’s so secondary…

Since my last update, I learned from that particular Apple Store that they were not interested in moving forward with me. I knew it wasn’t a good fit and I admit, the old me would have wanted their approval… dare I say, needed it?! I’m pleased to say that this approval-seeking girl is becoming all grown up!!

And then, I heard from the University of Denver… they did want me!!! BUT, this bratty little girl has had her mind on missions school that she couldn’t be immediately grateful and overjoyed by this opportunity!! Oh Lord, have mercy! And of course, He does… He loves me in my grumbling and even sustains me in the midst of it (Exodus 16).

A few days ago I had a lunch date with a dear and beautiful friend who I’ve met since moving to Colorado and we shamefully admitted our Israelite ways. And she also shared a story of becoming reacquainted with someone by asking, “What is God speaking to your heart these days?”

So in my quality time (because this is hands down my love language) with Jesus this morning, I want to let you in on our dialogue…

Me: What are you saying to me, Lord?

Him: Fear not, for I have redeemed  you; I have called you by name, you are mine… Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you… (Isaiah 43: 1,4)

Me: Thank you that you are my Father who delights in me and approves of me.

Him: I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as Lord. (Hosea 2:19-20)

Me: Thank you for being my Husband who provides and loves me unconditionally.

Him: O barren one, you who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child! For the [spiritual] children of the desolate one will be more than the children of the married wife… (Isaiah 54:1)

Me: Thank you for making me a mother.

When I decided to follow Him to Colorado, I felt a lot like Abraham responding to the call to simply, “Go.” And I came not knowing exactly where or what. And along the way, I have begun to jump ahead anticipating where He is taking me, placing trust in my expectations and hoping in what I feel is best.

And in times like this, I always hear Him say, My thoughts are completely different from yours… And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8)

This morning He also reminded me that, In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. (Isaiah 30:15)

God called me to Colorado and I came unsure of just where I would land… I thought it was Colorado Springs and recently I was sure it was Boulder (and to put it all out there, I have started to believe it was just transition on the way to Mozambique, Africa!). And I have been sitting in Psalms 107 since the end of last year and verses 4-7 say this:

Some wandered in the desert, lost and homeless. Hungry and thirsty, they nearly died. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and He rescued them from their distress. He led them straight to safety, to a city where they could live.

While I have enjoyed my time in Denver, it was never where I thought He would have me… and I still hesitate to fully settle in. I’m not sure why but I continue to take things one day at a time, trusting that His ways are so much higher…

And so my response to all of this?

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Child-like Faith

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything here, and it’s not because I haven’t had anything to share… in fact, now I’ve waited so long I feel like I have so much to write about! God has continued to pour out His unending love, grace and mercy on me, and I’m so stinking blessed.

I still have no job and no permanent place to live, but I feel so happy and free. And I’m at a place where my heart knows trust like never before… and I don’t want to leave this place… EVER.

Just a month ago, He spoke these words to my heart. And I have responded with child-like faith, with an overwhelming confidence in my Father’s love for me… and at 34 years old, I can wholeheartedly say I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Thank you, Jesus.

Child, be free! You have come to me and you are safe with me. And like a good Daddy, I am watching over you and you are free to be you. I want you to just be you. Nobody else.  Play like Michele wants to play. Sing like Michele desires to sing. Laugh as loud and as much as you would like. There is no judgment here. You are free to be. To be you. And you are here with me. Always. Always. Always. You never leave the comfort and safety net of me, Your Father. Your Daddy. I hold you in my arms and I keep you safe and there is no uncertainty and fear with me. Remember, my perfect LOVE casts out all fear. And in me, you will find rest. Only I can offer you the true rest that you seek. Only in me. So, come, my child, come to my arms and never leave. I will never let you go. Never. Never. Never. I will hold you in my arms and you will be safe. When the world tries to pick on you, I protect you. I say, “She is my child. Leave her alone. She knows the love of her Father and she won’t let you get to her. Your teasing will not harm my little one. She is little and she is precious, but she is also STRONG. She is so strong, because she knows I have her. She knows I protect her, I watch over her, and I don’t let anyone hurt my precious child. No way. No how. No one hurts my beautiful, precious, lovely Michele Grace. No one.”

I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it. Mark 10:15

Love this.

My umoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord. Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is “my strong habitation whereto I can continually resort.” I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In earth I wander, but in God I dwell in quiet habitation.

Excerpt from Charles Spurgeon’s Mornings and Evenings

My umoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord. Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is “my strong habitation whereto I can continually resort.” I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In earth I wander, but in God I dwell in quiet habitation.

Excerpt from Charles Spurgeon’s Mornings and Evenings