Risky Business

Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!” (Luke 8:48MSG)

This morning, I came across this verse noted in a journal from four years ago and it was exactly what my heart needed to hear.

You see, I used to describe myself as one who doesn’t take risks. When I first moved to Arizona fourteen years ago, I came because it was safe. At that time, I had family who owned a home here so I had a place to land and if it didn’t work out, it would be easy to change course.

Over the course of the years that followed, I did all that I set out to accomplish as far as securing a good career and living comfortably.

In 2005, I made what was somewhat of a risky move by quitting my job to pursue medical school. I say it was only partially risky because I had evaluated my finances and felt secure in that regard with what I was setting out to do.

So with all determination, the risk of not getting into medical school wasn’t even a factor.

And that cost me everything.

This morning, I related to the precious woman in Luke 8 in a whole different light.

In the crowd that day there was a woman who for twelve years had been afflicted with hemorrhages. She had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her. (Luke 8:43-44MSG)

I spent twelve years in Arizona in pursuit of everything I hoped would fulfill me…only to come up short over and over again, and leaving me more desperate with each try…

And eventually I would have to ask others for help, which I needed to learn to do…but not only would I find that they could only do so much, but I would also find that, in some cases, promises would go unmet.

When finances were running low and the opportunity to do some innovative investing presented itself, I quickly asked, “where do I sign?” And just like that, the equity in my home and the proceeds of my 401k were in the hands of another.

When the terms of what I had signed up for were not being upheld, I sought trusted legal counsel to help…and let’s just say, that proved to not be so trusted.

Over the years, I’ve carried lots of shame for the poor decisions I made regarding my finances, namely my 401k.

Like the hemorrhaging woman, after 12 years, I had exhausted all options and was at the end of myself…

So I reached for Him with faith like never before.

But unlike the woman in the Bible, I wasn’t hiding after I did nor did my healing come instantly.

When the woman realized that she couldn’t remain hidden, she knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story—why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed. (Luke 8:47MSG)

I reached for Jesus fully exposed and my healing would come in the experiences and adventures He would lead me on that followed this act of faith…

Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!” (Luke 8:48MSG)

After the first risk, I can’t say it gets any easier because the stakes keep getting higher.

But healing and wholeness is always worth the risk.

Yesterday, I got a job offer. For a job I would have never imagined myself doing and one I didn’t apply for. (Okay, so some backstory is that I applied for a different one with this company but got a quick response that they were pursuing other candidates, so my resume entered their system that way.)

So I like to think that they chose me. Just like He did.

You didn’t choose me. I chose you. (John 15:16NLT)

And what have they chosen me to do, you ask?

Oh, I’ll be working for a financial investment firm helping folks in the area of investing and their 401k.

I laugh.

I don’t believe in karma or revenge.

I believe in the Redeemer and isn’t redemption sweet?!

He has sent redemption to His people; He has ordained His covenant forever; Holy and awesome is His name. (Psalm 111:9NASB)

Free Spirit

I’ve been back in the good ol’ U S of A for one month now. WOW. Where did a month go?

Two things that immediately come to mind are Conrad and cruising.

My nephew continues to light up my world like no child has ever done before. Gosh, there are no words to express the joy of being an aunt. No. Words.

conrad collage1

conrad collage2

And as for cruising goes, having given my car away before I left for Japan, I had to borrow my sister’s wheels.

cruising

And during my cruising, I made some friends along the way. One of them was incredibly perceptive and affirmed what I know to be more and more true, “You keep being the free spirit you are. Don’t ever make plans.”

Thanks, Obie! I’m taking that one to heart.

obie

So after much Conrad and cruising, the plans that I made to visit my old desert home didn’t go as I had planned, but the good news is, they came a little earlier than planned. (Go figure. Thanks again, Obie!)

So I’m back in Arizona, where I moved to after college and spent 12 years of my life. 12 years full of lots of planning, striving, fretting and longing to be anywhere but here.

Yet during the familiar and normally dreadfully long drive from L.A. to Phoenix, I was overly expectant and full of gratitude for how He has redeemed this place (Revelation 21:5). I get to see some of the best people I know.

And I don’t believe it’s where I’m going to settle, but I’m pretty sure it’s a resting place in between where I came from and where I’m going… sigh.

rest area

Again, redemption at its finest.

But of course only He knows, and what I do know is that this once lost soul is found, and embracing the free spirit she was created to be.

I love my Filipino roots, I love the Japanese culture, and I love the country that serves as the birthplace and launching pad for this free spirit.

And I know I’ve been talking non-stop about Japan, but I love you, too, America. There is no place like you and I’m beyond grateful for you. Yesterday, I celebrated your independence and mine, too!

Thanks for the freedom you offer but above all, Jesus, thanks for setting me free.

In the Land of Opportunity, living life in Your Spirit is the best choice I ever made.

sparkler

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. Galatians 5:1

Knight in Shining Armor

Nearly five years ago, he arrived on the scene. And not too early, nor too late, but just in time. He saved the day, helping me navigate the decisions that had to be made and rescuing me from the mess I was in.

I first met his wife while we were both volunteering in the nursery at church and I knew from the moment that I met her that her love was pure and limitless.

So, as a couple, that made for a whole lot of that love.

God totally brought us together in His perfect timing and this precious couple became a steady, loving presence in my life.

gparents

Man, I love how God works. How He intersects our lives just when they need to cross. And I truly don’t know what I would have done over the last five years without them.

I even call them Grandpa and Grandma. What an honor and privilege that went beyond the title. They filled this role in my life, but more importantly, my heart, where there was a definite void.

He is so faithful to fulfill our every need.

And in a land far from home, I received an email yesterday morning with the news that Grandpa is no longer with us.

He went home. He is with Jesus.

As I mourn this loss, it uncovers the depths of my gratitude for Grandpa. I learned so much about God’s grace through his heart. He poured out his love and concern over me in a way that had me constantly wondering what I did to deserve it and also trying to figure out how on earth I could pay him back time and time again…

But grace doesn’t expect anything in return, nor did he. Grace simply gives… and gives… and never stops… because that’s what grace does. Grace doesn’t know anything else.

And Grandpa knew no other way.

He was my knight in shining armor. The grace he came armed with rescued me. And from that point on, my heart was never the same. I will forever be grateful for the love he expressed to me in countless ways on this side of heaven.

And I’m grateful that Grace always rescue me.

gpa

So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. -2 Corinthians 5:6-8