Category Archives: Beginnings

Popping in and out of chalk drawings

It’s so great to be back in Thailand.

Coming back really has been like stepping back into a movie of my past. I have been regaling my roommate with old recollections I have as we explore the town (It’s more of a re-exploring experience for me). I am sure she is tired of it.

Everywhere I go, my old high school, the night market, the mall–I watch a newsreel, black and white yet oh so colorful, of memories from my past. I stand in a place and the clip plays and I watch the younger version of myself. It sometimes feels like I am Mary Poppins, popping in and out of chalk paintings into a different place and time.

Don’t worry. I am not going crazy or hallucinating nor do I have a mosquito-born illness. Bear with me.

I went up to a look out spot on Doi Suthep (a mountain here) and stumbled upon a little rustic dorm-like retreat place. I can’t place the memory I had there. I vaguely remember going to a youth group camp there back in my early middle school years. But, I am not entirely sure. I very well could have made that memory up.

It’s neat to remember how God grew me here. I feel like such a different person now. Walking through the memories reminds me of His faithfulness, how He has answered prayers and promises that were fulfilled.

I am thrilled with the prospect of making new memories here that I will remember when I am older. (Older as in at least 35).

Someone asked me if I was disappointed I didn’t move somewhere new. The answer is most certainly no. Chiang Mai has been the one place that has consistently felt like home in my years of moving. I can’t describe what a blessing it is to come back.

Now, if you had asked me as a middle or high schooler whether I could have ever imagined myself back here as a 22-year-old, I probably would have told you I couldn’t fathom what it would be like to be that old.

My brother Taylor thinks I am old. You see, when you are in high school, graduating college seems like eons. College goes by faster than high school though. I think he wonders why I am not married yet. Twenty-two is not that old, I tell him.

“Suurrrrreeeeee.”

30 is the new 20. Right?

Don’t every underestimate the God’s ability to use past haunts to remind you of His love, lessons and faithfulness. Maybe take time to revisit places from your past. You may find healing, find a misplaced newsreel memoir and maybe you’ll learn something about yourself.

“We all feel the riddle of the earth without anyone to point it out. The mystery of life is the plainest part of it … Every stone or flower is a hieroglyphic of which we have lost the key ; with every step of our lives we enter into the middle of some story which we are certain to misunderstand,” G.K. Chesterton.

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It’s the Climb

View from my balcony

You know the song, “The Climb,” by Miley Cyrus? I’m not too keen on Miley as an artist or individual, but I can’t help but think about her song now that I am back in my new-old environment.

My last two years of high school we lived near the international school I went to and later graduated from. We had a great house. I had a room with a king size bed and a balcony that faced Doi Kham (a mountain). I loved sitting on the balcony and reading my Bible, praying and contemplating life and its intricacies. I had some great times with the Lord. It was a great time of solace. Those were the times that I felt most keenly the “Sacred Romance” John Eldredge writes about.

Now, I am back in Chiang Mai–my hometown. I’m here not as a high school student in pleated skirts and polos but as a recent college grad with a career. I’ve landed my dream job at 22. I’m not here for play like I was before. I have responsibilities. I am here by myself. I am going to be doing ministry as a single– not a family. I have an awesome, light-filled apartment in a bustling part of town that has several coffee shops and a plethora of eateries. It is very convenient. Where we lived before was kind of out in the boonies.

Guess what? I have a balcony. Actually, in the apartment there are a total of four. Yes. Three of the balconies face a mountain. I almost cried with joy when I first walked into the apartment. It’s more than a balcony–it’s communion with God. I’m reminded of His glory every time I look out. I am reminded of what He has done for me, the lessons I’ve learned and the victories He’s granted. I look out and see the city I love so much.

But this time, the mountain is Doi Suthep, which is a much taller mountain. How fitting that it it’s a bigger mountain. It fits my new role here. There’s more challenge now. With challenge though, there is adventure and we all know how much I love adventures. And adventure, as I’m learning, is the pursuit of a Sacred Romance with God.

So to get back to our teen phenom, several lines in her song, “The Climb” popped out at me.

“There’s always gonna be another mountain.” This has proven true. “I’m always going to want to make it move.” I don’t want to make my mountains move. Instead of looking at mountains as a challenge, look at them as an adventure–a mystery.

Valleys, in the Christian metaphor world, are usually synonymous with low times in life. They are associated with the times you are far from God. “Mountain top experiences” usually denote a time of closeness with God. Mountains can be fearful and make you sit in awe. God is a powerful God. It’s good to have a reverent fear of God. I think that is the beauty of mountains. They make me think of Him and how powerful and awesome He is.

So I don’t want to make my mountains move. I know that mountains can also be an obstacle–in that you have to get around or over them to see the life/future on the other side. It doesn’t really bother me what’s on the other side of Doi Kham and Doi Suthep. As Miley said, “It’s the climb.” It’s not what’s on the other side. It’s the lessons we learn on our climb up the mountain. It’s the intimacy with God that comes from the challenge presented.

It’s the adventure we all crave.

Don’t look at mountains in your life and be dismayed and discouraged. Look at them as a chance to find intimacy, solace and learn lessons in your walk with Christ. It’s about running the race in a manner worthy of winning the prize. The mountains in our lives are there for a reason and a season. Allow God to use them to grow you and remind you how great His love is for you.

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asia again at last

I am back in Asia!

It is good to be back in familiar stomping grounds. I am currently in Taipei, Taiwan, with my family. I will be here until Jan. 2nd then I head to Thailand.

My brother Taylor and I will fly to Chiang Mai together.

Stay tuned for more news from the Orient!

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What is the butterfly effect?

It’s a chaos theory.

No, I’m not a science fiction fan or conspiracy theorist.

Some scientists and theorists believe that a butterfly’s wings might create itty bitty alterations in the earth’s atmosphere that could possibly change the path of a tornado or create a hurricane. According to the butterfly effect theory, the flapping wing represents a small change that can cause a chain of events leading to large-scale alterations of events.

“Theory states: a butterfly could flap its wings and set molecules of air in motion, which would move other molecules of air, in turn moving more molecules of air — eventually capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the planet.”

It’s a ripple effect. One small act by one small insignificant creature can change the course of history.

Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the outcome and direction of the tornado would be different. The butterfly doesn’t provide the energy to shift the tornado. It does “cause” it in the sense that the flap of its wings is an essential part of the initial conditions resulting in a tornado. Without that flap, that particular tornado would not have existed.

We’re small and insignificant creatures on our own. But, unlike the butterfly, we are created in His image and to honor and bring glory to God. Our acting in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s leading is a part of a divine plan and we can make a difference through our actions.

Butterflies hold a special meaning for me. To me, they symbolize spiritual birth and renewal. They are a sign of new life. As I embark on this journey in Asia, I hope that God will use me to create a butterfly effect.

By flapping my wings, I hope to be a change in another person’s life. I am not the initial cause or source of the change, God is.

I pray that as you and I embark on this journey we would allow God to use us to make the flap that changes someone’s eternity. You can do that from anywhere in the world and I pray you’d embark on your own journey to create a butterfly effect.

You play an integral part in this journey. Your prayers and commitment to partner are a vital flap of the butterfly’s wing. Your journey in your sphere of influence is one only you can take and one that the Lord has ordained. Use your days wisely and follow His leading.

I’m excited to be sharing this adventure with you.

butterfly

The butterfly effect

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