Sunday, January 6, 2013

bye, bye, blogger

I've moved to WordPress with a fancy new name and layout: papyrus will grow

Latest and greatest blog post: freedom must reign

Bye, blogger.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

cornerstones are better than magical feelings (resolutions for 2013)

Update: I'm moving my blog to WordPress. I almost got WP back in 2009, but it was super complicated looking and intimidated me. So I just got Blogger because it's easier to use...or so I thought! After an hour of trying to figure out how to change the font color and background on my blog (it has worked fine in the past but there's a major glitch that other users have had since November), I decided to get a legit blog on the legendary WP. But here is my last post on bold in broken places. Thanks to everyone for your support during Peru and beyond. New blog address to come soon!

I've been writing a lot the past month. Obviously, I haven't published any of it. I have like 10 drafts that I may never publish. They were too much like diary entries...all mopy, depressing, bitter. That's because December 2011 was magical and December 2012 was mediocre in comparison. I "fell in love" with a boy back then, in 2011. It felt magical and even though I'm glad the relationship ended, nothing compares to a Christmas when you're in love. But you love Jesus, so isn't Christmas the best when you're in love with Baby Jesus himself!? No, actually.

Okay, on to my resolutions! You've been waiting on the edge of your seat the past five days for this.

1. Read the Bible everyday. (Kristi. This is so boring. This is like the Christian version of "go to the gym everyday.")

2. Do yoga everyday. (And I thought the Bible one was cliché.)

3. Be more positive and optimistic. (A bit more unique, but so ambiguous.)

Okay, like my alter ego made clear, these aren't very exciting on paper. I've kept all of them so far except I've been sick so I didn't do yoga yesterday. If you don't really know me well, you might think the last one makes no sense. You might think, Kristi, you're really happy and positive already! Well, I'm positive and optimistic in many ways. But I can be super negative. Especially since that boy left me, optimism is really difficult for me. The orphanage also sucked a lot of optimism out of me since so many difficult things happened there.

I realized that my complaining about circumstances in my life weren't helping me or anyone around me, so I'm going to focus on the good. Not like be in denial (I'm terrible at being in denial anyway) about problems. Rather, I will choose to talk about and relish in the good happening in my life, and there is a ton of good to look at.

And even if everything fell apart again like they did almost two years ago in Peru (literally, everything that could go wrong, went wrong), I have the Lord. That's what I miss most about Peru; my absolute, resolute reliance on the Lord. I had no choice. Here in America, I have a lot of images to rely on. My money, family, culture. I didn't have that in Peru and I loved God more then.

And yet, since January 1, 2013, I've felt a great peace come over me. I can't explain it. An answered prayer I would say. After at least 10 years of crying out, "Make me content, Lord! I don't want to be sad like this anymore." I feel like He's answered me. Like everything in my spirit is refreshed and I see nothing but Him. Finally free from lies that I'm not good enough. Finally free from the lie that I have to have a plan and I need to take action on that plan if I'm ever going to be happy.

So I guess my greatest resolution was given to me this year by Christ, "Live freely. With Me in peace and love. Do not feel shame when you stumble. Do not shame those who stumble. Because you are free from all shame, depression, fear, and worry. That is not for you or anyone else."

Praise God for that! Feliz año nuevo!

Monday, October 1, 2012

overcome

"I see Redemption on the horizon."

I wrote that at the end of my last post. It just came to me. I just knew it was true.

A few days later I received an email from the Pasadena International House of Prayer (PIHOP) that would change everything. Back story...

I grew up in a charismatic cult-y (like maybe it was a cult but I'm still deciding) church with some theology issues. Okay, a lot of theology issues. I was turned off to "charismatic" things for a while, although I knew that not everything at the church I grew up in was wrong. There were genuine Christians there after all. I left that church when I was 19.

I met Theresa when I worked at an after-school program in early 2009. She told me about the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, where she interned before working with me. Basically, IHOP is a 24/7 prayer and worship center. Gifts of the Spirit focused. Charismatic. Whatever you want to call it, those people love Jesus. I thought it sounded super cool but had no inclination to go anywhere near Missouri...ever. So, like any child of the millennium would do, I googled other houses of prayer in the LA area. I found one in Pasadena but didn't visit it until months after finding out it existed. I go once with my then-roommate Sheila. It was small and not as exciting as I expected after learning about IHOP KC. I enjoyed it but it wasn't that interesting to me. So I move on with life and occasionally thought, "I should visit that PIHOP place at a 'peak' time with more people, louder music, etc."

I moved to Peru in 2010. One of the long-term volunteers at the orphanage, Liz, shows up and keeps talking about this "supernatural ministry" school she did at her church back home. Sounds weird to me. Then she recommends and lets me borrow a book she read in the school. I don't remember the book's name or author or even that much about it. I remember it was about proclaiming who I am in Christ so it was good stuff. The "supernatural" didn't sound so crazy to me after that.

I get back from Peru in 2011. I pass by PIHOP and see that they've expanded their small operation into the large building next door. I think, "Whoa, what happened to PIHOP?" I heard about their School of Supernatural Ministry (just like the one my friend Liz went to) but knew I couldn't do it since I was just readjusting to American life. I start visiting once in a while with my roommate Kelsey, especially after a difficult breakup with my then-boyfriend in February. When I heard they were doing the supernatural school again this year, I looked into it, but it wouldn't work with my schedule. But my schedule later changed...

Back to the epic email PIHOP sent me...okay, it wasn't quite, "epic." It just said they had extended their application deadline and were going to have an information session the next night. But I knew. I knew. God wanted me to do the crazy-charismatic-gifts-of-the-Spirit-loving-supernatural-Jesus school. I went to the info session to make sure my Discernment Meter wasn't broken. They could have said anything at that meeting because I felt Jesus in all of it. I knew. I know I'm supposed to be in this school.

In the three weeks since beginning the program, I've been a part of physical healing and prophesies. I've had people prophesy over me with complete accuracy (not weird fortune-telling stuff, just confirmation from God on things I already heard from him myself). I've had a woman put her hand on my stomach and pray "fire, fire, fire" over me (I know it's super weird. But I promise, it didn't feel weird...which is even weirder, I know.*) But most important of all, I've worshiped the Lord like never before. And I love him like I never have before. And I trust him like I never have before.

Redemption is here.

Jesus saves. He has lifted me from the crashing waves. He will never leave me.



*Something being weird does not automatically make it wrong or against God. If you're a Christian, keep in mind how weird we are. We believe God sent a human version of himself to die as a sacrifice for our sins. Think about that. That's weird. Read the Bible. There's a lot of weird to be found in there. And Jesus said a lot of weird stuff. He's really weird. So weird is not automatically bad. The Holy Spirit can be a sort of "weird meter" when it comes to people doing stuff like touching your belly while they pray over you. Or when people collapse on the ground during worship. He shows us if it's Jesus weird or bad weird. My belly-fire prayer was Jesus weird :)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

i am done with my graceless heart

A year ago I returned home from my other home, Peru. I wish I could say something profound or interesting about this past year.

I didn't really have reverse culture shock. Sometimes I hate how rich we are in America and how entitled I feel sometimes, but that was going on before Peru. I have learned a lot since returning, but they seem to be the same things as during Peru; God is faithful, He will lift me up, He is my only hope, He reigns.

Of course, there are more specific lessons I've learned (like just because you love someone doesn't mean they're good for you). Lessons about love, poverty, wealth, ideology, hate, church, humans. All were taught to me by the Teacher this past year.

Would you return to Peru? To visit? Absolutely. To live again? Maybe. There are few places the Lord has clearly and specifically told me to go, Peru is one of them. He clearly told me when to leave as well. So, unless He makes it clear that I'm supposed to live there again, I won't make any plans. I'm happy in Pasadena right now. Excited for the Fall. (If you think LA doesn't have proper seasons, try living in Trujillo, Peru for a while.) Excited for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas (although I will miss Peruvian hot chocolate something fierce). The past year was defined as much by Peru as being in Peru was. I see Redemption on the horizon.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

takes away

First of all, I don't like Kutless. I used to when I was 18...for two and a quarter months I liked them. Nothing against them...I just don't think they're very good musicians and I don't like the lead singer's voice. Contemporary Christian music tends to be terrible and they're no exception.

So strangely enough a Kutless song came up on my Hillsong United Pandora station tonight. (Which I was listening to on my iPhone! iPhones are to smartphones as fanny packs are to purses; so convenient and easy to use.) And I didn't immediately hate the song. Turns out, the Lord spoke to me through it.


It's not a very good song, very cliche CCM for sure, however the part about God taking things away stood out to me. The past two years the Lord has taken away a lot. He's given me a lot too; much more than He's taken away for sure. But I've managed to focus on the taking away part. Even when I know why he takes, I'm upset about it. When He took away most of my material possessions and creature comforts when I moved to Peru; when He took away my sense of security at the orphanage; when He took away a man I really cared about in Peru; when He took away Luis; when He took away the orphanage itself from my life; when He took away a man I thought I was going to marry; when He took away a job offer I really wanted.

And now I find myself so crushed by all these things that I can hardly recall all the things He's given me. Too many to list here! How about the most amazing experience of my life volunteering at an orphanage in a completely different and beautiful culture? And a great job as a nanny right after returning home? And an awesome new church community? Yes, all these things and more he has blessed me with. But why do I still find myself wallowing in self-pity? I live in Disneyland for goodness' sake! (I equate America, especially LA, to Disneyland in contrast to Peru. Seriously, people.)

I don't know yet. I could give you cliche answers like the Enemy has lied to me or my "flesh" is deceiving me. Both are true to some extent I'm sure. But I do know that He will change me. Change me so that I will embrace the times where He takes away. My prayer is that I no longer care whether He gives or takes away; I pray that I know that He is good either way.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

burnt rice

I wrote this at the beginning of March 2012. I didn't publish it then because I didn't want him to see it. Now I don't care if he sees it. I just need everyone to know I'm not okay. I still feel this way most days. Especially lately.

I'm not sure if I'll publish this.

I'm not even sure what I want to write.

I want to talk about my broken heart.

But I don't want you to judge me for it.

I remind myself all the time that I'm not the first one to have a broken heart. I look at random people and think, "I'm sure someone has broken their heart before and they're functioning fine. They look okay." But then I remember that I look okay to most people too. When you look at me I look like an average young woman just doing my thing. But I feel like my heart will never be the same, like my soul is forever wounded. Because I was abandoned. Abandoned by someone I thought loved me.

I think of my kids (I can't think of them any other way other than my kids) at the orphanage a lot because of my heartbreak this past month. This short, but far too long month. Many of those precious children were abandoned by their families. The one group of people that we all agree should never leave you. That is heartbreak. I do not know how their souls function after that kind of abandonment. They inspire me to move past this to brighter days filled with laughter and love with those who care for me.

I think I said too much. But then I look at random people and think, "I'm sure they've said too much before and they're functioning fine. They look okay."

Saturday, October 1, 2011

buttoned down


"It was curious to think that the sky was the same for everybody, in Eurasia or Eastasia as well as here. And the people under the sky were also very much the same--everywhere, all over the world, hundreds or thousands of millions of people just like this, people ignorant of one another's existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same--people who had never learned to think but were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world." - George Orwell, 1984

I've been back almost a month now. I got a sweet nanny job with an awesome family. I'm living in the girls house in Pasadena again. I can't even avoid speaking some Spanish at least once a week. I love LA.

America is weird and magical. I started off with that vacation feeling I had in June when I visited for Mer's wedding. I often feel like Peru was a dream. It could have been. I have a vivid imagination. The only proof I have are the pictures, the facebook friends, and the Spanish skill. I've been re-reading 1984 so I'm half-convinced that the government was a part of it all. I never lived at an orphanage in Peru. I never knew those amazing children. I never met those amazing women and men who work hard to love those children. But then it happens.

I remember the Lord.

And I remember everything all at once. I remember all the joy, pain, adventures, and people like I was there yesterday. I remember the lessons as if I learned them in my earliest memories. I remember God's faithfulness. I remember the promises He made to me before going to Peru. It's going to kick your butt, Kristi. I'm going to teach you things you never thought you needed to learn. I remember how He kept all his promises.

A word to the wise. When you ask me how Peru was, don't expect me to know. I really don't know. I don't think I'll ever know. I know I was blessed. I know that God was faithful. The best answer I can give you is that Peru was everything. Every adjective you can imagine in English and Spanish is exactly what Peru was.