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Beauty in All Things

This is the post excerpt.

I once heard someone use the words “beauty from ashes” to describe what came from a difficult situation.  But after looking at a fire pit, I think it takes a lot of imagination to see any beauty in it.  Society tends to associate beauty with perfection or things that please the eye.  Some people argue that “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”  While this saying holds some element of truth, I know that there are situations in which finding beauty seems impossible. Death, sickness, and hunger are just a few places where nothing beautiful is easily found.  When people hear those words, they don’t associate them with beauty but with words such as terrifying, harmful, and nauseating.   Is it possible that there is beauty in all things or is beautiful just an adjective that gets thrown around with nouns like princesses and flowers?  Is it possible that the greatest tragedies can be laced with beauty?  I believe that something beautiful can come out of the worst situations.  I believe this because of my personal life experience.

My first days on earth were characterized by what most people consider terrifying and without beauty.  Death, illness, and separation were my closest friends and certainly nothing beautiful could come from those.  My birth resulted in my mother’s death.  My mother’s death resulted in separation from my twin, placing me in an unloving environment.  My unloving environment meant a future of servanthood known as modern day slavery.  The family that took me in did not care for me nor did they really love me.  I was left alone in a hammock each day, barely fed, and definitely not loved.  This led to severe illness and ultimately I was knocking at death’s doors.  As my sickness increased, my care decreased.  Why care for a baby that does not have the potential of doing what she was brought to do?

If this was the end of the story, it would be very difficult to find any form of beauty!  But it wasn’t!  There was a plan far larger than any of us could imagine: a plan that God knew even before my twin and I were created in our mother’s womb.  Thousands and thousands of miles away a couple had experienced their own struggles and darkness.  They could not birth children and their first attempt at adoption fell through.  With one email, a flicker of beauty appeared for them and for me.  Almost immediately, they began pursuing me in my darkness.  As the family began to pursue me, they also went after my twin.  Adoption in Cambodia was very difficult and no hope was seen.  The family continuously prayed about us and knew we were what God had planned for them.  They kept pursuing us.  In the process of all of this, there was a young lady in Cambodia named Tavy who reunited my brother and I.   My soon to be parents were overjoyed and realized why God did not let them have kids of their own.

If I was not adopted I would have been orphaned, a slave, lost, and without hope.  My life would have probably ended shortly after my mother gave birth to me.  But because of God, there is more beauty in my life than I could ever explain.  My adoption is just a little glimpse of that beauty.  Not only did I find something beautiful, my parents found something beautiful in me.  My mother says it the best, “My heavy empty arms became light when I first held you.”  Not only was I in a family who truly loved and cared for me, I was also reunited with my twin brother and we were family again.  Not only did I get a family, I was introduced to Christ and became a part of His family.  That is beauty that can never be taken away from me.

And now 17 years later, I will be beginning my next journey in Shawnee, Oklahoma at Oklahoma Baptist University where I will be studying Nursing.  Even though I am not saying a final goodbye to my overseas life, it’s still heartbreaking to think about the people, the places, and the communities I am leaving behind.  Because those past experiences have shaped me to be who I am today.  So as I continue this journey called life at OBU, I hope to meet exciting people, travel to fascinating places, and most importantly grow closer to The Lord.

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Living Life Where God has Placed You

Here’s to having the best roommate in the world, learning how to take college midterms, playing on intramural teams, experiencing college life, and so so so much more!  These past couple of weeks have been full of exciting adventures but I could not be happier that it is fall break.  Being at OBU has been such a blessing even though culture shock is hitting me.  I have only been at OBU for two months and in America for five months but it is definitely beginning to be a place I can call home.  I know many people ask MKs and TCKs if it is weird to be back? or if we feel like Americans?  My response to them is always, “I feel American until I am in America.”  As MKs and TCKs we never feel like we have a home or our hearts are always in another country and that is completely normal. But I have come to realize that we need to challenge ourselves and reflect on our lives.  Because once we come “home” we are out of that stage and can really evaluate and reflect on what The Lord has done in our lives.

These past couple of weeks, The Lord has really showed me where I was in my faith when I lived overseas.  I moved to Europe with a more conservative mind set than how I left.  Because I have lived my whole life abroad I am just now truly understanding how culture affects who you are and how you live your life.  When you move to another country your body, mind, and heart go through so many transitions without even knowing it.  Culture is a huge influence on your life and can change you without realizing it.  From living in Prague, I have come to realize how much my values, views, and walk with Christ have changed.  I had one of the best experience in Europe, but I can confidently say to this day, those were the hardest years of my life.  I never walked away from The Lord but I was really close to.  Thankfully, senior year, The Lord brought a very dear person into my life and she is the reason I still have a relationship with Christ. She truly invested in my life, encouraged me to pursue what I was passionate about, and most importantly seek The Lord even when it feels like he is a thousand miles away.   It is incredible how one person can have such a powerful influence on your life.

Though I was challenged and pushed to walk away from The Lord I would never change the experience I had in Europe because looking back I can see The Lord was preparing me for my life in America.  I am beyond blessed to have my two closest friends be MKs.  Rylea and Mallory have been with me in my beautiful days but most importantly with me in my ugliest times.  They constantly pursue me toward Christ and help live a life that glorifies him.  I know it has been a short time on Bison Hill but I can truly call them my dearest friends.  I love that my school is mission minded, and that the relationships are intentional.  I have my days,  but overall as an MK, I have had one of the best and easiest transitions back into America.  I encourage you to seek The Lord, find a solid group of friends, and live life to the fullest where ever The Lord has placed you.

 

First Week DOOOOWNNN!

1 Chronicles 16:11

“Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.”

I can officially say I finished my first week of college!! This first week is the start to an exciting year at OBU.  Everyone here is very welcoming and encouraging.  My dorm is full of sweet girls, with an RA who truly cares about us as Individuals.  These last couples of days, I have gone through so many emotions, challenges, and joys but through them all I have learned to truly make The Lord a part of my daily life.  Now, I know this might sound cheesy and of course I have heard this a thousand times.  But believe me! It really makes a difference.

This week, every inch of me has screamed HOMESICKNESS!!!  In fact, I am pretty sure I have killed people by saying “I MISS PRAGUE!!”  I know, I have only been two and half months away from Prague and only a week and a half on campus .  But what can I say?  It is a real thing… I miss Prague, I miss the people, and I just don’t know anything.  Honestly, I think that is the toughest part! I am not familiar with anything, anywhere, or anyone and that is completely okay.

Through this time, I have really tried seeking The lord and in my devotional times, I have learned that seeking The Lord is really the only thing that can satisfy all your needs.  The needs to know people, to be connected, and to understand what is happening.  It encourages me to live for him, to find those who need a friend, and to put others before myself.  When I focus on The Lord, all of a sudden my problems seem small and those around me become way more important.  The Lord is always there for us! So I encourage you to seek The Lord daily because he will satisfy and comfort you no matter how lonely, sad, and confused you feel.   Connect with people and be the bridge for someone who needs a friendship.  Take that awkaward step and make them feel welcomed because you never know how one, small gesture will affect one person.

 

 

Welcome to Bison Hill

KA-RIP KA-RAP KA-RIPLO TYPLI TAP

OH! OH! RINCTO LINCTO HIO-TOTIMUS

HOPULA SCIPULA COUPLA GOTIMUS

CHINK-TO-LACK CHINK-TO-LEE

KA-WILLA KA-WALLA KA-VICOTORY

OH! OH! HOOGALA CHOOGULA CHOOGULA CAN.

RAGULA TAGULA MELICAN MAN

LET’ER GO RIP, LET’ER GO RUSE

TINGULA TANGULA, TURN’ERN A-LOOSE

ZIP! BANG! OBU!

Mallory and I FINALLY moved into our new place called WMU! Though it was very crazy and overwhelming, we both could not be happier to have a place we can call home.  This week has been full of excitement, anxiousness, and cluelessness but we are very blessed to have an MK/TCK family on campus.  My encouragement to all the new freshman beginning universities in the states and around the world is to stay connected to your roots.  I know when we move back and forth constantly the first couple of months in a new city can be rough! NOT JUST A LITTLE BUT A LOT! The longing to fit in right away can make you feel insecure, unwanted, and lonely.   And trust me, I know this because I have gone through this process my whole life.  So as much as I am encouraging y’all I  am encouraging myself to bloom where I am and to really focus on where God has called me to be.  Be who you are as an MK/TCK but also get to know the culture around you.  Do not disown who you are because people do not understand where you come from, but rejoice in the fact you had the experiences and can share them with those around you.  Enjoy the school year and get plugged in on campus.  GO BISONS!!!!!!

 

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