An Inside Look

This week has been very eventful, especially this weekend, so yeah….let me just get into it then.

I guess I could see the foundations cracking every so slowly, but it all caved in on Thursday night. Post-Yorba Linda Leadership dinner, I came back home and everything just crushed me. It was weird, so out of the blue. In that moment, I needed Christine, so I e-mailed her. I hadn’t really talked to her about things that were going on with me for a long time, but in that time when I just needed a friend, I just ran to her.

It’s been a pretty eventful 2014 so far. I’ve heard a lot of things about people around me, really sad things. I’ve heard other things around me, hurtful things. And then there are other things, things that have forced me to step back and evaluate who I thought I was. I would take the course in saying, “I have no reason to complain. There are so many people that have it worse than me.” But that doesn’t change the fact that it still affected me.

Anyways, Friday. I got a response from Christine. Very very sweet. I never regret going to her, she knows me so well at this point. She told me she loved me and that she would always be there, and that she was proud of me; it all made me cry lol

That day, I was also talking to Edna and she invited me to her church service that night. I was saying that I would maybe come, depending if Grace wanted to go with me, but after telling her that I had never watched Passion of the Christ, she said, “Esther, I really think you should come. I wouldn’t normally say this, but I really  think you would like it.” So then I went, watched the movie and joined their vesper service.

It was awesome. It was amazing. I have always had a hard time taking the Bible literally. Like, it’s been hard not associating it with just some quotes or stories that act as compasses for your life. But seeing the film, seeing it acted out, it made me realize that Jesus was an actual person, that actually meant us to do what He said. He REALLY wants us to love our neighbor, He really is telling me that those that are brokenhearted are blessed, He does love me. And maybe it’s a “duh” thing to you, but I didn’t get it until now. That moment when Mary was running to Jesus, and there’s that flashback to when Mary would run to him when he was a child, totally broke me. As a mother, how could she handle that pain? How? Then after He’s been beaten and ridiculed, for Him to still love his abusers…it was powerful to see. And in the light of all this, of course I should, no, I want to love, because He loved me like that.

Saturday, went to church and it was really nice. Then in the afternoon I went back to Edna’s church for their Passion Experience which is like an interactive look at the events leading up to the cross. They give you headsets as you walk through different rooms, designed to look like various places in the Bible (the garden of Gethsemane, Pilate’s court, the upper room, etc.). It was really nice. At one of the scenes, I couldn’t relate to Peter and how he felt as he denied Jesus 3 times. I then, pretended Sally was Jesus, and how I would have felt then. One of the people that I love most in the world, the person that I want to protect and not want anything bad to happen to…Sally, whom I will fiercely fight for till the end, beaten and flogged, then me, denying her. Each time I denied her, my heart just sank. I can’t imagine the guilt Peter must have felt. If I felt that way towards Sally, how would he have felt towards Jesus?

After the experience, I saw Edna and Shelly waiting for me. Edna had come to talk about our experience. She asked us what we thought and how we felt about it. I don’t know why but at the end, I broke down and told them something that was bothering me. It was weird, I’m not very open, but I’m not sure what it was about that time. Shelly took my hand and Edna came to my side. They were like two angels next to me. Shelly said one of the kindest things that I have ever heard, she said how despite my past, that she thought I was a good person, and that I turned out really well. It was something that I have always wanted to hear. And she gave it to me, God finally gave me those words. She cried with me too, it was so sweet. It was like she was hurting with me, and I loved her for it. With Shelly I felt the sweet remedy of the Gospel, with Edna, I got the fierce defense of a sister.

This is more like a diary entry, but I’m writing it to remember it. I have never experienced the cross in this way, its reality, and I don’t ever want to forget it. From Thursday when everything was caving on top of me, to Friday when I received Christine’s sweet e-mail that reminded me I have people by my side and then Good Friday worship when I got to see the reality of the cross played out. Then to Saturday, today, where that reality was again reminded and reinforced by the Passion experience, then to trusting my friends who then didn’t tell me I was exaggerating or being petty, but hurt with me. All ending with this moment here, coming back from Jeremy’s house, laughing with my M1 class and Kiwon and Grace. It’s been a memorable weekend.

Things happen in life that are really bad. You can be stunned by people’s inhumanity and uncompassion, yet the cross still stands. Jesus expects us to love, forgive, to be happy, they’re not just words to make us feel better, they’re things for us to practice. The Bible isn’t just a book of proverbs, but something that is true.

I guess that’s why I’m writing this post. I haven’t written something like this in a while, but I wanted to say that if you’re feeling low, know that the cross is the greatest hope. And that the words of the Bible aren’t just sweet nothings, they hold weight. Why? Because Jesus died for those beliefs, it actually happened. He proved the validity and truth of His words by His death. And what was the greatest embarrassment, most humiliating, most painful thing to have ever have happened became the moment of greatest grace, power, love, and triumph.

Jesus loves me, and He loves you too. Believe it.

MON20

I’ve become very bad with introspection. While in Cambodia, I did it every single day, but after not doing it for a while, I’m more uncomfortable with the silence and I run out of things to say to myself.

I’ve been in a funk these days. Not those depressed, sad, lonely kind of funks, but just…I guess I just don’t know where life is headed right now. My daily activities simply consist of studying, along with those core daily practices needed to survive. Is this it then? I just feel like jellyfish, just being carried by my daily duties. And don’t get me wrong, I think that being busy is one of life’s most underrated gifts, but when life becomes cyclical and that’s all it is, it makes you question of there will be any end to it.

I went on my old tumblr and read through my very first blog posts. It’s so crazy how I wrote that when I was a freshman. I read my words and I think how brave I was to share my deep longing for Christ with the world. I think if I could be as open and honest with people now…I don’t know, probably not. And this isn’t consciously, I think that the boundaries of openness and vulnerability that I’m willing to go just don’t reach as far as they once did. Which, I think, is normal as you get older.

As I read my worries about school, I smile about it now. Remembering how school was everything to me back then, I wish I could have told myself back then that everything would be okay. And that I’m here, in Loma Linda Medical School. But more importantly, I wish I could tell myself that Christianity, a relationship with Christ, it’s a slippery road. It’s so easy to let go, but it takes a great deal of effort to keep moving forward. Yet, those times when things get hard and you let go, it’s regrettable.

I’ve been reflecting on my spiritual life a lot these past couple of days. And one word keeps coming up–accessory. My relationship with God has simply become an accessory that beautifies my life, when instead, it should be it entirely, it should be the center. I look at my spiritual walk, and to be completely honest, it’s been this Christian-not Christian-Christian pattern time and time again. I think if I have ever truly committed myself to God and not let go when things got comfortable, or I realized that I could do things on my own.  I see this trajectory and I don’t want this to be it. I don’t want my life to just be comprised of these high, pie-in-the-sky moments where I’m just elated and feel so blessed to be a Christian. They simply just get me by: I am able to share God’s impact in my life and able to share sermons and I know my Bible well enough to give Sabbath School. But to live a life that is totally immersed in Him, to have Christ oozing out of me in every interaction and every word that I speak, in times of loneliness and misunderstanding, to be alone with God and that solve my problems instead of filling that part of me with social interactions or TV shows, that’s what I want.

I don’t want to do this hot-lukewarm thing anymore. It’s really tiring, and as I’m writing and thinking about all of this, I know that the answer is that I need to retire into the arms of Christ. Rest…true rest….peace…comfort…life is so tiring, so stressful, jam-packed with hurt, and yet, Jesus, the ruler of everything asks us to come to Him. Isn’t that just crazy? It is such a outrageous thing to ask of us. And the fact that people believe Him and do it, that’s even crazier. I guess that makes me a lunatic, for hoping and investing in it

. Knowing, and experiencing how God has been faithful and healing, I can take this next step in my life–being consistent. Here’s to 2014. Hopefully, I can look back on this a year from now and see how God was working, so poignantly in my life at this very moment. Maybe…Hopefully.