Thursday, September 9, 2010

I like the stars because they remind me to look up.

As I sit under the clear night sky at the steps of St. Paul’s Church, I can’t help but feel like a child in awe. First, the stars are beautiful. I can’t help but walk around with my head looking up at the stars, praying that I don’t ignorantly walk into a tree or a car or a trash can. I also love being in high places, like on a roof or in a tree, looking down.

When I’m sitting above everything looking down on everyone, I realize that no one ever notices me sitting there, even when I feel like I’m so obviously noticeable. People walk and drive by, not even noticing my presence, just because no one ever thinks to look up. I talked to my friend Arley about this the other night (as we were sitting on a roof watching cars drive by) and he said that God probably feels the same way. It makes perfect sense. The sad part is that God is so much more obvious, yet people still don’t realize his presence. He is seen through creation and through his people, yet we are dumb enough to miss even that.

So, here I am sitting at St. Paul’s. I’m reflecting on everything that has happened to me this past year. I’m trying to make sense of it all. I have no idea what God is trying to tell me.

Over the summer, I felt like I was missing out on God. I just couldn’t find him anywhere. It was hard. I tried to seek him, but I just simply wasn’t hearing. I had no idea what he wanted from me. I didn’t have any guidance or direction. I just worked and slept and went to church and went with the flow for 3 months.

But it makes perfect sense. I have a passion for people who are suffering, and I have a passion for art, photography specifically. I have a close friend who had to go through art therapy, and my heart cries for her. Gosh, I love her so much. I met an art therapist that goes to my church back at home who is willing to give me advice and let me watch and see the kind of work she does. In Greenville, I ran into another art therapist and we got to talk about photography, and she told me about Born Into Brothels, a documentary about kids using cameras as therapy. God is placing these people in my life for a reason. This is what I need to be doing.

I talk to my advisor, and he tells me I should switch my major to art and minor in psychology. I change my schedule around, and now I’m an art major and pysch minor, and I love every minute of it. Since being an art major, I feel like I am learning more about myself than about art. I think this is good. I’m realizing my passions, and I’m becoming more and more inspired to be creative. It’s funny. In a way, art is therapeutic to me. By learning to express myself, I am learning who I am, and I am realizing that in the past, photography has had such a positive impact on me, and has helped me get through my own hard times. And more importantly, I am learning to stand in awe of God, our creator.

For the past week I’ve been going on night walks with God each night. Just me and God, and sometimes my camera. It has been amazing, and I am learning oh so much. It started with being in awe of creation. Then, I wept, for those who are suffering. I cried because nothing made sense. I cried because I wasn’t hearing from God. I only could sit there and try to listen, but there was nothing. I star gazed. I got the thrill of a train passing next to me on the train tracks, reminding myself that life is vulnerable. I listened to worship music and walked around the town. I walked around in silence. I sat in silence. And I laid in silence. I became inspired by the stars.

So this is where everything ties together and makes sense. Back to the subject of looking up. I love the stars because they remind me to look up. It is so easy to forget God is right above us. He is all knowing and all loving. And He’s right above us. I don’t want to just look up though. I don’t want to just be aware of his presence. I want to be involved in his presence. This is why I sometimes don’t hear from God, because I am only aware of him, and not engaging myself in him. The more I remind myself to look up (or be aware), the more I want to engage myself in daily consistent prayer. I want to be close to God every minute of every day, not just when I make an effort to have a quiet time. I want others to see God in me. I want to be a light to those who need it. I want to learn more about myself and seek God through art., and use this knowledge to help others do the same.

This is my passion.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I spent so long trying to be someone, trying to impress, but lately I really have just been happy with myself. This is a huge step for me. I used to sit around and focus on my flaws and try to hide them and pretend that I was better. I've been told, "you can't love someone else if you can't love yourself first." You should love yourself because God loves you. You should be satisfied. And I feel like I am getting there. I am accepting my flaws, and I can laugh, and I can love. I'm starting to view people differently. I have been filled with a refreshed love.

I'm currently sitting on my comfy futon reading through 1 John with the wonderful sounds of Jonsi playing in the background. I am so content. It's quiet here. Everyone else is out enjoying others company. I just don't quite fit in right now. And honestly, I accept that.

I feel like I'm changing, and I can't put my hands on what exactly it is, but I am really content and enjoying the solitude. It kinda freaks me out because this is usually not like me at all. I'm usually dependent on other people. I hated that about myself. I needed people around me all the time. I needed someone to pay attention to me. I wanted to feel a sense of belonging. I wanted people to care about me. It mattered so much. But now I feel different and I don't quite know what it is, but I'm happy. I feel like my own person. I can enjoy solitude.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why can't God just put a stop to evil?

In youth group, Willie has been asking us challenging questions and this was the last one that really made me think. I sat there and thought, but God DOES have the ability to put a stop to evil.

God has stopped evil before.

He flooded the earth to wipe out evil in Noah's day.

He destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. "Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens" Genesis 19:24. "Turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly" II Peter 2:6

He sent Jesus to die for us so we wouldn't have to suffer for our own wickedness.

And if you read more history in the Bible, you will see other examples of God stopping evil. However, God doesn't always stop evil from happening. In most cases, he allows it.

Earthquakes happen. Tornadoes happen. Flooding happens. Tsunamis, volcano eruptions, war and terrorism all happen. It is all part of God's plan.

I guess the reason he doesn't just put a stop to evil all the time is because God sees the big picture. God has already seen the end. He knows how things are going to turn out. Being human, we don't see the picture God sees. We focus on the little things that happen. One person dies and we think, why did God allow this to happen? What we don't realize is that this is all part of God's plan.

God has already seen the end. Everything is working for his perfect plan.
God has already won.

I sat there and thought more about that. God has already won. Why are we so worried? Why do we try to figure everything out on our own? God already knows. Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has a perfect plan for us. I guess sometimes I forget that God already knows how everything will play out. He allows certain things to happen because he knows that in the end, it will be used to glorify Him. It may not make sense to us right now, but it will when that time comes.
I'm rambling a lot. I've been thinking a lot about how everything that happens is for the glory of God, no matter how crappy it seems at the time, because in the end God wins. How awesome is that?

I'm Sorry I'm A Christian - Chris Tse

Chris Tse presenting his poem at the Poetry Slam Vancouver. He was the 1st place winner on the 21st of December 2009 with a score of 57.3 with his poem.

I am a Christian. I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for the way that I come across

So fair and faith friendly and full of myself

Judging your spiritual health by

the words that you say

And the way that you dress, and the things that you do

Or maybe just judging you.

I’m sorry for the way that I live my life

So confident of my own beliefs that

I would never even think to think about thinking about yours

I’m sorry for the wars.

Ivory clad Crusaders mounting steeds and drawing swords

With such a spirit that if The Spirit spoke they wouldn’t hear

But you see the sword of the spirit was not a sword but the Word

And the Word was with God and the Word was God

And they preached this as they marched on the Holy Land

Singing and Praying and Killing and Slaying

And purging and healing and raping and stealing

It’s ironic that they lined their pockets in the name of God

Just like the priests who line their pockets in the name of God

Just like the people that you can’t stand, because they always raise their hand

And spread their faith and hate and judgment in the name of God

I’m sorry that I take God’s name in vain

Or rather I’m sorry that I stain the name of God

Defending my selfish actions as selfless actions pertaining to the will of God

I’m sorry for being intolerant

For trying to talk down to you

For trying to talk over you

For not letting you talk

I’m sorry for not walking the walk

For being a hypocritical critical Christian

Criticizing your pagan lifestyle while my lifestyle styles itself

Just like the televangelist’s hair

All slick and sly and slippery

As the silver syllables slide their way into your ear

But see that’s my greatest fear

That the steps I take won’t match the words I speak

So that when I speak all you hear of me

is a weak hypocritical critical Christian

Doing one thing, but saying another

Loving my friend, but hating my brother

It’s a show.

I’m sorry I get drunk on Saturdays

and go to church on Sundays to pray

for my friends who get drunk on Saturdays

And on that note,

I’m sorry for making the church about the pews and the cross

And the walls and the steeple

Because see, the building is not the church

The church is the people

I’m sorry that I hate you because you are gay

I’m sorry I condemn you to hell because you are gay

Instead of loving I jump to hatred

Mouth open and tongue preaching

Eyes open but not seeing that you are the same as me

Just a fucking human being

I’m sorry that I only hang out with Christian friends

And we do nice Christian things

Like pot luck dinners and board game nights

While in the night a man beats his girlfriend again

Another homeless man died again

Is this the way that my own crowd has been?

But here I am with the same friends again

But see what I always forget is that Jesus didn’t come

to hang out with the priests and the lords.

No, He hung out with cripples and beggars and whores


I’m sorry for history

For native tribes wiped out in the name of the church

Lodges burning Stomachs churning and yearning for justice

And mothers screaming and pleading

Pleading for the young ones

As they are dragged away to church schools

Where they were abused

I’m sorry for the way that I refused to learn your culture

Instead I just came to spread the Gospel

And the plague

I’m sorry that I stand at the front doors of abortion clinics

Screaming at fifteen year old girls as they enter

Instead of waiting at the back door to hug them as they leave

I’m sorry for taking my wars and my faith to your lands

When historically it was on your lands that my faith was born

And in the face of the storm, I realize that

If God is Love and Love is God

Then why are we shooting instead of sharing?

Why are we launching instead of learning?

Why are we warring instead of walking together?

Why are we taking instead of talking together?

Why are we bombing instead of breaking bread together as brothers?

You see, I think that God looks down and He’s sad

And from His right hand throne above

Jesus asks where is the Love?

And if it takes Wil-I-Am and Justin Timberlake

Asking that same question for us

To start asking that same question

Then where the fuck are we headed?

So I will take this stage to be my chapel

And this mic my confession booth

And in the presence of God, the few, the proud,

and the blessed I confess, that

I am a Christian. I’m sorry.

- A poem by Chris Tse

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

float on

"Who's to say where the wind will take you
Who's to say what it is will break you
I don't know which way the wind will blow
Who's to know when the time has come around
Don't wanna see you cry
I know that this is not goodbye."

So, my very good friend Travis left for Navy boot camp yesterday. It's weird. He was that friend that would always just be here. Every time I came home he would be here. I would go over to his house and fall asleep on his couch. That sounds kind of boring, but I'm gonna miss that. And that couch is impossible to not fall asleep on. It is the most comfortable couch in the history of couches. So many great memories with him. He was my viola buddy in high school. We talked through school but didn't start hanging out until senior year. He used to be best friends with the guy I dated senior year. When we broke up, Travis was still there for me. I could call him anytime and he would listen. I loved how if I wanted to do something, he would encourage me to just do it. Most of our hanging out times were from spontaneous ideas. I loved going to Main Street during the winter and walking around in the snow and going to the candy shop and stopping at the popcorn stand to get homemade kettle corn, and watching the horse carriages go by and always wishing we could afford to ride one. And walking around Creve Coeur Lake and talking about everything and yes, everyone. Listening to Pink Floyd's The Wall and singing along in the car at the top of our lungs. We would go for late night drives all the time and go down Hog's Hollow and listen to scary music and drive through the fog and corn fields and pass the eery looking water plant. The past two new years were spent at his house with our friends. We'd all sit on the legendary couch until midnight, then see how long we could stay up. The first new year spent at his house was the most memorable. So much drama and laughing, and being worried about breakfast. There are so many frickin good memories that it'd take too long to sit here and type. We used to joke around about how he's going to have a ton of money from the navy. I told him that he should get a fountain soda machine because fountain soda is better than regular soda, and he will.

Man, I'm gonna miss this kid. I know I'll still talk to him when he's graduated boot camp and goes to California for school, but it just won't be the same. I'm proud of him though. I don't want to sit here and be sad about this. This is such a great thing that he is doing. He's going to be a translator for the Navy. I'm really happy for him. I'm just going to miss him being around. I feel like I have developed this expectation that whenever I come home from school he'll be here, but he's not going to always be here and I have to get used to that. Also, I'm realizing that it'd be selfish of me to want that. He's going to travel the world and I couldn't be happier or more proud of him.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

thoughts at the lake

I've been craving spending time with God. I always see how far or long I can go without Him until I hit rock bottom. Why do I do this? I don't know. I'm human. What a lame excuse.

I pick up the book, Crazy Love, remembering how much is impacted me before. I decide to go to the lake to read and watch the sunset. I figure that would be a good way to spend time with just me and God. I grab my blanket and get in the car and drive out to the lake. I park my car, and find a nice sunny spot to lay, where I can work on my uneven tan. I soon realize that I chose to lay in a field full of pollinating bumble bees. I'll just ignore them, I think. Don't bother them, they won't bother you, right?

I continue reading this book, longing for some passion to stir up in me like last time I read this book. Now I can't help but ease drop of the snippets of people's conversations as they pass me by on the trail.  They're talking about school, pregnancy, family, dogs, anything. So many different kinds of people, many different languages. I just want to listen. No, focus on God, I tell myself. Then a huge Indian family stops to the play on the beach right next to me.  All the kids are screaming and yelling and talking at the top of their lungs to each other with their high pitched voices. God, they're so annoying.

This is when I realize what my problem is. I'm trying too hard. Stop being so bitter. Just soak up the greatness of God. These are God's people just as much as I am. God made these bumble bees. Without them, there'd be no honey or flowers, how sad. Help me to see creation and love Your people the way You do, I pray.

It's slowly getting less busy here at the lake. There are those few people trying to get their last minute exercise in before the sun sets. Even the bees are pollinating last minute before they make their journey home. We live in such a noisy, busy and fast paced world. I long for simplicity, solitude and peace. I don't want to miss our on anything God has to offer. I often say that is my biggest fear.

There's another young man standing on the beach, practicing juggling. He seems really good at it. I'm impressed. He's by himself. He sits down and takes a smoke, looking off into the lake towards the sunset. I wonder what he's thinking about. I want to say something, like, "Hey that was amazing" or "That's really neat, how did you learn to do that?" Nevermind, I'll probably just come across as creepy or awkward. I have a thing for doing that.

Finally the loud family is leaving, it's getting quiet, the sun is setting, how peaceful. It's beautiful. God is beautiful. Everything He created has its beauty. I came here longing for passion and passino is what I found in the beauty of creation and of people. I don't need to try so hard to see God. All I need to do is sit and watch.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sometimes I feel like I don't fit in with my gender because I'm not constantly boy crazy.

I was talking with a friend the other day about boys, and she asked me who I liked, and I thought about it and realized that I don't really have a crush on anyone. It's weird because I really just haven't thought about liking someone in awhile. I am honestly completely satisfied with God right now. Sure, I may be attracted to certain attributes of certain guys, but I'm definitely not crushing over anyone. If anything, I am just realizing what attributes in guys that are desirable. She thought it was the weirdest thing and could not believe that I didn't have a crush on anyone.

I told her that I wanted God to have my heart before I gave it to someone else.

It's like it's wrong in our society today to not crush on someone. It's sad, we have neglected the love of our Creator. We forget to pursue God and to let God love us the way He wants to.

It just amazes me how many girls are trying to find someone to crush on. They move on from one guy to the next. It's like they would go insane if they didn't have a boy to crush over. It's ridiculous, and it breaks me heart. I wish everyone could experience the true satisfaction and love I have experienced. God is perfect love, and it captivates me more than any other being.
My desire is that God will captivate our hearts and that we will stay captivated by only Him. Take the time to get to know God, our Creator. He knew you before you even existed, and He wants to have a relationship with us. Being a Christian is not about what it takes to get to Heaven, it's about what it takes to love God and to love others.

I've been reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and it has been so encouraging in my journey with God and letting Him captivate my heart.

A few things that stood out:

"When we love God because we feel we should love Him, instead of genuinely loving out of our true selves, we have forgotten who God really is...we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him."

"We forget that we already have everything we need in Him...we quickly forget that He is worthy to be worshipped and loved."

"Why are we so quick to forget God? Who do we think we are? Even though I glimpse God's holiness, I am still dumb enough to forget that life is all about God and not about me at all."

"If life were stable, I'd never need God's help. Since it's not, I reach out for Him regularly. I am thankful for the unknowns and that I don't have control, because it makes me run to God."

"The irony is that while God doesn't need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don't really want Him most of the time. He treasures us and anticipates our departure from this earth to be with Him - and we wonder, indifferently, how much we have to do for Him to get by."

"As we begin to focus more on Christ, loving Him and others becomes more natural."

"I need God to help me love God."